Tuesday, 31 July 2012

World's biggest blackout: 620 million people without power in India

World's biggest blackout: More than half of India's population was without electricity Tuesday. The blackout hit  20 of India's 28 states as the power failure cascaded across the grids




India's energy crisis cascaded over half the country Tuesday when three of its regional grids collapsed, leaving 620 million people without government-supplied electricity for several hours in, by far, the world's biggest-ever blackout.
Hundreds of trains stalled across the country and traffic lights went out, causing widespread traffic jams in New Delhi. Electric crematoria stopped operating, some with bodies half burnt, power officials said. Emergency workers rushed generators to coal mines to rescue miners trapped underground.
The massive failure — a day after a similar, but smaller power failure — has raised serious concerns about India's outdated infrastructure and the government's inability to meet its huge appetite for energy as the country aspires to become a regional economic superpower.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the new crisis on states taking more than their allotted share of electricity.

"Everyone overdraws from the grid. Just this morning I held a meeting with power officials from the states and I gave directions that states that overdraw should be punished. We have given instructions that their power supply could be cut," he told reporters.
The new power failure affected 620 million people across 20 of India's 28 states — about double the population of the United States. The blackout was unusual in its reach, stretching from the border with Myanmar in the northeast to the Pakistani border about 3,000 kilometers (1,870 miles) away. Its impact, however, was softened by Indians' familiarity with frequent blackouts and the widespread use of backup generators for major businesses and key facilities such as hospitals and airports.
Shinde later said power was fully restored in the northeast grid four hours after it went down, and that the north grid had 45 percent power and the east grid 35 percent. R.N. Nayak, chairman of Power Grid Corp., which runs the nation's power system, said he expected to have full power later in the evening.
The outages came just a day after India's northern power grid collapsed for several hours. Indian officials managed to restore power several hours later, but at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday the northern grid collapsed again, said Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. in India's largest state. About the same time, the eastern grid failed and then the northeastern grid followed, energy officials in those regions said. The grids serve more than half India's population.
In West Bengal, express trains and local electric trains were stopped at stations across the state of West Bengal on the eastern grid. Crowds of people thronged the stations, waiting for any transport to take them to their destinations.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it would take at least 10 to 12 hours to restore power and asked office workers to go home.
"The situation is very grave. We are doing everything to restore power," West Bengal Power Minister Manish Gupta said.
New Delhi's Metro rail system, which serves about 1.8 million people a day, immediately shut down for the second day in a row. Police said they managed to evacuate Delhi's busy Rajiv Chowk station in under half an hour before closing the shutters.
S.K. Jain, 54, said he was on his way to file his income tax return when the Metro closed and now would almost certainly miss the deadline.
Tuesday's blackout eclipsed yesterday's in India, which covered territory including 370 million people. The third largest blackout affected 100 million people in Indonesia in 2005, according to reports by The Associated Press.
India's demand for electricity has soared along with its economy in recent years, but utilities have been unable to meet the growing needs. India's Central Electricity Authority reported power deficits of more than 8 percent in recent months.
In addition, vast amounts of power are pirated through unauthorized wiring that taps into the electrical system.
The power deficit was worsened by a weak monsoon that lowered hydroelectric generation and kept temperatures higher, further increasing electricity usage as people seek to cool off.
But any connection to the grid remains a luxury for many. One-third of India's households do not even have electricity to power a light bulb, according to last year's census.
Asian Defence News

Afghan National Army - End Strength

The Afghan military today is an all volunteer force. As of 2012 the approved end-strength for the Afghan National Army [ANA]  the projected end-strength required to support transition to Afghan security lead was 195,000 personnel by October 2012. The 195,000 end-strength goal would give Afghanistan the world's 22nd largest Army, nearly even with Taiwan's 200,000, but ahead of the 190,000 of Thailand and Brazil. Afghanistan is the 10th poorest county in the world.
In May 2012 there were reports that NATO's defense ministers had prepared a draft agenda for the may 2012 Chicago summit at a meeting on 02 February 2012. It was reported that budgetary constraints would cause the force that will soon reach its combined goal of 352,000 uniformed personnel (both Army and Police) to be rapidly cut back starting around 2015 to 228,500 [a suspiciously precise number, according to some]. This would appear to reflect a return to something like the force goals set in 2008 and achieved in 2010, implying an end-strength for the Afghan National Army of about 135,000 soldiers.
Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said "I have told them that this number is too little in comparison to forces in regional countries and they will not be able to maintain security on their own after foreign troops' withdrawal." Minister of Interior Bismillah Mohammadi told the Afghan parliament that the government would ask NATO states at the May 2012 summit to delay reduce the strength of Afghan security forces to 2017.
The initial goal was reaching a critical mass of 20,000 troops, which would imbue the ANA with considerable influence in the political landscape, was achievable, but was dependent on increased international support and improved recruitment. Also, an ANA of this size would be far from sufficient to guarantee security on a countrywide level.
The 2001 Bonn Agreement established the goal of a 50,000-person ANA and a 62,000-person Afghan Naitonal Police (ANP). The Bonn II Agreement in December of 2002 expanded the ANA target end-strength to 70,000 personnel.

As of February 2005, around 24,000 people had been recruited in the ANA since its creation in 2002 and 28,000 people in the ANP. The country planned to have a trained 70,000-strong army and 50,000-strong police force by 2006. At that time there were 20,000 people on standby in 34 ANA recruitment centers. The ANA could recruit 3,000 every month, but could only recruit 100 applicants from each province every month to maintain the ethnic balance of the Army. In addition to ex-poppy growers, many of the demobilised ex-combatants had also chosen to join the ANA.
As of 2007 the Afghan National Army was 36,000 strong and on its way to an end-strength of 70,000. Since the Bonn Agreements and the international declaration of the Afghanistan Compact in 2006, security conditions had evolved, with a resurgence of activity by insurgents and anti-government elements. Consequently, in May 2007, the international community's Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) approved an increase to 82,000 authorized ANP. Similarly, with the endorsement of the JCMB on 5 February 2008, the authorized ANA force structure increased to 80,000 personnel, with an additional 6,000 allotted for the trainee, transient, hospital, and student account.
In September 2008, the JCMB, co-chaired by the Afghan government and the United Nations, agreed to increase the total strength of the ANA to 122,000 personnel with a 12,000 man training margin. As of February 2009, the ANA had an actual strength of 79,300 personnel. This represented 59 percent of the 134.000 approved strength, which was scheduled at that time to be reached by the end of 2011. Operationally, the ANA was fielding 5 Corps Headquarters, a Capital Division responsible for the security of the Kabul area, and an ANA Air Corps providing the essential air support to the ANA brigades deployed throughout Afghanistan. Over 90 percent of ISAF operations were conducted in conjunction with the ANA.
On 10 September 2008, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs announced that the expansion of the Afghan army would change from a goal of some 85,000 men to 162,100 troops. "We can train and help grow the Afghan security forces ... and we are. In fact, they are on track to reach total end strength of 162,000 troops by 2010.... But until those Afghan forces have the support of local leaders to improve security on their own, we will only be as much as a crutch, and a temporary one at that."
By 2010 the Afghan National Army had grown from 97,000 to 138,164, while the police force rose from about 95,000 to 120,500. In 2011 the end-strength was 171,600. The 135,000 end-strength goal discussed in early 2012 would give Afghanistan the world's 26th largest Army, just behind Japan which has 152,000 soldiers, even with Ethiopia's 135,000 soldiers, and ahead of the 130,000 soldiers of France. No trustworthy statistics regarding the strength of the Afghan army are available, but there does not appear to be any moment in history in which Afghanistan had so large an army.
When the Afghan armies of Ahmad Shah Abdali were overrunning the Punjab, and threatening Hindustan, neither the Moghuls nor the Mahrattas ever troubled themselves about the Afghans until the invaders reached Delhi. Ahmad ShahAbdali died in 1773, and his sons were too much occupied in fighting one another for the throne to attempt a renewal of their aggressions on Hindustan. In the mid-18th century the strength of the Afghan army was 60,000, half of which were the Afghans-Abdali tribe's troops. In the mid-19th century the cavalry was the traditional strength of the Afghan army. The main strength of the Afghan army was in the Douranee [Durrani] horse. The Douranee tribes had been settled in Western Afghanistan by Nadir Shah. He had first conquered, then taken them into his service.
As of 1876 the strength of the Afghan army was calculated at 57 regiments of infantry of a nominal strength of 650 bayonets [that is, 37,000 troops]. Fifty of these regiments were thought to be properly equipped. There were 16 regular cavalry regiments, each composed of four troops of 100 men each, for 6,400 total. Of irregular cavalry there were 8,000 horsemen. Besides these, there were about 3,500 irregular infantry or jezailohees, aud a local militia, of whom not more than from 1,000 to 1,500 could be got together at one place. At that time, the population is estimated at 2,500,000 souls.
Beginning in the late 19th century, Afghan rulers introduced conscription to address challenges of manpower within the army and to unify the country's fractious social groups and regions. Because the Afghan state was weak and the tribes strong, Afghan rulers had to negotiate with the tribes to secure manpower for the army. Tribal leaders often selected sub-standard recruits, usually the least wanted among the tribe. In the year 1900, including tribal levies, the effective war strength of the Afghan army was supposed to exceed 50,000 men. In 1906 it was said to number between 60,000 and 90,000 men, including 9,000 cavalry. In 1919 the strength of the Afghan army was placed at about 98,000 men, including 18,000 cavalry, at which time the control of foreign policy rested entirely in the British government of India.
From 1939 to 1953, Muhammad Daud Khan, commander of the Kabul Army Corps under King Zahir Shah, resumed efforts to build a modern conscript army. Armed revolts were common - especially among Pashtun tribes in the south and east. Bribery and corruption were common. By the 1950s, approximately half the military budget was lost to corruption and waste; meanwhile, the army was disintegrating. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Afghan army relied increasingly on the Soviet Union for training and organization. These efforts were to no avail, leading up to the collapse of Afghanistan's communist government in 1979 and the Soviet invasion.
The combat readiness of the Army of the Democratic Republicof Afghanistan plunged as government purges swept the officer corps. Soldiers, units and entire regiments deserted to the resistance and by the end of 1979, the actual strength of the Afghan Army was less than half of its authorized strength of 90,000. One estimate held that the numerical strength of the Afghan Army eroded from about 80,000 in 1978 to as low as 25,000 by the end of 1980. By another estimate, in the 1980s the strength of the Afghan Army had dwindled from 110,000 to less than 40,000. Rand Corporation estimated in 1980 that, as a result of defections and purges, the troop strength of the Afghan army had fallen from 120,000 to about 40-50,000. Some US intelligence experts believed the functioning strength of the Afghan army had dropped to 30,000 men in early 1984. Yet another source reports that before the 1978 coup, the strength of the Afghan army was placed at 100,000 men - by the end of 1980, this figure had fallen to 30,000, and only 10,000-15,000 of these were valued as an effective fighting force.
Asian Defence News

Raytheon Awarded $53 Million to Advance Dual Band Radar Development

                                            Dual Band Radar (DBR) operations.

  Raytheon Company has been awarded two U.S. Navy contracts for the Dual Band Radar, the multimission air defense radar for the future USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), America's next-generation aircraft carrier. Under the contracts, with a total value of $53.6 million, Raytheon will enhance the system's software to optimize power efficiency and ready the radar suite for the next phase of testing and evaluation.

"DBR is the first U.S. naval radar system capable of simultaneous, coordinated operation across two frequency ranges," said Raytheon's Kevin Peppe, vice president of Integrated Defense Systems' Seapower Capability Systems. "Leveraging proven technologies and our radar expertise that spans 70 years, DBR will be the U.S. Navy's most capable radar and a critical asset for the fleet."


The DBR is an advanced air defense radar that will provide superior surveillance capabilities supporting CVN 78 air operations and ship self-defense.

The radar combines the benefits of the X-band AN/SPY-3 Multi-Function Radar and the S-band Volume Search Radar (VSR), which operate together in a complementary manner. DBR provides superior performance in a broad range of environments and supports a wide variety of mission requirements, including self-defense/anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, situational awareness, land attack, naval gunfire support, surface search, navigation and air traffic control.

The upcoming test and evaluation follows a significant May 2010 milestone: For the first time in history, the U.S. Navy successfully tracked targets with a multiband radar featuring a common radar suite controller. DBR simultaneously used AN/SPY-3's and VSR's search capabilities to acquire and track the targets. This event also demonstrated the system's ability to perform automatic handover from S-band to X-band in precision-tracking mode, a key feature of the radar and its single track manager.

The DBR is the result of more than a decade of collaboration between Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and the Navy. The radar is now in production for the Ford class aircraft carrier, where it will replace six legacy radar systems.

Raytheon's Radar Expertise and Heritage
Raytheon's skill and experience working with large-scale, active phased-array radars spans the frequency spectrum and dates back to Cobra Judy and Early Warning Radar programs, continuing today with the advanced Dual Band Radar, AN/TPY-2 and Cobra Judy Replacement programs.

The company has a long heritage of developing and producing some of the world's most capable radars, dating back to the 1940s. Raytheon has produced more than 1.8 million AESA (active electronically scanned array) T/R modules to date and has decades of experience working with adaptive beamforming technologies. Raytheon is also the industry leader in high-performance GaN technology. Learn more about Raytheon's radar capabilities.

Asian Defence News

M1 Abrams tank builder pushes Congress to keep contract going

The M1Abrams tank has survived the Cold War, two conflicts in Iraq and a decade of war in Afghanistan. No wonder: It weighs as much as nine elephants and it’s fitted with a cannon that’s capable of turning a building to rubble from two and a half miles away. But now the machine is a target in an unusual battle between the Defense Department and lawmakers who are the beneficiaries of large campaign donations by its manufacturer.
The Pentagon, facing smaller budgets and looking toward a new global strategy, wants to save as much as $3 billion by freezing refurbishing work on the M1 from 2014 to 2017, so it can redesign the vehicle from top to bottom. Its proposal would idle a large factory in Lima, Ohio, as well as halt work at dozens of subcontractors in Pennsylvania, Michigan and other states.
Abrams manufacturer General Dynamics, a nationwide employer that’s pumped millions of dollars into congressional elections over the past decade, opposes the Pentagon’s plans. The tank’s supporters on Capitol Hill say they’re desperate to save jobs in their districts and concerned about undermining America’s military capabilities.

So far, the contractor is winning the battle, after a well-organized campaign of lobbying and political donations involving the lawmakers on four key committees that will decide the tank’s fate, according to an analysis of spending and lobbying records by the Center for Public Integrity.
Sharp spikes in the company’s donations – including a two-week period last year when its employees and political action committee sent the lawmakers checks for their campaigns that totaled nearly $50,000 – roughly coincided with five legislative milestones for the Abrams, including committee hearings and votes and the defense bill’s final passage last year.
After putting the tank money back in the budget then, the House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services committees have authorized it again this year – allotting $181 million in the House and $91 million in the Senate. If the company and its supporters prevail, the Army will refurbish what Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno described in a February hearing as “280 tanks that we simply do not need.”
It already has more than 2,300 M1’s deployed with U.S. forces around the world and roughly 3,000 more sitting in long rows at a remote military base in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.
The $3 billion at stake isn’t a large sum in Pentagon terms; it’s roughly what the building spends in a little more than a day. But the fight over the Abrams’ future, still unfolding, illuminates the major pressures that drive the current defense-spending debate.
These include a Pentagon that’s looking to free itself from legacy projects and modernize some of its combat strategy; a Congress looking to defend pet projects; and a well-financed and politically savvy defense industry with deep ties to both, fighting to fend off even small reductions in the budget now devoted to the military, a total figure that presently composes about half of all discretionary spending.
The M1 Abrams entered service in 1980 but it first saw combat during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when only seven of them were destroyed, all by friendly fire. In the past decade, however, as hundreds were sent to Iraq and later Afghanistan, a key shortcoming became apparent: Their flat bottoms made them surprisingly vulnerable to improvised bombs.
Since the primary purpose of tanks is to destroy other tanks, their usefulness in modern counterinsurgency warfare is limited, according to Paul D. Eaton, a retired Army major general who’s now with the nonprofit National Security Network.
Ashley Givens, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems, said the Army could refurbish all 2,384 tanks it needed by the end of next year and that instituting the freeze would allow it to “focus its limited resources” on the next tank, rather than building more of the same that “have exceeded their space, weight and power limits."
Since the start of 2001, General Dynamics’ political action committee and the company’s employees have given at least $5.3 million to the current members of the four key defense committees – the Armed Services committees and defense appropriations subcommittees in the House and Senate – according to data from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics that was analyzed by the Center for Public Integrity.
Kendell Pease, General Dynamics’ vice president for government relations and communications, said in an interview that “we target our PAC money to those folks who support national security and the national defense of our country. Most of them are on the four (key defense) committees.”
Pease denies trying to time donations around key votes, saying the company’s political action committee typically gives money whenever members of Congress invite its representatives to fundraisers. “The timing of a donation is keyed by (members’) requests for funding,” he said, adding that personal donations by company employees aren’t under his control.
On average, General Dynamics’ political action committee and its employees have sent about $7,000 a week to members of the four committees during the current election cycle. But the week that President Barack Obama announced his defense budget plan in 2011, the donations spiked to more than $20,000.
A second spike of more than $20,000 in donations occurred in early March 2011, when Army budget hearings were held.
A larger spike occurred the first two weeks of May 2011, a period in which the House Armed Services Committee voted 60-1 for a budget bill that contained money to continue work on the Abrams through 2013. Over this period, General Dynamics’ political action committee and employees donated a total of $48,100 to members of the four committees, with almost $20,000 of that going directly to members of the House Armed Services Committee.
During another two-week period last September, in which the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense handed in its conference report and Congress rushed to pass a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open, the company sent $36,500 to members of the four committees – primarily the House Armed Services Committee, whose members got $30,500. The final spike came the second full week of December, when Congress voted for the whole budget.
To help bring its corporate viewpoint to lawmakers, General Dynamics spent at least $84 million over the past 11 years on lobbyists, according to Senate Office of Public Records lobbying data. At least $13.5 million of this sum has been spent since the start of 2011 on more than 130 lobbyists, who pressed Congress to fund a variety of military and nonmilitary programs at the firm.
Those working for General Dynamics that specifically listed the Abrams tank as one of their key missions reported earning at least $550,000 from 2011 to the first quarter of 2012, according to the data.
Pease described the lobbying efforts as “education. . . . Shame on us if we don’t go and tell them (Congress) our side, because the Army is doing the same thing as we’re doing, having just as many meetings as we are.”
Center for Public Integrity reporter Zach Toombs and data editor David Donald contributed to this report.

Read more here:
Asian Defence News

What the F-22 vs. the Typhoon tells us

The anti-F-22 crowd over at Wired bring up some great points about the F-22 and Typhoon. Also, they may have overlooked or just didn't get around to mentioning some other things in the big picture of air power emerging threats.

For starters, while the F-22 may face some challenges in air-to-air combat, anything less than that is going to suffer a hard time in coming anti-access threat scenarios.

With the Typhoon, consider that (except for its F-18-class airframe profile), its speed and performance mimic some of the SU-35 capability. The SU-35 is the non-stealth reference threat for the Pacific in coming years. It was designed to exploit the Raptor. However many of the SU-35 are made, expect its technology to bleed elsewhere.

One big difference between the F-22 and the Typhoon is that one of them is going to have more difficulty in a high-end SAM environment.

What Wired, or us, do not know, are the rules of engagement for the exercise. By getting the F-22 into within-visual-range (WVR) practice with the Typhoon, we give the F-22 a look at what it will have to deal with when facing emerging reference threats in the SU-35 class of jet: or worse.

Wired is right to bring up the single point of failure in the U.S. air power roadmap. That is the AIM-120 AMRAAM. While it may have some combat victories, they were against poor opponents and not someone using cross-eyed jamming in a new-gen Flanker. Once the AMRAAM probability of kill is lowered to that of a Vietnam-era AIM-7 Sparrow, we have problems.

According to Janes and others, we have even more of a problem with the AMRAAM. Rocket motor production for the AIM-120D AMRAAM (the new supposedly longer range variant) is in dire straits because of serious production defects. This problem has affected all AMRAAM deliveries within the last two years.

The fix here is that the U.S. needs to get competing sources for beyond-visual-range (BVR) missiles in the AMRAAM class. Sooner rather than later.

That and a dual mode or family of BVR missiles that use not only radar but optical guidance for terminal homing.

Years ago, when the advanced tactical fighter (ATF) project started--which gave us the F-22--red-force evaluators knew that stealth, for stealth's sake, was not good enough against emerging threats. One had to have extreme altitude and super-cruise to lower the effectiveness of enemy firing solutions by degrading missile no escape zones (NEZ).

With its AN/ALR-94, it has an interesting way of detecting targets; passively. Also the F-22 has usable combat range. And, certainly more than the F-35 will ever see, if it ever shows up in combat trim.

The most important thing that the Typhoon vs. F-22 flights show us is that against almost any emerging threat for the foreseeable future, the F-35 is dead meat. It's BVR capability may count for something, but with the AMRAAM PK taken into effect and a serious lack of dancing ability, what will be delivered to the warfighter are tales of the Brewster Buffalo, Vindicator and Helldiver.

The Pacific isn't looking all that great for air power deterrence. In part, we can thank, Gates, Schwartz and Donley: three people that when you combine their total fund of air power knowledge, it could be written inside of a match-book; with a large-sized crayon.

This should also worry the Israelis when looking at all those Typhoons. For them, the F-35 will not provide a credible deterrence. There was a time we supported our allies. President Clinton did promise them the F-22. Too bad for them, the U.S. didn't follow through.

Today? All the U.S. really wants from its allies is to purchase faulty weapons systems. No matter what the consequence. Asian Defence News

Ecuador, Brazil to help set up Haiti new military

Brazil and Ecuador have agreed to help Haiti set up a new army that will eventually
replace the U.N. peacekeeping force that has protected the impoverished Caribbean nation on and off since 1994, officials say.

Haiti's President Michel Martelly has been pushing the idea of reconstituting the army for almost a year, saying Haitians would prefer to have their country protected by its own troops
rather than United Nations soldiers deployed in Haiti.

Brazil's Defense Ministry confirmed it was prepared to help Haiti in everything it needs to restore its army, including military training and engineering. Ecuador has also pledged its
support, a defense ministry official said.

"Brazil will give all its know-how to help Haiti rebuild its army," a defense ministry spokesperson told Reuters.
Asian Defence News

Typhoon's bid to UAE will include new radar technology

The UAE will get the benefits of a new technology development in the Eurofighter Typhoon if it selects the aircraft for its multi-role combat type, the European partnership said today.

 On behalf of the four core nations in the Eurofighter programme, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, a Request for Proposal (RFP) has been issued by NETMA (NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency) to Eurofighter GmbH for the development of an Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (E-Scan).
Eurofighter Chief Executive Officer, Enzo Casolini said: “The timescale is to answer the RFP by October this year and to have an agreement with the nations by the end of the year. The target is to have a contract by the middle of next year and to have an E-Scan entering into service by 2015.”
Work to develop an E-Scan capability for Typhoon has been taking place between the industrial partners of Eurofighter Typhoon for some time. Receiving this RFP is a significant step to having the capability enter into service.
On the opening day of the Farnborough Air Show, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “The four partner nations have agreed to take the next step towards exploiting the growth potential of Typhoon
.  That potential is huge and the integration of the meteor missile, an AESA radar, enhancements to the defensive aids systems, further development of the air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities and integration of new weapons would all boost the world-beating capabilities of this fantastic aircraft. This progress is good for industry, export customers and the RAF.”
Saudi Arabia is already operating Typhoons and the type is being considered by the UAE and Oman.
Asian Defence News

BAE wins $1.05bn defence deal

South Korea has selected British defence firm BAE Systems for a 1.3 trillion won ($A1.05 billion) project to upgrade its ageing KF-16 fighter jets.
BAE Systems' US branch beat rival Lockheed Martin to win the deal, the Defence Acquisition and Procurement Agency said on Tuesday, adding a contract would be signed later this year.
BAE Systems will upgrade the mission computers and operating systems of 134 KF-16 fighters by 2021. The agency plans to select a separate firm to upgrade the warplanes' radars.
The KF-16 is a version of the F-16 built locally under licence from Lockheed Martin in the 1990s.

The deal comes as US and European firms including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and the makers of the Eurofighter Typhoon compete to win a $US7.3 billion ($A6.99 billion) contract for 60 advanced fighter planes.

Asian Defence News

China Conducts Missile Tests In Tibet

Sometime in early July 2012, China’s People’s Liberation Army conducted a high altitude exercise with a new type of surface-to-air missile somewhere in the Tibetan plateau under its Lanzhou Military Area Command (MAC). This was reported by the PLA Daily Online and also by the Tibet Online news portal on 20 July 2012.1 The report says that the exercise was carried out at a mountain pass at an altitude of 5000 metres by a mobile PLA unit, and that three missiles were successfully fired at enemy aircraft targets in the “South-east” direction. The reported also noted that for the purpose of the exercise, the PLA unit covered thousands of kilometres across the Gobi desert, mountainous terrain and glaciers experiencing adverse weather conditions. Apart from testing new equipment in the Tibetan environment, the exercise has reportedly helped the unit to gather more than a hundred technical data relating to topics like storage and maintenance of equipment, system coordination and troop mobility in the Tibetan plateau. The unit reportedly also collated ten kinds of tactical and training methods related to this missile in the terrain.
The area described by the report is possibly located somewhere east or north of Ladakh. If located east of Ladakh, it may fall under Ali (Ngari in Tibetan) area of the South Xinjiang Military District. Ali is part of the Tibetan plateau (administered by the Tibet Autonomous Region), but comes under the jurisdiction of the Lanzhou MAC headquartered in the Gansu province (See Map.) The part of Tibet lying to the east of Ali comes under the Chengdu MAC headquartered in the province of Sichuan. The Lanzhou MAC covers the entire Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR). XUAR abuts eight countries in all—Mongolia and Russia in the North; three Central Asian countries (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) in the west; and three South Asian countries in the southern direction viz. Afghanistan, Pakistan (actually the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and India (the state of Jammu & Kashmir). If located north of Ladakh, it is also possible that the exercise was conducted somewhere immediately west of Ali, which too would be just north of Kashmir and in the Karakorams presently contiguous between China and Pakistan.

The “new” surface-to-air missile tested seems to be tailor-made for operations in the high altitude terrain and rarefied atmosphere of Tibet. Key information relating to its dimensions, target acquisition, radar, range and launch are unavailable. Intelligence agencies concerned need to collect and analyse such information from whatever signature the tests have emitted and from the picture below of a similar test earlier.
It is possible that this new missile is a truck mounted tactical weapon, which generally plays an air defence role for assets like airfields. As such, it is possible that a unit of the Artillery Brigade of the 21st Group Army from Zhongning, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, undertook the exercise. (See Map)
Towards the end of September 2011, a similar test was conducted of two “new” missiles in Horqin grasslands, Tongliao, Inner Mongolia by an Air Defence Brigade of the Shenyang MAC (see picture).2 . External factors like climate and topography were somewhat similar if not identical to Tibet’s. Reports suggest that these are the first of the third generation indigenous air defence missiles. Earlier generation missiles active in the PLA inventory are S300PMU2 and Hongqi series.
The news report also indicates that Indian aircraft have been assumed as “enemy aircraft” in the war exercise since the only country lying south-east of this area is India. Besides, there is no other “threat” from this direction other than India, according to Chinese perception, for which China might test a missile for in Tibet. The long distance covered by the unit undertaking the exercise is also reminiscent of the PLA’s STRIDE-2009 exercises.3 The troops must have taken back valuable lessons on mobility, mountain warfare and new weapon systems. Therefore, it would be fair to surmise that the PLA would in the near future induct this new missile along with a suitable unit of the Second Artillery in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.
Nonetheless, this exercise and missile test throws up larger questions relating to regional security, mutual threat perception and bilateral relations between China and India. Although such tactical exercises are routine, it again reveals the security dilemma existing between these two neighbours. Earlier, the PLA has already twice carried out large military exercises in Tibet during 2012, once in March and later in June. The message which such exercises convey to India, needless to say, is that of belligerence. Development and deployment of the new missile in Tibet would definitely figure in the acquisition and deployment of matching defence hardware on the Indian side. Frequent tactical exercises and conventional force accretion cannot be equated with strategic defensive capacity building of a nation. Further, the exercise comes at a time when there are already rumours of a likely border skirmish between China and India, initiated by China. Against such a backdrop, what would eventually happen is the further intensification of the perception of an armed conflict and the militarisation of the Himalayan region. It has recently become known that the Himalayan glaciers are shrinking rapidly. The people on either side are also known to be languishing far below the national income averages. Ergo, militarisation is the last thing which the Himalayas need at this point of time.
India and China have been striving long to forge a peaceful solution to the disputed Himalayan border. However, military moves like the latest Chinese test run counter to such efforts for peace as also for China’s own assertion of its “peaceful rise”. When there are questions arising in the neighbourhood about its peaceful intentions, China ought to start more cooperative efforts of peace and harmony in every area of dispute rather than test and deploy machines of war. When the governments of both China and India have repeatedly stated their resolve to solve all outstanding issues including the boundary dispute through peaceful negotiations, it is difficult to fathom the rationale for such a missile test. The test and its publicity may indeed act as a dampener for the diplomatic process and its successes and go against the spirit of earlier resolutions of peace. The possible consequences would also undermine China’s efforts for a harmonious neighbourhood. India has already had to devote substantial resources for ramping up its defences along the border with China due to the latter’s military developments and exercises. While there is visible improvement of interaction between the two countries’ top level leaders, their military diplomacy and confidence building measures and cooperation in multilateral fora, such military activities reveal that their relations would take long to acquire the quantum of critical trust to say farewell to arms.

Asian Defence News

India quietly gate crashes into submarine-launched ballistic missiles club?

India in April yanked open the door of the exclusive ICBM ( intercontinental ballistic missile) club with the first test of Agni-V. Now, if DRDO is to be believed, India has quietly gate-crashed into an even more exclusive club of nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs).

The annual awards function of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) on Tuesday will see PM Manmohan Singh hand over the ``technology leadership award'' to a scientist, A K Chakrabarti of the Hyderabad-based DRDL lab, for the ``successful development'' of the country's first SLBM.

``Apart from India, this capability has been acquired only by four nations, the US, Russia, France and China. Now, the SLBM system is ready for induction,'' says the award citation.

Long shrouded in secrecy as a ``black project'', unlike the surface-to-surface nuclear missiles like Agni, the SLBM may now finally come out of the closet. Called different names at different developmental phases, which included ``Sagarika'' for an extended period, the SLBM in question is the ``K-15'' missile with a 750-km strike range.

Celebrations, however, may be a little premature. Much like the over 5,000-km Agni-V that will be fully operational only by 2015 after four-to-five ``repeatable tests'', the K-15 is also still some distance away from being deployed.
 While the SLBM may be fully-ready and undergoing production now, as DRDO contends after conducting its test several times from submersible pontoons, its carrier INS Arihant will take at least a year before it's ready for ``deterrent patrols''.

India's first indigenous nuclear-powered submarine, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, is still undergoing ``harbor-acceptance trials'' with all its pipelines being cleared and tested meticulously on shore-based steam before its miniature 83 MW pressurized light-water reactor goes ``critical''.

The submarine will then undergo extensive ``sea-acceptance trials'' and test-fire the 10-tonne K-15, which can carry a one-tonne nuclear payload, from the missile silos on its hump.

Only then will India's missing third leg of the nuclear triad - the ability to fire nukes from land, air and sea - be in place. INS Arihant has four silos on its hump to carry either 12 K-15s or four of the 3,500-km range K-4 missiles undergoing tests at the moment. The first two legs revolve around the Agni missiles and fighters like Sukhoi-30MKIs and Mirage-2000s jury-rigged to deliver nuclear warheads.

The sea-based nuclear leg in the shape of SLBMs is much more effective — as also survivable being relatively immune to pre-emptive strikes — than the air or land ones. Nuclear-powered submarines, which are capable of operating silently underwater for months at end, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are, therefore, considered the most potent and credible leg of the triad.

With even the US and Russia ensuring that two-thirds of the strategic warheads they eventually retain under arms reduction agreements will be SLBMs, India with a clear ``no-first use'' nuclear doctrine needs such survivable second-strike capability to achieve credible strategic deterrence. 

 Asian Defence News

Leopards, submarines and Sukhois

Lately, there has been much news about procurement of military weapons and equipment, including Leopard tanks, submarines and Sukhoi fighter aircraft. Happily, Indonesia now has the resources to meet the needs of war and defense equipment.

 Lamentably, the procurements have been negatively received by observers, politicians and the man in the street. Criticism against the Leopard tanks procurement questioned the decision not to buy from the Netherlands, but from Germany instead. Others have questioned the usefulness of Leopard tanks in Indonesia.

The planned purchase of submarines from South Korea would, it seems, not benefit Indonesian maritime defense as the submarines have insufficient deterrence effects on neighboring countries.

The acquisition of Russian-made Sukhois and used American F-16 aircraft is criticized due to technical specifications.

The problem is that people are not given correct explanations, and whether the procurements are truly necessary or appropriate is never clarified. There is no clear explanation as to why the country requires advanced war equipment to ensure our sovereignty and defend the country.

At present, we face a variety of challenges as a nation and do not have an overview of our military strategy as a whole.

Armed conflict often occurs as a result of border disputes. The Great Wall of China was built to secure the national border territory. Such a wall is obviously impractical in our case and the effort would make no sense since our borders are mostly at sea anyway.

Sea border areas, therefore, should be our priority, due to their importance in safeguarding the country against intrusion, and thus safeguarding national sovereignty as well as defending our national honor. The archipelagic nature of our country without doubt makes formidable naval power of the utmost importance in the critical sea border areas.

Sea power without the support of air defense (indeed air superiority) is a futile defense system. The areas surrounding the Malacca Strait and those bordering Timor Leste and Australia are considered critical areas.

To talk of national sovereignty and honor in terms of arms procurement, is: We are sovereign if any Indonesian citizen can freely fish within the country’s own waters without fear of obstruction from neighboring countries’ navies, whereas illegal forays into Indonesian waters by foreign fishing vessels have long been a problem.

Regarding our land borders, our country’s land sovereignty is ensured simply if the land border remains static.

On the other hand, Indonesian sovereignty over its own airspace over the Malacca Strait, in the form of Flight Information Region (FIR) management, should be returned to us, and at the very least be put under the tight control of our national aviation authority.

As an archipelagic nation, we need our Army, Navy and Air Force to be strong to protect the honor of the motherland.

It will be easier to explain the necessity to procure tanks, combatant ships and fighter aircraft; to protect the citizens and the country’s territory; to defend land, sea and air space sovereignty, when we accept the necessity of integrated effort from the Army, Navy and Air Force.Asian Defence News

Pakistani, Afghan Officials to Discuss Cross-Border Raids

Pakistani and Afghan military officials will meet in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad this week to discuss the contentious issue of cross-border raids by militants, officials said on Monday.

The military officials will investigate recent attacks, discuss coordination between the armed forces of the two sides and find ways to prevent attacks on Afghan villages in future, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Musazai said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Jaaed Ludin and Pakistan's Ambassador to Kabul, Muhammad Sadiq, had agreed last week to explore ways to stop the attacks and to reduce tensions, Musazai said.

Ludin told the Pakistani envoy that "continuation of shelling against Afghan villages could have a significant impact on bilateral relations", according to an Afghan Foreign Ministry statement.

Pakistani military officials have rejected reports of attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani soil and said that Pakistani Taliban fighters based in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan had launched several strikes on border check posts and villages.

The Pakistan Army has alleged that during the past year, Pakistani Taliban fighters based in Kunar and Nuristan carried out 15 cross-border attacks that killed over 100 Pakistani security personnel and civilians.

However, the Afghan Taliban have joined the Afghan government and ISAF to criticise Pakistani rocket attacks on Afghan territory, saying these strikes have killed and displaced a large number of people.

"These attacks have no legal justification. These are actions that are contrary to all Islamic and international laws and the principles and rights of good neighbourliness," the Afghan Taliban said in a statement issued on Friday.

They demanded that Pakistan should immediately stop such attacks. In a related development, the International Security Assistance Force has rejected as incorrect a statement from the Pakistani military that it had notified the foreign forces 52 times that militants were crossing the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

"Whenever the Pakistani military has requested assistance, ISAF immediately dispatched the appropriate force to deal with the issue," said an ISAF statement.

ISAF will continue to take every Pakistani military report of cross-border movements seriously and assist whenever possible, the statement said.
Asian Defence News

U.S. Defense Secretary: All Options Open to Stop Iran’s Nuke Program

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta reiterated here Jul. 30 that the United States “is prepared to exercise all options” to prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons.

Panetta spoke during a news conference at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial.

Panetta would not go into specifics about the options, but he did say the U.S. government believes the United Nations-imposed sanctions on Iran still have time to work.

“The international community has been strongly unified in imposing some strong sanctions on Iran,” he said. “The international community will increase the impact of those sanctions in the next couple of months.”

The sanctions are having a serious impact on Iran’s economy. While the results of that may not be obvious at the moment, Panetta said, the Iranians have expressed a willingness to negotiate.

“What we all need to do is continue the pressure on Iran economically and diplomatically,” Panetta said. The international community must convince Iran’s leaders to take the right steps and negotiate, to stop developing nuclear weapons and to rejoin the community of nations, he added.

“We believe the best course of action is to continue that pressure and to continue that unity to convince them to do what’s right,” he said.

Asian Defence News

U.S. Ready to Help Tunisia With Democracy

The 6,565 American troops memorialized at the North Africa American Cemetery here signify America’s commitment to freedom, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said during a visit Jul. 30.

Panetta walked among the 2,841 graves and read the names of 3,734 Americans missing from battles that drove the Axis powers from North Africa in World War II.

In November 1942, the Allies launched Operation Torch to drive the Axis from the southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. “After six months of fierce fighting and many lives that were lost, Tunisia was liberated from the Axis powers,” he said after placing a memorial wreath.

The North Africa campaign and the fight against Nazi Germany was one chapter in the story that has been unfolding for centuries, the secretary said. “It is the story of people struggling to overcome tyranny and oppression,” he said. “This struggle … to achieve basic human rights and freedoms is guided by a simple dream: the dream to secure a better life for our children.”

That story has a new chapter, written by the people of Tunisia, Panetta said. In January 2011, Tunisians peacefully took to the streets to demand freedom and basic human rights. “This is the birthplace of the Arab Spring, when the Tunisian people rose up in peaceful protest to demand democratic change,” Panetta said. “It not only inspired the region, it inspired the world.”

The secretary minced no words, telling the Tunisian people “that America stands with them and that we, too, are inspired by their revolution.” The United States, he said, supports the Tunisian people as they continue to strengthen their democracy.

Earlier in the day, Panetta met with Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and National Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi. He told them the United States is ready to help them strengthen their economy and talked about shared security concerns.

“I also had the opportunity in my meetings today to commend the Tunisian armed forces for the positive role they are playing in this critical time of change,” the secretary said.

The U.S. and Tunisian militaries have long been partners, and the revolution now gives the two countries the opportunity to partner more closely.

“In my discussions today, I was pleased to begin a dialogue on how we can deepen that cooperation in a range of common concerns: countering violent extremism and terrorism to ensure regional stability,” Panetta said. “I also conveyed that the Department of Defense stands ready to help Tunisia strengthen the capacity of its defense institutions as part of the broader effort to support Tunisia’s democratic transition.”

While there is uncertainty in the region deriving from the Arab Spring, there is also opportunity, Panetta said. “For generations, the United States has been the world’s greatest force in advancing peace and freedom and prosperity,” he added. “We have paid a heavy price to protect our country, as witnessed by this memorial. Today is no different.”

The United States is committed to helping people across the region and around the world achieve the freedoms they deserve, Panetta said.

“We are all grateful for the Tunisian government’s partnership, and we are inspired by their example to the world,” he said. “The torch of greater peace and freedom and democracy burns brightly in this historic land.” Asian Defence News

48 hours in China can win southern Tibet: 200,000 Indian troops instant eradication

Recently, India’s sudden one-sided media the beginning of a possible war between India and were more in-depth study and exploration. But also the past few days, the cynicism of the Chinese military capabilities for possible military conflict between China and India, has made a previously different results.

China can win within another 48 hours, southern Tibet, and will be completely occupied 12 700 000 square kilometers of land in dispute. India on the one hand a large number of more troops in the disputed area of ??the actual control area, on the one hand, again a 180 degree turn! India in the end because, from the frenzy began to fear it? Asian Defence News

Russia intends to further India’s exports of 42 Su-30 fighters

according to Itar-Tass reported, Irkutsk belong to the manufacturing group of United Airlines “Irkut” Plan 2012 in the third quarter signed a contract to India exported 42 Su-30 aircraft. This is the production of aircraft, general manager of the Irkutsk aircraft factory Alexander – Weipuliefu, told reporters. He also noted that the plant will also provide the Department of Defense 15 Yak-130, if necessary, the facility will provide
more aircraft. He said: “We can provide more.”

Asian Defence News

German media said that Qatar intends to purchase 200 Leopard -2 tanks

Saudi Arabia expressed interest in the purchase of military weapons do not A month later, Qatar, which seeks to purchase of 200 Leopard 2 (Leopard 2) tanks from Germany, the total price of $ 2.46 billion.
“Der Spiegel” reported that representatives of the German defense company Krauss – Maffei Wegman has been to the related issues of the arrangement agreement in the Qatari capital, and the sales to the German Prime Minister Merck Seoul’s support. However, some German lawmakers that the military procurement in violation of the guidelines to the authoritarian government of selling arms.

According to reports, Saudi Arabia last month expression 600-800 leopard procurement Tanke De interest, the military procurement is expected to total price will reach $ 12.31 billion.
Asian Defence News

U.S. Says Afghans Abandoned Police Bases

Inspectors from a U.S. government watchdog agency discovered that several American-funded border police bases in Afghanistan have been largely abandoned or left unoccupied, raising questions about the coming hand-over of security duties to local forces.

Among other findings, inspectors found that one base, Lal Por 2, wasn't being used by Afghan border forces because it had no water supply, a report due out Monday states. A second, Nazyan, "may soon be uninhabitable" because of shoddy construction that caused sewage overflow.

All told, the new report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction found most of the facilities on three of the four bases that it inspected—each built to house 93 border police personnel—"were either unoccupied or weren't used for the intended purposes."

The disclosures shed new light on the U.S. investment in Afghanistan's security ahead of the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops by 2014. Creating capable and self-sufficient Afghan security forces is a cornerstone of the U.S. exit strategy. But the report points to questions about whether the U.S. is leaving behind working infrastructure that the Afghan government can sustain.

At issue is the construction of four Afghan border-police bases in eastern Nangarhar province, a key region that borders Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The region is home to a highway that forms a crucial military supply line and trade link to the Afghan capital.

The bases are among the many security facilities the Afghan government will inherit from U.S. and international donors after a decade of reconstruction work.

The U.S. inspection work, carried out between January and July, found extensive evidence of shoddy construction. Leaking fuel lines on generators created fire hazards; drainpipes weren't installed, causing water damage; and poorly installed doors wouldn't close. In one case, a well house at the Lal Por 1 base was being used as a chicken coop, "increasing the risk of sanitation and health issues," the report states.

The inspectors didn't examine whether the Afghan police units which were supposed to occupy the facilities were performing their jobs elsewhere.

All told, the value of the construction contract for the four bases was nearly $19 million. In a written response to a draft of the inspection report, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which awarded the base contract to Road & Roof Construction Co., an Afghan contractor, said it was working to fix the problems uncovered by inspectors.

But the Corps also said the precarious security in the country made it difficult for it to undertake spot checks on construction projects. The report says the bases are "located in extremely remote and predominately inaccessible sites."

Ahmad Jawaid Abdullah, an executive with Road & Roof Construction Co., said the firm was aware of reports of "minor deficiencies" at sites, but added that most of the problems were "not due to construction," but rather poor facility maintenance.

The Corps, Mr. Abdullah added, was aware of water supply problems on one of the bases, but said that alternatives—such as drilling a well at a separate location and pumping water to the site—had been identified. Mr. Abdullah said the wastewater system at the Nazyan site was functional.

Since the end of 2001, Congress has appropriated just under $90 billion for Afghanistan's reconstruction, of which about $52 billion has been allocated toward bankrolling and building up Afghan security forces.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, was created in 2008 to track the billions of taxpayer dollars the U.S. has poured into Afghanistan for reconstruction projects. The organization got off to a rocky start, with the watchdog agency's original head forced to step down in early 2011 amid congressional questions about its effectiveness.

The White House recently named veteran prosecutor and congressional investigator John Sopko to lead the agency after the top post there was filled by acting heads for over a year.

Asian Defence News

Monday, 30 July 2012

New Russian bomber: needless expenditure or future necessity?

On the threshold of the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Air Force, holiday events are steadily increasing in number. A round table with the participation of the most prominent Russian military analysts, devoted to the development of a potential new bomber for the Russian Air Force, has taken place in Moscow. However, while estimating the need for “aircraft of the future”, the specialists have differed in their views.
There was at least one thing on which all the participants of the round table, which was held in the Rosbalt information agency, have agreed upon: Russia should continue maintaining the existing fleet of strategic aircraft in a proper condition and continue to upgrade them. The resources for the Tupolev Tu-95MS, Tu-160, and Tu-22М3 allow these aircrafts to remain in service for many years. In these conditions, the improvement of their equipment and weapons is one of the key tasks.
Such works are under way now. The Tupolev Tu-95MS and Tu-160 fighters are undergoing modernization and the first upgraded Tu-22М3М has already been handed over to the troops. Updated aircraft can use modern weapons, including non-nuclear precision-guided munitions, which makes them very useful in case of local conflicts. It is noteworthy that Russia currently has approximately 200 long-range aircrafts, including 66 Tupolev Tu-95MS and 16 Tupolev Tu-160s (the rest are Tupolev Tu-22М3s), and it is at the very least wasteful to leave all these heavy combat aircrafts without the possibility of carrying out non-nuclear tasks in local conflicts.

Despite the capabilities of the modernized Russian bombers, their resources are not infinite. They are to be replaced in 2030-2050 due to wear and tear on the airframes. Meanwhile, taking into account modern combat aircraft’s terms of development and serialized production, it is necessary to start development now in order to get a new aircraft by the beginning of 2030s. However, some specialists do not support this point of view. During the round table, Deputy Director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Andrey Frolov was the main opponent of new strategic aircraft development.
“At this stage, maintaining the full-fledged nuclear triad is very burdensome for Russia. In this connection, developing a new long-range aircraft of the fifth generation may become one of the programs that do not make sense, but demand a lot of financial resources,” Frolov stated.
Other participants of the discussion supported the development of new aircraft. “Russia needs strategic bombers of the fifth generation, first of all, in order to support its status of a nuclear power,” the National Defense magazine Editor-in-Chief Igor Korotchenko said.
According to the analyst, it is “the aviation component of the strategic nuclear forces that is most adaptable to the task of sending signals to the opponents in critical moments, reminding them of the fact that the Russian armed forces are capable of solving any problems in case of a war.”
The head of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis Alexander Sharavin has also supported the new development: “I do not oppose the idea of upgrading old aircrafts. But what shall we do in 30 years? It is clear that such aircraft as the PAK DA project cannot be produced in three, five, or even ten years. Such tasks take many years to be fulfilled.”
The fate of PAK DA – the Prospective Air Complex for Long Range Aviation – is not clear yet. Arguments of all the participants contain a core of common sense. It seems that the general conclusion from all the above can be formulated as follows:
1. Today, maintaining the classic nuclear triad – long-range aviation, land-based missiles, and nuclear underwater missile carriers – is a topic for discussion.
2. Nevertheless, the development of a new long-range combat aircraft seems to be necessary. Given the length of Russian borders and the need to respond to potential threats, which may occur in different regions, Russia needs a unit of aircraft capable of readily hitting targets beyond the range of tactical aircraft without refueling in the air.
3. Until it comes to serial production of the new aircraft type, its development is not unduly wasteful, and it may be stopped, slowed down, and resumed at any point without special expenses.
4. Until convincing proof is received that new types of weapons – such as remotely piloted delivery systems and other aircrafts – can effectively replace the classic long-range bomber, this work should be continued. Development of an aircraft up to the moment of launching a series usually takes 10-15 years. It is a sufficient term for determining the prospects of the program.
Asian Defence News

Can Open Standards for C4ISR Data Collaboration be Achieved?

Lower budgets resulting in smaller troops has lead to joint C4ISR being the most crucial asset in global MoDs reserve. NATO’s ideal is to establish open standards of data collaboration where all agencies information can be combined in one database to be accessed from all NATO nations.

Sounds simple …

Yet with mounting efforts to make this ideal a reality – the biggest hurdle appears to be getting agencies to move away from a system of complete secrecy. During a recent interview at the Future ISR conference, LT Gen (ret) Johan Kihl stated: “We are not used to sharing information. On the agencies we are used to building walls and not sharing information.”

An apt description to describe not only different countries policies but even agencies all operating within that country.

Peter Grogan, Head of C4ISR UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) - British Defence Staff Washington, said recently: “Few nations will have enough sovereign collect assets; hence the need to 'share' but those who have invested in their own collect platforms will understandably want those on task supporting their own troops, not someone else's!”

With this as a basis it seems coordinating training of multiple forces on one system may be the only way that MoDs may be able to agree to trust.

Grogan added: “Not convinced that we need any separate networks for anything. One homogenous network with multiple and dynamic routing to take advantage of transiting platforms such as UAVs, fast air and land based will be as good as it gets. The challenge is to be able to minimize, prioritise and manage the data.”

Grogan’s comments lead to another crucial challenge that the Future ISR communities are working to overcome – how to disseminate the huge quantity of data that is received.

Different ideas suggested stem from creating a standard for all data collection methods which can be uplinked onto one network. When in that network the idea is to have a unique and agreed methodology for data tagging to be stored in a common coalition area. However this approach requires a huge platform with an even larger bandwidth, potentially supported by one unique satellite, to ensure that all the data would be stored securely.

Simon Rees, A6-Air, Communications and Information Systems at Royal Air Force said: “However, a larger problem seems to be bandwidth, the J6 arena is one that people will always moan about but there is no point having Tera/Petabytes of intelligence stored if an asset cannot call upon it. The future of ISR has to be OTH Bandwidth, almost certainly through satellite means. Even if this involved multiple connections combined to give the required effect.”

“Having a system built on Meta-data is a must in terms of having intelligence catalogued and searchable by an asset.”

While it is widely understood what the issues are – providing workable solutions and finding the right providers is what will truly make the network the most powerful tool. At the joint C4ISR conference – Future ISR - NATO will be delivering their requirements on information protection, platform and system interoperability, architecture and networks, analysis and exploitation tools, policy and governance and dissemination methods.

Given the central importance of ISR capability to future operational effectiveness, the goal for government attendees at Future ISR 2012 is to identify new ways to achieve interoperability through improved industry partnerships.Asian Defence News

Lockheed Martin-ARINC Team Submit Bid for U.S. Air Force Rapid Deployment Air Traffic Control Radar System

Industry team Lockheed Martin and ARINC has submitted its proposal for a new, transportable air traffic control (ATC) radar system that will enable U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard units to quickly establish tactical military or disaster-relief airfield operations around the world.

Under its Deployable Radar Approach Control (D-RAPCON) program, the Air Force will procure 19 ATC surveillance radar systems, which can deploy within 48 hours worldwide by C-130 aircraft and take less than six hours to set up. The total program value is expected to be more than $400 million.

"Our bid carefully balances the service's need for off-the-shelf products that reduce risk in a budget constrained environment," said Greg Larioni, vice president of radar surveillance systems at Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems & Sensors business. "We have been designing and manufacturing transportable radars for decades with more than 100 systems deployed around the world today."

The Lockheed Martin-ARINC team's solution integrates field-proven systems, including Lockheed Martin's TPS-79 tactical surveillance radar and Microprocessor-En Route Automated Radar Tracking System (Micro-EARTS), and ARINC's transportable ATC operations shelter.

To date, Micro-EARTS is the only ATC display system certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for providing both terminal and en route ATC automation capabilities at FAA and Department of Defense operational sites, as well as for currently deployed Air Force expeditionary ATC systems.

The Air Force's D-RAPCON program will replace aging and difficult to maintain ATC systems in service, including the more than 40-year-old AN/TPN-19 landing control center. Ten D-RAPCON systems will go to the Air National Guard, seven to active-duty Air Force Space Command units, and one each to the Air Force's ATC school and depot.

ARINC Incorporated, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, provides communications, engineering and integration solutions for commercial, defense and government customers worldwide. Headquartered in Annapolis, Md., with regional headquarters in London and Singapore, ARINC is ISO 9001:2008 certified.
  Asian Defence News

China and Afghanistan to Strengthen Military Ties

BEIJING | Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, on Friday called for enhanced military ties between China and Afghanistan while meeting with visiting Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak.

Both countries have witnessed significant results in cooperation in recent years, Guo said, noting that bilateral military relations have also been boosted steadily.

Guo praised Afghanistan for its support for China on issues related to China's core interests, adding that China has consistently supported and actively participated in Afghanistan's reconstruction.

China has called on the international community to respect the Afghan people's will and will continue to provide support and assistance for the country on the basis of respect for its independence,sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Guo.

He called on the two militaries to further enhance strategic communication and strengthen pragmatic cooperation in order to contribute to bilateral strategic cooperation.

Wardak expressed gratitude for the help China has extended to his country, adding that maintaining healthy bilateral relations is conducive to safeguarding regional security and stability. (Xinhua)
  Asian Defence News

Nepal and China Speak Highly of Military Ties Before PLA's 85th Anniversary

KATHMANDU | The Chinese Embassy in Nepal held a reception on Saturday in Kathmandu to mark the upcoming 85th anniversary of the establishment of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan and Defense Attache Senior Colonel Cheng Xizhong along with representatives of the Chinese communities in Nepal and diplomats from the Chinese community in Nepal and other embassies attended the reception.

Defense Attache Cheng recalled Chinese PLA's contribution towards enhancing the comprehensive development in accordance with the principle of integrating revolutionalization, modernization and regularization and continuously accelerated revolution in military affairs with Chinese characterization.

"According to the constitution of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and other relevant laws, the armed forces of China undertake the sacred duty of resisting foreign aggression, defending the motherland and safeguarding overall social stability, " according to Cheng.

"China unswervingly maintains its belief in valuing peace above all else, advocating the settlement of disputes through peaceful means and prudence over the issue of war," Cheng said.

Similarly, Cheng also said that China and Nepal as well as their peoples have established harmonious relationship and deep friendship for a long time. "The exchanges between the Chinese PLA and the Nepalese Army have maintained an all dimensional, multi- tier and wide-ranging trend in recent years, which have laid a solid foundation for mutual trust and understanding," he said.

Likewise, talking to Xinhua on the occasions, Spokesperson of Nepal Army Brigadier General Ramindra Chhetri expressed his best wishes to the PLA on the occasion.

"PLA and Nepal Army have maintained cordial relations ever since the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries in 1955. I would, thus, like to extend my best wishes to the PLA on the occasion," Chhetri said.

Likewise, Defense Attache at the Pakistan Embassy in Nepal Colonel Mumtaz Hussein also expressed his best wishes to PLA on the occasion.

"Pakistan and China have maintained great military ties in terms of exchanges of training to the PLA members. I would therefore like to extend best wishes to PLA on the occasion," Hussein said.

Similarly, leader of Nepali Congress and former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sujata Koirala said, "Our founder BP Koirala always lay great emphasis to Nepal-China friendly relations, following his ideologies, we are ever committed to maintaining good relations with China and thus on this occasion we would like to express our best wishes to PLA."

Similarly, Tamla Ukyab former Nepali consul general in Lhasa also extended his best wishes to PLA on the occasion.

Ever since the establishment of Nepal-China bilateral relations between Nepal and China in 1955 the country has also made several military exchanges which include training of the militaries in both countries.

In 2011, China provided 7.7 million U.S. dollars military aid to Nepal by Chinese Central Military Commission Gen Chen Bingde in Beijing during the latter's high level military visit to Nepal in 2011. (Xinhua) Asian Defence News

An Ideal Arms Trade Treaty from India’s Perspective

The proliferation of small arms and ammunition is a major issue that threatens the security of India. Aspects related to illicit manufacture of local country made guns, smuggling, pilferage from government stocks and a weak monitoring or surveillance mechanisms further complicate the issue. The policy brief examines the nuances of the ATT at an international and national level, and how it would aid India in combating this threat.


A major vulnerability of India is the proliferation of illicit small arms and ammunition manufactured overseas, for use by individuals or armed groups operating in over 200 disturbed districts of the country. The threat of proliferation of illicit weapons will also grow into another untapped market: India’s young population with its disposable wealth and increasing urbanisation rate.

What then would contribute towards the growth of the illicit small arms problem in India?

• Illicit manufacture of country-made hand guns in a large numbers at small scale industrial manufacturing facilities spread throughout the country. Country-made weapons are also smuggled from across international borders. As several models of locally-made weapons use service-pattern ammunition or use re-loaded fired cases, evidently pilferages in ammunition stocks remains an un-addressed dimension of the problem.
• Losses of arms and ammunition from government stocks as well as losses by armed patrols in counter-insurgency encounters. Thefts from stocks of de-commissioned weapons and from inventories of seized weapons are potential problems.
• Weak inventory surveillance and reporting mechanism, which is not being mandatorily investigated, requires legislative initiative and correction.
• Illicit smuggling of arms and ammunition across India’s international borders, with the major ingress routes being Jammu and Kashmir, Maharashtra coastline and the North-East states bordering Myanmar and Bangladesh.

• Small Arms Light Weapons (SALW) of 57 different types have been identified over the past several years. The origin of these weapons have been traced to China, Pakistan, Belgium, Thailand, Russia, United States of America, United Kingdom, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar and Israel.

Currently, security officials who seize smuggled weapons have no way of tracing their routes into India, in order to identify participants of illicit trade or countries which have weak surveillance mechanisms. In the absence of a legally-binding instrument or an international treaty on SALW traceability, arms-exporting countries cannot be held responsible when their arms or ammunition finds its way into the hands of human rights violators and war criminals in other countries. The Indian state remains helpless to address the smuggled weapons part of the problem.

The state appears to be in a denial mode vis-à-vis acknowledging the scale of the problem, as indicated by official inaction and apathy to find even partial solutions. Can the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which is being negotiated at the United Nations, be one such international instrument that could help countries like India to find, at least, a partial solution to the problem?

The above question would require Indian officials charged with negotiating and shaping the directions of the ATT, to approach their mission driven by humanitarian concerns and increasing threats to its citizens. At the minimum, the humanitarian approach examines potential of reducing human suffering resulting from use of illicit weapons as well as the conduct of unaccountable and irresponsible arms sales. This approach combines the inclusion of scientific initiatives to reduce the probability of diversion of arms and ammunition to illicit markets; increasing the ability of international community to develop mandatory standardisation of un-erasable markings by all weapons manufacturing entities in the world; recording their sales and transit points to detect sources and points of illicit diversion; and, finally, to track and prevent a pattern of such diversions from legitimate arms sales.

The treaty negotiators should build up sufficiently strong public opinion among countries under threat from proliferation of illicit SALW. What is required is that the treaty’s provisions enable states to record and trace all legitimately sold weapons in order to track down illegal diversion of weapons that can pose threats to citizens of other parts of the world as well as within their own territories.

In this policy brief, I examine whether the Indian official approach paper for the ATT is progressive and futuristic to develop opportunities that could aim to find common international initiatives to reduce a part of the problem, that is, of illicitly smuggled weapons.

The first part of this policy brief identifies the significance of the ATT for India as well as the need for Indian diplomacy to take a proactive approach to engage the drafting process of the Treaty. There is a clear possibility that, should the Indian avocation of its humanitarian concerns remain inadequate, the citizens of this country will find themselves saddled with an international treaty which does not reflect or address the primary threats to their lives.

For the Treaty to be effective, the main problem which concerns most, if not all, states is illicit transfers or sales of weapons by states as well as by non-state actors (NSA) to groups and individuals in other countries. This policy brief by and large reflects this concern. Consequently, it identifies specific areas where elements of the ATT draft paper circulated by the Chairman needs to be clarified or amended, although the Chairman's draft does make a fair attempt to address these concerns. Furthermore, the policy brief identifies a process of correction and improvement as experience is gained in this field by parties to the treaty.

It must be understood that the real challenge is to have an ATT that factors humanitarian concerns, and should be accepted by a diverse group of countries with divergent priorities. Thereafter, the officials would have to explain and assist in its implementation processes.


In the past, Indian representatives have correctly stated India’s primary concerns in this area: “India's security interests have been affected by illicit and irresponsible transfers, Especially of small arms, light weapons and explosives. It is now universally recognised that illicit trade in conventional arms is a major factor in armed violence by organized criminals and by terrorists. We have therefore maintained that the priority must be combating and eliminating the illicit trade in such arms.”

However, somewhere along the line, India’s position shifted towards state-centric factors and, consequently, neglected its “public safety for citizens” focus. Consequently, the approach of the Indian State on the safety of Indian citizens from individuals and non-state actors using illicit weapons smuggled over the country’s borders has remained unaddressed. India’s latest position paper on the ATT , has now shifted focus on to state-centric concerns such as onerous official documentation requirements for recording of arms transfers; concerns that the ATT should not prescribe controls on the state’s arms trade system; maintaining national autonomy of arms transfer decision-making (despite several illicit weapons of foreign-origin seized in the country); the ATT should balance the obligations of arms importers and exporters; and, finally, that there is no need for an international office to which such violations can be reported and recorded, or a secretariat where weak national controls can be reviewed. It seems that India has decided to neglect public safety concerns of illicit weapons that are being smuggled across its borders.

Considering that SALW are highly vulnerable to diversion, pilferages from state arsenals or copying by non-state actors, this major challenge to domestic security has an international dimension. And that is the diversion of SALW that are bought for legitimate end-use of legitimate national security roles, to illicit purposes. A conundrum is that the states are seen as legitimate actors in international transactions of weapons, but many states do not have broader public or democratic acceptance. The design and implementation of ATT controls also needs to factor in the aspirations and struggles of non-state actors that represent broader democratic interests of the people as opposed to states that are controlled by unrepresentative regimes, which can even become tyrannical. ATT drafting has still to come up with creative ideas in terms of democratic legitimacy questions in states that have unrepresentative regimes.

Another challenge is that states have unequal judicial standards in application of domestic laws relating to illicit weapons proliferation. A politically binding international treaty has to enable states to maintain effective national laws and controls to detect and deter violations of the treaty. In many states, these laws and controls have to be reviewed and updated to reach up to common international standards. Some states may complain of the intrusive nature of such an international treaty, but benefits for all can accrue only if the violations are checked by effective domestic mechanisms established by the state parties.

The ATT obligations are required to have internationally-binding legal criteria, which need to be implemented through domestic legislation. An implementation method can build up effectiveness by developing standardised techniques for recording, inerasable markings and establishing a process for tracing of weapons. This enforcement mechanism has to be supplemented by national legislations on import and export controls, brokering controls, transit and transhipment controls, etc.

As problems of illicit weapons proliferation effects all countries in the South Asian region, India’s interest is served by broader participation of all countries, and, more specifically, by all countries in the region, to enhance effectiveness of the ATT. India should engage the ATT to harmonise interests of all countries in the region for creating effective domestic legislation; national implementation processes to strengthen capacities to control, record and trace weapons which are missing from stocks; develop publically verifiable accountability mechanism that prevents diversion of weapons to unauthorised end-users; and develop an efficient national illicit weapons recovery process.


Despite existing legislation in India, the problem of gun violence from illicit small arms has grown instead of abating. It is thus evident that the national laws and procedures prove inadequate to control the problem. An international agreement would help by helping states to review the loopholes within respective national legislations relating to SALW marking, recording and tracing methods. In the South Asian context, there is a need for dedicated attempts by states to prevent losses from government armouries and recover illicit weapons. Security sector bureaucracies tend to assume that problems of illicit SALW will go away once the problem of insurgent movements are solved. In a way, it explains a lack of political mobilization for victims of gun violence in India; it further explains why the problem of illicit small arms manufacture has grown in the country.

To assuage concerns of states that the ATT may impinge on their sovereign rights, the treaty should obligate the governance structures of the states to carry out accountability checks and stockpile verification procedures to prevent flow of illicit small arms from and across the nation’s borders. This should make up for the resistance to effective international verifiable processes for the recovery of illicit small arms or stockpile monitoring and verification.

India is located in an unstable region where controls on small arms proliferation by other states in the neighbourhood are weak. Considering there is easy availability of illicit small arms from across the border, and the fact that small arms are being manufactured in illegal factories in the region, provisions for a strong ATT will converge with India’s long-term security and political interests in creating a stable regional order, by helping to address the problem of illicit weapons and armed political violence. This would also have application elsewhere in the region, given that smaller countries such as Nepal and Sri Lanka have faced much stronger threats from insurgent movements, i.e., Maoists and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, respectively.

In terms of India’s arms exports to countries with poor human rights records, such as Myanmar and Sudan, its compliance with ATT principles could be open to question. For countries where the application of international human rights and international humanitarian law has been found wanting, continuation of such could become a problem.

If the ATT includes adequate requirements for transparency and accountability, it will benefit India in two ways: one, it will improve its own processes for security sector accountability for stockpile management; and two, it will reduce the risk of diversion to NSAs from arsenals in those neighbouring countries that do not have strong, democratic control of their military sectors.

Indian security concerns relating to small arms and ammunition are primarily three-fold:

• risks of diversion of such arms to NSAs by centres of domestic production;
• illicit manufactures in neighbouring countries and illegal diversion from their arsenals; and
• sales by arms-exporting countries to intermediaries which are then re-transferred to third parties without proper end-user verification or accountability.

The ATT must identify action to be taken by or against the state parties that fail to control the abovementioned risks. India should urgently engage the international community to address these concerns. And, if India continues to engage with the ATT perfunctorily, then in all likelihood the ATT will come into force without having Indian concerns on board.

According to a representative of the Indian delegation in July 2011, the ATT is indicative of India’s shifting position: “...the draft paper seems somewhat vague, to my delegation, in addressing the question of the illicit trade of conventional arms.”

Thus the question is: what have the Indian representatives done to gather informed Indian opinion and develop India’s position to advance progressive solutions to our country’s problem from rising illicit trade of conventional arms?

Indian officials may also be concerned that allegations of human rights violations against its armed forces operating in disturbed areas could prevent transfer of technologies required for the design and manufacture of a new generation of SALW, from being acquired by its military from international sources. A way around this would be for the Indian armed forces and para-military forces being trained in programmes to address these issues: compliance with humanitarian and human rights laws and introducing human security concerns and those of victims of gun violence as well as security sector governance reforms.


It is an accepted norm that states have sovereign rights to acquire weapons from international sources for their territorial defence. But they also have an obligation to ensure that such weapons that are acquired by their security forces, or are in transit, are not diverted to illicit markets or put to illegitimate use against any other state. In this regard, all states should actively co-ordinate international initiatives to identify and track violations of legitimate arms trade.

In pursuit of the abovementioned obligations, weapons-exporting countries, whose weapons are found in illicit trade, must share responsibility and compensation provided to the victims of gun violence irrespective of the territory in which the crime has occurred. In that regard, states which neglect compliance with provisions of the treaty, after having joined the ATT, should be deemed to be trading in illicit weapons and, therefore, debarred from international arms trade.

In order to achieve the objectives of arms acquisition transparency and responsibility, state parties should submit comprehensive national annual reports on international transfers of all arms and ammunition covered by the treaty to an international register, which should

a) analyse the data and publish comprehensive annual report on losses, diversions or thefts from national weapons stocks and arsenals;
b) publish assessments given by the state authorities on illegal manufacture of weapons in their territories;
c) enable legislative provisions for national verification of weapons stockpile security; and
d) provide international support and guidance to state parties in the form of regional training programmes for production of their national reports.

It is extremely important to have an international reporting and regulatory mechanism so as to standardise weapons markings, remove ambiguity and different interpretations in state practices as far as possible. Variations in implementation of the provisions of post-manufacture and imported weapons marking must be reduced to the minimum. This could be done by acceptance of best practices related to post-manufacture and import marking technologies.

A general lack of information and capacity in developing countries could impair such states from implementing provisions of the reporting, marking and regulatory mechanisms. Considering that the need for technical assistance is met through international organisations, more developing countries could be willing to undertake practical measures to implement the ATT markings and reporting requirements. This would help to maintain national arms sales registers that record and check all small arms and weapons held in the public sector as well as those held by private individuals, and their sales and gifts. If there is pilferage from state arsenals or from the state’s stocks of de-commissioned weapons, data on such illicit weapons must be recorded in national registers and made available to the neighbouring states upon formal request. In this regard, the legal sales to individuals holding weapons licences can be abused if such individuals sell weapons to non-licence holders. States should be obliged to register all transactions between private individuals. For this purpose, all state parties should maintain a national contact point.

In addition, states should organise specialised agencies to proactively trace, track and seize illicit transfers of weapons to detect and prevent illegal manufacture of weapons on their territory, and to recover weapons lost by individuals and state agencies. All states must organise specialised police bureaus dedicated to these tasks with SALW control task forces deployed in areas that have a high incidence of illicit weapons. Such a dedicated agency could be in shape of a specially-trained constabulary to investigate, recover and destroy illicit weapons and their manufacturing facilities and prevent unauthorised sales of weapons to and from former security forces personnel. Arming of civilians in border areas and disturbed districts must be banned. The state must maintain its monopoly over use of force in its territory.

Regional Cooperation Centres for prevention of illicit weapons transfers must be created to train and build capacities for detection, seizure and reporting mechanisms within the executive branches and the national security sector. The need for this can be gauged by the fact that the problem of illicit weapons proliferation varies in scale and scope from region to region and from province to province within states. For example, in the India-Pakistan sub-region, some districts/provinces are more notorious for manufacture of illicit weapons which end up across the borders in other states, and which contribute to high incidences of gun violence and illicit weapons proliferation.

As Pakistan has been more explicit in its call to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade and trafficking in conventional arms, particularly small arms and light weapons, it behoves India to join its neighbour to the west in its quest to find practical solutions to address this problem.

Whenever an importing state transfers imports weapons from government stocks to another government or civilian end user for re-sale, the re-assignment marking should be reported to the Central Register to be maintained at the arsenals of the original manufacturer as well as at the ATT Secretariat.

The compliance obligation for original markings should be on the seller and not on the buyer or importer. If a weapon is re-transferred to a third party, then the marking obligation should rest with the re-exporting state. India should move from its current method of engraving markings for the weapons it manufactures to non-erasable marking technologies.

As international assistance is required to develop standardised stockpile security management and verification procedures, its absence allows theft and pilferage to remain unverified within the state’s security sector. To ensure compliance, penalties must be identified against states which neglect to check transfers of illicit small arms across their borders. This practical step is important for inclusion from India’s perspective as large-scale illicit small arms are being transferred to insurgent groups in India through third countries.

The ATT should have provisions for verifiable destruction of old or de-commissioned weapons as these are likely to leak out of stocks or be sold without adequate end-use control.


Considering that weapons continue to be manufactured illicitly, whether in, for example, Landi Kotal, Darra Adam Khel in Pakistan or smuggled through other countries in the region add to the burden of problems in local policing and local security. Illicit manufacturing in India or in Pakistan can have as much destabilising effect within their respective territories as they would have across borders. If the states are unable to comply with their public safety obligations, there is a need for international initiatives to be mobilised to address limitations in domestic processes relating to illicit gun manufacture at small-scale industrial facilities in a large number of small towns.


Even though it is very difficult to assign ownership of ammunition to a stock or group when recovered at the scene of crime, ammunition markings, when combined with thorough international verification of the chain of sales contracts (even if ammunition lots are re-transferred), should be enough to launch an enquiry into the leakages in sources of illicit arms proliferation. Methods for tracing of ammunition lots must begin from markings by the original manufacturer being standardised and made mandatory. Standardised international practices must be designed and adopted to help to identify and follow ammunition lots right from the place of recovery to its original source of manufacture in order to discourage illicit trafficking.

It is important that larger countries in South Asia—India and Pakistan—should lead the way to develop national legislation that obligate the original ammunition manufacturer to mark the identity of the first export recipient of ammunition; thereafter, subsequent re-sales must be recorded in an international tracing registry. Along with online book keeping procedures, lot numbering will make it possible to trace the movement of ammunition.

There are two preconditions essential for tracing: (a) the ammunition has been marked according to standardised international practices, and (b) the information relating to the marked ammunition has been recorded and stored in a centralised database, thus enabling tracing to start and evidence can be collected to initiate legal proceedings against all participants in smuggling en route.

Ammunition markings are not the only means of tracing a weapon. Even a marked ammunition lot could be transferred several times after it was diverted from its original purpose. But markings, combined with thorough analysis of the sales or re-sales contracts, should be sufficient to start an enquiry into the sources of illicit proliferation. Combined with legislated obligations for national-level recording and book keeping, the state parties would be provided with a means of detecting diversions from national stocks. In countries, where surveillance of ammunition delivery personnel are weak, ammunition lot marking could be a valuable back-up method.

Internationally binding and nationally-regulated management of ammunition stockpiles and SALW transfers must develop preventive and pro-active measures to check illegal diversion. It is in India’s interest to convince countries that oppose the international practice of marking of SALW and ammunition to strengthen their national stockpile management and verification practices. It is curious that the states that seem most affected by the non-regulation of ammunition also oppose any international controls measures most fiercely.

EDB Engineering , a Belgian company, has developed a process for laser-marking of ammunition. This technology is regarded as revolutionary for the efficient traceability of ammunition. The innovative technique is based on laser technology and can apply a marking after assembly, just before the cartridges are packaged and delivered to the customer. Such a procedure would be impossible with the stamping technique, which, in any case, can be defaced. The armaments industry views this technique as an effective ammunition marking process, which has since been developed for one of the world’s leading ammunition manufacturers. EDB has proved that, technically, the identification of each piece of ammunition is a feasible operation and that financially too this laser process may be considered to be acceptable. However, the costs will come down once this technology gets widely spread.


As micro-stamping and laser marking technology will become widely available, it will enable manufacturers to stamp all the information needed to mark the origin, registration and tracing of ammunition, right from the time of manufacture. The same technologies, with due modification, can used for marking and tracing of SALW.

International cooperation is required to facilitate access to state-of-the-art technology for un-erasable and unique/standardised markings. There is a need to facilitate developing countries to fully implement provisions on post-manufacture non-erasable marking of weapons to establish the place and date of manufacture of weapons as part of their production process. These non-erasable markings should be of three kinds:

• Proof marking, which should indicate links with an ATT Central Register that must be maintained at the factories of its original manufacture and at the ATT Secretariat.
• Import marking, for identification of the country and year of import.
• Weapons assignment and export marking, which should identify weapons designed for the country’s armed forces, weapons designed for security forces of foreign states, or weapons assigned for sale to private individuals.

The un-erasable laser markings that are required to verify diversion of SALW should describe the year of manufacture, original manufacturer, weapon number, and the identification of the recipient of the arms. The units of armed police and the military also need to have access to facilities of markings as weapons get transferred from one unit to the other. The information must be inscribed deeply enough to prevent erasure of marking history. It should be inscribed at such places on the weapon where average wear and tear would not deface the history of re-transfers. Recording of these markings must be available in national databases and records maintained for a period of 50 years for SALW. The data should be transferable officially to the electronic register kept by the national authorities and specific queries must be responded to if formally requested by international parties to the treaty.

With these developments in standardised international marking of SALW and ammunition, it would be possible to identify leakages and trace illicit transfers as never before. It will plug loopholes in illicit transfers and reduce the burden on weapons recovery policing. In South Asia, it will release resources and increase confidence in the police system to go actively after illicit manufacture within small villages and towns of the country. Once national legislations are made and enforced, it is likely to make the technology cost-effective through a wider international spread and obligatory standardisation of weapon’s marking norms.


Improvements in domestic legislation and controls on SALW and ammunition would help in identification of illicit delivery and smuggling networks. In absence of a legally binding international traceability instruments, countries that export SALW and ammunition can avoid responsibility when their arms or ammunition are seized overseas in the hands of criminal gangs or insurgent groups. Related domestic legislation, control and prevention instruments in different countries will lead to effective marking to check illicit arms transfers and smuggling. Many states have an irrational fear of having to account in front of international jurisdictions, little realising the larger benefits to public safety in their countries.

The Indian state should actively engage to encourage promotion of international processes that obligate arms and ammunition manufacturing countries to frame their legislation on marking, recording of data, and a tracing mechanism based on active international cooperation and changing political habits. These steps should be the basis of the International Instrument for the traceability of SALW and lead to its effective implementation. Even though there would be a political-bureaucratic battle to build up regional consensus in South Asia to abide by regional and international instruments, our diplomats owe this to thousands of innocent victims of firearms in India.

Thereafter, the armed forces and armed police, as part of obligations of the state parties, must annually report losses and recoveries to their respective parliaments. This should include methods of effectiveness of management of marking, recording and tracing for verification of ammunition stocks. The report should explain responsibilities of personnel for marking (on principles of uniformity and clarity) and tracing by recording in a data base. Recording of movement of ammunition (including re-location of stocks, sales and transfers within or between stocks) and independent cross-checking of stock holdings is essential for tracing of illicit trafficking.


There are useful examples of counter-measures against illicit proliferation of SALW from Brazil, where a compulsory electronic connection between the databases of the armed force establishments is required with the offices controlling manufacture, imports and exports of weapons and the Brazilian Federal Police, which maintain a centralised information and data on confiscated weapons and ammunition. Previously, a lack of communication and information exchange between these institutions prevented efficient action against diversion and trafficking. The new law also provides for a centralised ballistic information system run by the Brazilian Federal Police, which contain samples of bullets fired from each small arm and light weapon manufactured in Brazil. This should make it possible to identify light weapons used during crimes as well as identifying the origin of ammunition which was legally transferred but since been diverted to the illicit market.

The new Brazilian law on ammunition makes it obligatory for the police and the armed forces to have their stampings on bullets and cartridges to be included in their lot numbers. This measure should improve the security of military and police stockpiles, and would enable the police to identify the leakages of ammunition from each of the two institutions towards organised crime. The penalties provided in the law should be sufficiently dissuasive towards arms trafficking, diversion of ammunition, theft and illicit stockpiling of ammunition, illicit manufacture and trading in firearms, and activities related to international arms trafficking.


India needs to take a progressive approach to address the problem of illicit small arms which takes into account humanitarian concerns. This approach aims to provide state parties with a means of detecting diversions from national stocks or from points in transit. In states where the control and surveillance of ammunition-handling personnel are inadequate, ammunition lot markings could also serve as a valuable tool for back-up surveillance against diversion or theft.

In addition, if in due course of time, all countries are obliged to have electronically connect their weapons database and ammunition manufacturing entities, the details of losses by units under their Ministries of Defence and the armed police units under the Ministry of Home Affairs; traceability of diverted weapons will then be easier. But the Indian paper is conspicuously silent on much needed aspects of public safety. Fortunately, there is a view that advocates ATT to take humanitarian concerns into account. The least Indian diplomats can do in New York is not to obstruct such advocacy and abstain from criticising progressive ideas, as the Indian public certainly does not want a still-born or an ineffective arms trade treaty.
Asian Defence News
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