Monday, January 26, 2015

India, US to Explore Joint Development of Aircraft Carrier, Jet Engine Technology

New Delhi (January 25, 2015) The US and India today announced the following landmark military agreements on the opening day of President Barack Obama's three day visit to India to attend the Republic Day parade on January 26, 2015 as the Chief Guest.

1. India-U.S. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Agreement to facilitate cooperation in defense research and development for 15 years. (The agreement was signed on January 22, 2015)

2. Renewal of their 10-year Framework on Defense Co-operation signed in 2005. The DTTI, which was announced in 2012 has been included in the renewed Framework which will guide and expand the bilateral defense and strategic partnership over the next ten years.

According to a statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, "This renewed framework will support stronger military-to-military engagement, including deeper maritime cooperation and increased opportunities in technology and trade,"

Under the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, India and the US agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR.

3. A new military education partnership that will "help shape the next generation of military leaders in both our nations, fostering relationships that will draw our defense establishments closer together for years to come."

4. Under the Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) and the RDT&E agreement signed on January 22, 2015, the two countries agreed in principle to

  1. Pursue co-production and co-development of four pathfinder projects.
  2. Form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design.
  3. Explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.
(Since its announcement in 2012 the DTTI had so far not led to any specific agreement)

4. To this end, they agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR

According to the TOI, the four pathfinder projects are
  1. RQ-11B Raven Mini Battlefield Surveillance Drones
  2. Roll-on, roll-off modules that allow C-130s to be used for surveillance, and as VIP transports or hospitals.
  3.  Mobile electric hybrid power sources
  4. Uniform Integrated Protection Ensemble increment-2 (Chemical, biological warfare protection gear for soldiers). 
The first two of the (pathfinder) projects are with American companies, and the next two with the US government. 

Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Sources

According to the Asian Age, India wants US help in developing non-grid-tied smart power system with output ranging from 300W to 800kW, patterned on the systems used by the US Army effectively in Afghanistan.

Such systems are essential for powering mobile radars, communication nodes, sensors, rechargeable batteries, etc. in remote high altitude areas such as the terrain along the LAC and LoC

Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (Emals)

ET reported on January 22, 2015 that Frank Kendall, the US undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, who arrived in India ahead of Obama, would discuss with his Indian counterparts the possibility of joint production of defense items including EMALS. 

Officials told ET that EMALS might be one of the defense system on which a joint production agreement could be hammered out. 

The Navy has earlier indicated it prefers the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (Emals) on its new aircraft carriers.

M777 155mm/39-caliber Howitzers

There has been no mention of the BAE Systems offer to transfer its entire M777 155mm/39-caliber howitzer assembly line from the US to India and readiness for higher degree of indigenisation on the weapon system than earlier. Included in the deal is transfer of the M777 Assembly Integration & Test (AIT) capabilities into India.

It may be recalled that in July, 2014, Raksha Mantri Arun Jaitley had told the parliament that the 145 ultra-light howitzers deal had hit a dead end.

"The case has not progressed due to cost issues and because the vendor has not been able to come up with a proposal fully-compliant to the offset requirements," Jaitley said. 

The non mention of the the M777 deal is likely because it doesn't involve any co-development.

U.S.-India Joint Statement साँझा प्रयास - सबका विकास” – “Shared Effort; Progress for All” | The White House News Release: Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on New Defense Cooperation with India

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