An IDC Analysis (with inputs from Sayan Majumdar)


New Delhi, 05 December 2004

Putin visited Delhi for two days from 03 Dec and signed a series of defence protocols including one providing for an agreement on the key issue of protecting Intellectual Property Rights, in the case of weapon systems produced jointly. The Russians are learning the facts of IPR and they know that the BrahMos and other technologies are exportable so since India and Russia have jointly developed the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, they must jointly market it in the global Arms Bazaar, protecting the property rights of Russia. In any case India has always had to agree to many Russian demands in the past for its defence spares and line of supply for many future acquistions are tied to Russia. Even the BrahMos missile is 95% Russian and it was the brain child that evolved out of Russian investment from the amount India owes Russia in rupees, and a Task Force is looking into modalities of the balance two years payment. Putin knew he could  lay conditions and has tried  to keep the Indian defence market in the Russian fold and ward off USA and others. Now Rumsfeld is due in India and he too will try to peddle US hardware. 

Meanwhile, in Moscow, Russia began delivery of the last batch of 10 multi-role Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters for the Indian Air Force and a jumbo cargo plane AN-124 took off today for India with 2 undocked Sukhoi jets from the IRKUT Corporation's Irkutsk plant in Siberia. Four more sorties are to be made by the jumbo cargo to deliver the remaining 8 planes by the end of this month, according to corporate sources. Then 46 SU 30 MKI will stand delivered. Under the $1.2 billion deal, Russia's IRKUT Corporation has already delivered 30 Sukhoi fighters of various modifications and the first indigenously assembled Su-30MKI jet has rolled out of the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) under a $3.2 billion technology transfer deal for 140. Some other deals in camera may also have been discussed, such as the Akula, TU 22M3 and missile defence. The tussle for India's Ballistics Missile Defence (BMD) seems to have begun, as India has already received two Green Pine radars from Israel and these long range warners can be married to the Israeli Arrow or the Russian PMU 300 series. India will have to decide as the MOD report says the GoI will provide BMD for India.

According to media reports U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will shortly visit New Delhi with a “package” of Patriot SAM/ATBM and P-3C MR/ASW platforms. Perhaps it will be the proper time to voice our concerns regarding nuclear and ballistic missile proliferation in our neighbourhood and West Asia –– and ask for a proper “antidote” and technological assistance. The visit of Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld should be utilised by the Indian leaders and officials to obtain clearance for the US/Israeli developed Arrow-2 Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) for the Indian armed forces along with technical cooperation regarding US/Israeli MOAB Boost-Phase Intercept (BPI) Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicle (UACV) project –– Indo–U.S. cooperation is growing in the sphere of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) research and development with appropriate visits being exchanged. 

The MLM Division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) developed the sophisticated Arrow series of Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missiles (ATBM) for protection of the Israeli homeland from missile attacks from adversaries with Nuclear, Biological or Chemical (NBC) warheads –– the centre piece of Israel’s layered system of strategic missile defence called "Homa" is the Arrow-2 ATBM. The first trial battery became operational in the year 2000. It is to be deployed in three batteries including one battery near Tel Aviv and one to the south of Haifa. Presently one of the better bets for terminal defence against theatre ballistic missiles, the hypersonic US/Israeli Arrow-2 is undergoing extensive testing and evaluation. It is at the same time operational under Israeli Defence Force. Two of the systems are deployed in Israel with a third is shortly to join. They are deployed in such a manner that the coverage of the systems overlaps over vital military, commercial installations and concentrated civilian population. 

The system is standalone yet integrated with national command & control, and has the capability to provide early warning for itself and of dealing with multiple threats. In case of Israeli landmass the Arrow-2 ATBM system itself serves as the National Missile Defence (NMD). Also at the horizon is the Arrow System Improvement Programme (ASIP) being carried out jointly by Israel and US Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO). In Israel Arrow-2 functions as the upper-tier of a two-tier combined air defence/ATBM network. The lower tier comprises of US and Israeli Patriot PAC-2/PAC-3 and US Navy ship-borne AEGIS systems. 

The US Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) placed a contract on the Electronics Division of Israel Aircraft Industries to build and test the Chetz-1 (Hebrew name for Arrow-1) ATBM system. The weight of the Arrow-1 was 2,000-kg. The new refined and leaner missile system, the Arrow-2, weighs 1,300-kg, was first tested in 1995. Arrow-2 is meant to intercept tactical ballistic missiles just as they start re-entering atmosphere after reaching the highest point in their flight trajectory. Arrow-2 successfully acquired, tracked and destroyed TM-91 Arrow missile targets from ranges of 60-km and 100-km. In February 2003, IAI signed an agreement with Boeing to establish the production infrastructure to manufacture components of the Arrow missile in the United States. Boeing is responsible for the production of approximately 50-percent of the missile components in the United States. Boeing will produce various missile components and co-ordinate the production of existing Arrow missile components already being manufactured by more than 150 American companies. IAI will be responsible for integration and final assembly of the missile in Israel.

An Arrow battery is equipped with typically four or eight launch trailers, each with six launch tubes and ready-to-fire missiles, a truck mounted Hazelnut Tree Launch Control Centre (LCC), a truck mounted communications centre, a trailer mounted Citron Tree Fire Control Centre (FCC) and the units of a mobile Green Pine EW radar system. There are microwave and radio data and voice communications “Link-16” between the launch centre and the radar command and control centre. The launch system can be located up to 300-km from the site selected for the radar command & control centre.

The two-stage Arrow-2 ATBM Missile is equipped with solid propellant booster and sustainer rocket motors. The missile uses an initial burn to carry out a vertical hot launch from the container and a secondary burn to sustain the missile's trajectory towards the target at a maximum speed of Mach 9, or 2.5-km per second. Thrust Vector Control (TVC) is used in the boost and sustainer phases of flight. At the ignition of the second stage sustainer motor, the first stage assembly separates. The "kill vehicle" section of the missile, containing the warhead, fusing and the terminal seeker, is equipped with four aerodynamically controlled moving fins to give low altitude interception capability. The infrared seeker is an indium antimonite focal plane array developed by Raytheon. 
Arrow-2 is launched vertically, giving 360-degree coverage to each battery. The missiles can be launched separately or in salvos with the Green Pine L-band, phased array, dual-mode detection and fire control radar determining the intercept point and uplinking very accurate data to the Arrow-2. After Arrow-2 is brought to the best engagement point on the theatre ballistic missile, its Electro-Optical (EO) sensor acquires the target to allow very near pass and then activate the fragmentation warhead. 

The ELTA Electronics subsidiary of IAI that supplies Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) with radars and equipment pods to India developed the Green Pine Early Warning and Fire Control (FC) radar for the Arrow system. The radar EL/M-2090 includes the trailer mounted antenna array, the power generator, a cooling system and a control centre. Green Pine is an electronically scanned, solid state, phased array radar operating at L-band in the range 500-MHz to 1,000-MHz, and was developed from the ELTA Music phased array radar. India placed an order for the supply of two Green Pine for use with India's air defence system against ballistic missiles and the first parts were delivered in 2001. 

The Green Pine L-band, phased array, dual-mode detection and fire control radar weighs 60-t and comprises of 2,000 transmit-receive modules. Green Pine is said to be capable of tracking ballistic missiles from a range of up to 500-km while intercept of the attacking missile may occur 140-km away at an altitude of 60-km. The long range of Green Pine radar system ensures that a second shot can be taken at the incoming ballistic missile if the first shot fails to secure the "kill". The ballistic missiles are again intercepted at a much higher altitude to prevent them from disintegrating as they approach lower altitude, thus "faking" multiple targets on radar screens. Intercept can thus be endo-atmospheric or exo-atmospheric. Israel also receives data from the US Defence Space Program (DSP) EW satellites and Boeing RC-135 Cobra Ball intelligence aircraft. 

Tadiran Electronics Limited is the prime contractor for the Citron Tree Battle Management/Fire Control Centre (BM/FCC) capable of conducting multiple, simultaneous interceptions and includes ten battle stations. Launches are controlled by Hazelnut Tree launcher control centre. Citron Tree, which is trailer mounted, downloads the radar data along with data from other sources and uses powerful signal processing tools to manage the threat interceptions. The system has man-in-the-loop intervention capability at every stage. The BM/FCC has computer workstations for the Sky Situation Coordinator, Intelligence Officer, Post Mission Analysis, Resource Officer and Senior Engagement Officer as well as the Commander's station. Citron Tree FCC has three banks of operator consoles laid out in a “U” shape. The Centre Commander takes his position at the centre not only to oversee the engagement but also has links to the other parts of the battery, as well as to the Air Force Headquarters. Extensive communication systems ensure National Policy to govern the ATBM engagements as information available includes incoming TBM tracks, predicted impact points and engagement profiles. 

The Engagement Officer sits at the right of the Centre Commander assigning targets to four other engagement officers sitting on the right-hand leg of the “U”. Each is assigned a geographical area to defend and two of the officers have an overview of the lower-tier Patriot SAM/ATBM batteries. In Indian context it is the sharing of technical details of Patriot PAC-3 (Patriot Advanced Capability-3) that will benefit the successive development of our projected Akash SAM/ATBM that should comprise the Indian lower-tier ATBM network.The Resource Officer sits at the left of the Centre Commander and monitors the status and readiness of the missiles. On the left of the “U” sit’s the Sky Picture Officer who is in contact with the home-front command and predicts the impact point to alert the civil authorities. An Intelligence Officer and an after-action/Debrief Officer manages the recordings. 

The workstations display a large electronic map showing the area of battle. Predicted and confirmed launch sites are colour coded to show priority sites. “Link-16”, “Tadil-J”, communications is being developed to allow inter-operability with Patriot PAC-2 FC units like used in the Gulf War over Iraq. Assigned targets can be handed over to the Patriot's N/MPQ fire control radar. Tests carried out by the United States and Israel have successfully linked the Arrow and US Patriot PAC-2/3 and also the Arrow and Israeli Defence Force (IDF) Patriot version.There is one disadvantage of Arrow and this is its “narrow specialization” because in contrast to its counterparts this system is practically unable to fight aircraft. The low limit of target engagement zone of Arrow is 8-km. Therefore it will be necessary to deploy the additional anti-aircraft means for protecting the Arrow positions against attack by enemy aircraft. Patriot PAC-2/3 usually fulfills anti-aircraft cover. Patriot batteries are supported by additional Beyond-The-Horizon (BTH) radar, and satellite and Boeing E-8 Joint-Surveillance Target Attack Radar System (J-STARS) reconnoitering system.

Israel in addition has also focused on boost-phase interception of ballistic missiles that ensures a decent percentage of success. The Israelis are reportedly working on high-altitude HA-10 Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UACV) in assistance with US Ballistic Missile Defence Organisation (BMDO) that will fire missile interceptors toward the attacking ballistic missiles during boost phase. They are directed by a command-and-control system developed by Tadiran Electronics Ltd. and the aircraft, in turn, feed a search and track system that can scan the area to determine whether the enemy is firing a real missile or a decoy. Their passive electro-optic sensors will have the capability to detect and track ballistic missiles during their boost phase. If the missile is fired towards Israel, the system decides which UACV will fire its interceptor. Data fusion techniques will be used to detect the most threatening target. 

The UACV then fires missiles being developed by the Israel Armament Development Authority (Rafale), in a project called MOAB (Missile Optimised Anti-Ballistic Missile System), toward the enemy rocket at the boost phase. The attacking missile destroyed at that stage falls on the aggressor's territory along with its Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) payload. In this context the deterrent value of a Boost-Phase Intercept System is well apparent. The UACV is armed with extensive sensors for autonomous navigation and targeting and is able to successfully complete its mission and return to base even if the link from the controllers is cut off. 

Recently, the Israelis have shifted their attention to target the enemy’s mobile missile launchers following the tactic of Before Launch Phase Intercept (BLPI). There will be far fewer launchers than missiles. Emphasis will be on developing a very high-speed, precise air-launched missile. To carry this new missile, Israel wants to refine the BPI concept. While MOAB/IBIS system is a combination of UACVs with two air-to-air missiles for the BPI role, now Israeli planners envision a UAV that carries perhaps as many as 10 air-to-surface missiles internally for a reduced radar signature. Such a design may also require retractable landing gear, stealth qualities and shaping and jet engines rather than propellers. A second long-range UAV, designed to loiter over enemy territory for up to 60-hours, would carry fused and multispectral sensors designed to pull additional and more precise identification and location information from the targets. 

The transfer of critical technologies of both Arrow-2 ATBM and MOAB BPI UACV needs obligatory U.S. approval, even if the Israelis wish to cooperate. The proliferation of nuclear fissile material and BMD technologies around our sub-continent and potentially volatile West Asia dictates that such BMD systems are critical to the Indian security. Both the Indian diplomatic skills and the American cooperative attitude can be put to acid test during the projected visit of Donald Rumsfeld.

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