AMCA Engine Talks Concluded? ATAGS Cleared For Production Drdo’s AIP Testbed

Defence Ministry Told Officials to Conclude AMCA Jet Engine Talks With France In A Month

The Defence Ministry has asked officials to conclude negotiations with France to co-develop a new fighter jet engine at the earliest, identifying it as a key component towards India’s ambitions to achieve self dependency in military equipment. The ministry has told officials that ongoing talks should be concluded within a month as the matter has been hanging for a while, mainly due to differences on the financing of research and development costs for a new jet engine. India requires a new 110 kilo newton powered engine for the future class of advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA), and has been in discussions with France to leverage some of the offsets accruing from the Rafale fighter jet deal towards the project.

In December last year, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said that France has agreed to make a military engine in India under the strategic partnership model, after talks with his counterpart Florence Parly who was on an India visit.

Initial assessments are that an engine for next generation combat aircraft can be produced within seven years of the project getting sanctioned. French engine manufacturer Safran has offered a compete technology transfer to develop the engine and use the offset credits from the Rafale deal. Efforts are now on to find a way to take the project ahead by reducing the costs. Engines are part of the most critical systems on fighter jets with few nations able to master the technology. Rough estimates shows that for a fleet of 200 Light Combat Aircraft in service, the cost of engines alone would be in excess of 25 billion Euros over the lifecycle of the planes.

ATAGS to be cleared for production after clearing Final User Trials

India’s much delayed project for indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System ATAGS, that commenced last round of user trials in April this year has completed all pending trials which will pave the way for orders to be placed by the Indian Army. ATAGS already had cleared the mobility trials but faced issues with the auto ammunition loading bridge opening operation, but most of the technical issues now have been resolved and the gun performed as expected.

ATAGS Trials were monitored by a team of officials from the DRDO along with two private companies Bharat Forge and Tata Powers officials with Army personals. ATAGS is considered to be one of the most advanced and the first gun in the world which can fire with BMCS Zone-7 that is Bi-Modular Charge System with both Low & High firing range and has a record of sorts in the 155mm family, this gun has achieved a firing range of 48km. Indian Army is likely to place orders for the Gun by end of this year or early next year and the complete order for initial first lot of 150 modern ATAGS guns is likely to be completed by Year 2026.

Its Time that Project-76 supersedes Project-75I

Indian Navy’s tender for six diesel submarines under Project-75I is fast becoming a non starter with four submarine manufacturers have quit the race, after they failed to meet requirements set by the Indian Navy and one withdrew from the race, because they didn’t want to transfer technology that they were keen on protecting, due to which this has created single vendor situation, in the whole tender process that is likely will result into cancellation of the tender.

With Project-75 nearing its completion with the last of the submarine entering the water it will still take nearly two years before it is cleared for induction, after the conclusion of the user trials of the submarine, but till then India’s premier shipyard will be in the idle capacity that India had build with tremendous hardwork over the years.

Indian Navy recently brainstormed its future requirements, is still mum on that, plan of action has been decided to boost underwater capabilities of the Navy, as four German submarines are nearing their shelf life and 8 out of 10 Kilo class submarines are also due to refurbishment, with one likely to be handed over to DRDO, to be used as a research testbed for testing AIP and other indigenous components and systems on the submarines.

Under Project-76, the Indian Navy has planned to develop a new line of indigenous submarines but Indian Navy still thinks that the technology required to develop next generation diesel submarines still doesn’t exist in the country. Navy arguments have been that Project-75I is required, so that it can be used as a base for the development of 12 next generation diesel submarines in the country. But all indications are that Project-75I will be a non starter as well, since most of the countries have quit the race and some are not keen on sharing technology that the Indian Navy desires.

It’s time for DRDO, Mazgaon Dockyard Limited, and other associate labs to come together and rope in private sector companies and use French or Germans as consultants to develop a new line of submarines in India.

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