If P-75I is delayed, Pak will take the lead, F-18 or LCA Navy?, Ka-31 MRO Issues

If P-75I is delayed, Pak will take the lead

In an article on the Indian Navy’s submarine modernization plans, former Navy Chief Retired Chief of Naval Staff Arun Prakash lambasted the Government and Indian Navy, claiming that by 2028, the Pakistani Navy will have 11 submarines equipped with air independent propulsion systems if India continues to delay implementation of Project-75I, under which it had planned to procure six new submarines equipped with air independent propulsion system and lithium-ion batteries.

The Pakistani Navy already has three Agosta-90B submarines, which were fitted with an untested French AIP system in 2008, and has already placed orders for eight Yuan Class Chinese submarines. By 2028, the Pakistani Navy might have up to 11 AIP-equipped boats.

The Project-75I tender is in disarray after France, Russia, Germany, and Sweden withdrew, leaving only South Korea’s offer on the table, perhaps forcing a dreadful re-tendering process that might take another three to four years.

To confront the escalating challenges to India’s maritime interests, Naval Headquarters projected the need for a standing fleet of 24 submarines. The government approved a “30 Year Submarine Building Plan” in 1999, which called for the serial manufacturing of two types of submarines in separate shipyards at the same time.

India has halted negotiations with Russia on the Ka-31 helicopter

Following uncertainty in military deliveries during the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India has paused discussions with Russia to buy ten Kamov Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopters for $520 million. The Indian government has put a stop to negotiations with Rosoboron Export and Russian Helicopters, the original equipment manufacturer. The suspension, according to the government-to-government agreement, is owing to worries about Moscow’s ability to carry out orders made by Indian Navy as well as payment-transfer difficulties.

Ka-31

In May 2019, India requested Ka-31 helicopters from Russia, however the procurement programme was hampered by the epidemic and the platform’s expensive cost. Since March 2022, the Reserve Bank of India has been working nonstop to build an alternate payment mechanism, but negotiators have been unable to reach a deal.

Officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Navy would never say whether India is looking at alternatives to the airborne early warning craft. The Navy currently employs 14 Ka-31 helicopters, four of which were inducted in 2003, five in 2005, and five in 2013, with spare parts, repairs, and overhaul support provided by the original equipment manufacturer.

In search of a contract with the Indian Navy, a testing of US naval planes could commence by the end of the month

Following France, the US will provide India an operational demonstration of its naval combat jets. Boeing is expected to demonstrate the F-18 Super Hornet’s capability at the Indian Navy’s Shore Based Testing Facility in Goa later this month. Despite the fact that India has Russian-built Mig-29K combat planes for its aircraft carrier warships, the Indian Navy is exploring for alternatives abroad due to the lack of operational readiness of Indian naval jets.

F/A-18 Super Hornet

Following the testing, the Indian Navy will compare and analyse the performance of the F-18 and the French Rafale-M before deciding on a government-to-government contract to purchase 26 jets for India’s two aircraft carriers, the INS Vikramaditya and the forthcoming INS Vikrant. The Indian Navy was searching for a stopgap solution with two squadrons of imported jets to fly for the next 10 to 15 years until the Navy’s Light Combat Aircraft, or LCA Navy, is ready for induction by the middle of the next decade.

In January, the Rafale-M trials took held at the angled ski jump facility at INS Hansa in Goa. The flights went on for over two weeks. The US test flights may take place for a similar period, during which India would investigate the option of smooth aircraft movement from the flight deck to the repair hangar, among other things. To make such a transition between the two decks, US planes have a folding wing.

The remedy for the French-built Rafale was to remove a portion of the plane’s wings before it could be loaded onto the carrier’s elevator. Although India’s initial plan was to purchase 57 deck-based fighters, this was changed after the DRDO and Aeronautical Development Agency significantly upgraded the LCA Navy in response to criticism from then-Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba.

Following the upgrades, the LCA Navy conducted extensive trials at the Shore Based Test Facility, as well as an arrested landing onboard the INS Vikramaditya. The DRDO and ADA now plan to have a twin-engine version of the LCA Navy available for trials by 2026, with induction into the Navy possible by 2032 provided the trials go well.

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