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DEFENCE - February 2021

Feb 2021

May 06, 2021

India, UK Agree on Co-production of Military Hardware; Technology Collaboration for Combat Aircraft

  • In a major move, India and the UK vowed to expand bilateral defence cooperation, including through technology collaboration in developing combat aircraft and complex weapons, during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson.
  • A 10-year roadmap unveiled at the summit for boosting overall India-UK ties mentioned that the two countries will strengthen cooperation to take "decisive and concerted actions" against globally proscribed terrorists and terror entities.
  • It said the two leaders agreed that there is a promising new era ahead for India-UK collaboration on key military technologies including combat aircraft, maritime propulsion system and complex weapons, harnessing the strengths of Indian and British industries, government laboratories and academia.

May 05, 2021

Armed Forces Use Lease Route to Cut Red-tape, Stay Prepared for Adversaries

  • Rather than getting caught in the laborious defence acquisition process, the armed forces are using the financial powers of vice-chiefs to lease out critical weapon platforms from strategic allies like the United Sstates, France and Russia. The vice-chiefs have the power to purchase Rs. 300 crore worth of equipment as part of capital purchases as well as half of Rs. 500 crore can be used for emergency requirements for the service but outside capital outlay.
  • According to South Block officials, the leasing of two Predator unmanned aerial vehicles from the US, a nuclear power submarine Akula class to replace the presently leased INS Chakra from Russia, and the proposal to lease a Airbus 330 multi-role transport tanker from France are examples in this direction.
  • While the leasing process allows the armed forces to train on a platform that it plans to acquire, it also short-circuits the labyrinth of acquisition process like acceptance of necessity, request for information, request for proposal, defence acquisition committee, finance ministry approvals and finally the Cabinet Committee of Security (CCS).

Rolls-Royce Partners with Hindustan Aeronautics for Warship Engines

  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Rolls-Royce signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish a support system in India for the highly regarded Rolls-Royce MT30 marine engines.
  • The HAL-Rolls-Royce partnership will provide packaging, installation, marketing and services support for the MT30 engine, creating a business case for the Indian Navy to consider using the engine for powering and propelling its warships.
  • The Indian Navy, one of the world's major warship builders, has not used the MT30 for even a single warship. Most Indian frigates and destroyers are propelled by Ukrainian Zorya turbines or by American General Electric LM-2500 gas turbines.

May 04, 2021

Egypt to Buy 30 Rafale Jets, Contract Signed with France

  • Egypt and France signed a contract for the supply of 30 Rafale fighter jets.
  • The concluded contract is financed through a financing loan of a minimum duration of 10 years.
  • The value of the contract has not been disclosed but is expected to be in the region of $10 billion.
  • Egypt's purchase of the first batch of Rafale jets was worth $6 billion and was financed up to 50% by a consortium of French banks.
  • In 2015, France closed a €5.2 billion ($5.9 billion) contract for the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets to Egypt, in what is the first foreign order of the French-built warplanes.

May 03, 2021

Hanwha Defence Ready to Offer New Light Tank to Indian Army

  • South Korea's Hanwha Defence is pushing a new combat vehicle with a 105mm turret mounted on its K21 chassis for the Indian Army
  • Just last week, the Indian Army released Request for Information (RFI) to seek prospective vendors to procure around 350 light tanks in a phased manner under the Make in India initiative.
  • Indian Army plans to procure versatile combat platforms, weighing less than 25 tons, to sharpen its edge in mountain warfare as they will be able to exploit the limited space available in mountainous terrains by way of enhanced mobility, thus providing additional firepower.
  • The RFI stated that the Defence Ministry intends to procure a new generation combat vehicle platform, approximately 350 Light Tanks in a phased manner, along with performance-based logistics, niche technologies, engineering support package, and other maintenance and training requirements. The last date of acceptance of receipt of response is June 18, 2021.
  • One potential option could be a proposal from a South Korean company based on its K21-105 tank.
  • Hanwha Defence says the vehicle has a 105mm turret mounted on a K21 infantry fighting vehicle chassis. It has strong firepower and manoeuvrability that enables the vehicle to perform a wider variety of tactical operations than main battle tanks.

May 02, 2021

US and NATO Start to Formally Withdraw Troops from Afghanistan

  • The US has started formally withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, beginning the end of what President Joe Biden called "the forever war".
  • The US and NATO have had a presence in Afghanistan for almost 20 years.
  • But the withdrawal, which runs until 11 September, comes amid escalating violence, with Afghan security forces on high alert for reprisal attacks.
  • The Taliban have warned they are no longer bound by an agreement not to target international troops.
  • Under a deal signed last year between the militants and then-President Donald Trump, foreign forces were to have left by 1 May while the Taliban held off attacking international troops.
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