Russia prepares for future wars

The growing military potential of Japan and China - and continuing territorial disputes over the Kuril island chain and Arctic Shelf - is causing Russia to increase spending on her naval nuclear deterrent and blue-water forces.

Russian Ministry of Defence firmed up orders for four Project 955A Borey-A strategic missile underwater cruisers (submarines) and five Project 885M Yasen-M cruise-missile submarines. In early 2013 decisions were made to refit and modernization the Project 1144 nuclear powered cruisers and Project 949A cruise-missile submarines. By rough estimates, these commitments combined amount to US$ 10 billion. 

In January 2012 Russia handed over the K-152 Nerpa fast attack submarine to the Indian navy on a ten-year lease, the deal reportedly worth US$ 0.9 billion. These and other recent moves may lead to changes in the current balance of forces in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Where will the enemy be?

The period between late 2011 and early 2014 brought news of the highest-ever level of orders for naval equipment placed by the Kremlin since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Also during this period Moscow started to deliver on obligations to New Delhi on helping the long-standing ally and customer build national nuclear-deterrent and atomic-propulsion forces. In addition, this period was marked by the Kremlin leaders expressing their dissatisfaction with the deployment of US antimissile systems in Europe and promising an “asymmetric reply”. 

This “reply” calls for keeping Russian nuclear deterrent forces intact and able to meet new challenges. In late 2014, Vladimir Putin made it clear who are these forces are: the US and NATO. In the Kremlin’s eyes, the missile interceptor shield being created in Western Europe destroys the exisiting strategic balance between US and Russia. So, the nuclear deterrent forces shall be upgraded according to these new realities. Construction of strategic submarines, along with refit and modernization of in-service nuclear assets is a move in this direction. 

Whatever great ideas on a new arms-race might be in minds of Kremlin strategists, the current indifferent state of the national economy and the run down military-industrial complex will not allow Russia to immediately restore the lost strategic balance of naval forces with the US and its NATO allies. Besides this, the Kremlin leaders have made certain promises to the West. These include arrangements in return for financial help from Western countries on scrapping decommissioned nuclear submarines in the frame of CTR (“common threat reduction”) and other such programs. CTR has been important for both Russia and NATO. In the course of “Perestroika”, the Russian navy halved its personnel numbers and decommissioned more than 50% of its warships in the five year period between 1992 and1997. In two years alone, 1990 and 1991, 91 and 33 submarines respectively went out of commission. In 1996 Russia had over 150 decommissioned submarines tied up in harbors with their nuclear fuel rods and used fuel still inside their reactors. 

With Western help, Russia built additional facilities for warship disassembly and, as of October 2006, had scrapped 137 nuclear submarines. That time the number of decommissioned n-subs reached 197, of which 25 were being processed and another 32 waiting their turn. By now, the warship disassembly facilities in Severodvinsk have reached the annual capacity of six n-subs. The capacity of another plant, Zvezda in the Far East, is probably half of that. 

While the issue of decommissioned submarines has largely been solved, Russia may still need Western financial help and technical assistance for used nuclear fuel. According to the recently published book “Soviet navy submarines 1945-1991” by Yuri Apalkov, in 2007 the Russian navy kept in its bases 21,000 boxes of used nuclear fuel. The issue of their processing is still far from being completely solved. 

For these and other reasons, the Kremlin has been trying not to run into a direct confrontation with US and NATO. At the same time, it has been trying to defend long-term national interests and widen access to western technologies and financial resources - both much needed for renovation of Russia’s struggling economy. The US, too, has been interested in Moscow as a supporter of the War on Terror. 

Washington and Moscow share views on Afghanistan and other hot spots. The two have common interests, including those in the global economy and Asia. Obviously, the White House and Kremlin are in agreement on the oil-and-natural-gas issue: increasing Russian export of fossil fuels shall help decrease the impact on the economies of the US and allied countries following EU ban on Iranian oil purchases. 

With above considerations taken into account, it seems more likely that the recent naval equipment orders are aimed primarily at maintaining the Russian navy’s power above those of the growing “Asian tigers”. 

Both China and Japan have made great progress recently in strengthening their navies. Shipbuilders at Dalian have now finished work on PLAN’s first aircraft carrier, the Shi Lang. She had sea trials for the first time in the second half of 2011. China has declared plans for the eventual construction of several carriers. Beijing continues the development and manufacture of nuclear submarines. Without Russian permission, China has launched into production of the J-11, a clone of the Sukhoi Su-27 land-based fighter, and the J-15, a clone of the Su-33 deck fighter. Local shipbuilders produced copies of Project 636 diesel-electric submarines. Japan has been even more disturbing and challenging in its expansion of capabilities. Her “self-defense” forces have commissioned a number of very advanced blue-water assets of previously unknown classes. Japan has built a series of AIP-equipped large conventional submarines and is working on more advanced ones featuring extended sea autonomy and stealthiness through use of high-power Stirling closed-cycle engines. 

The DDG177 Atago and DDG178 Asigara destroyers with full displacement of 10,000 tons entered service in 2007-2008. The DDH181 Hyuga and DDH182 Ise “helicopter destroyers” with full displacement of 18,000 tons went into commission. The JMSDF is soon be adding the even larger Shirane class to the growing arsenal. The latter three ships carry helicopters, but suggestions have been made that their size and systems allow for deck operations of the F-35 Lightning II fighter. 

India, too, has been investing heavily in blue-water forces. This year the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier shall be inducted and become the largest combat vessel of all time in the national inventory. In addition, India is building “home grown” Arihant-class nuclear powered submarines. Moscow has been helping these and other programs on a commercial basis. Participation in these activities has helped Russian shipbuilders and naval missile makers survive the difficult period of transition from a command to a market-driven economy, and keep skills needed for the development of advanced combat systems. 

Territorial disputes 

Modern submarines with nuclear propulsion can reach almost any given oceanic point. When launching atomic submarines into mass production in the 1950s, the Soviet Union wanted its underwater cruisers to always follow USN carrier groups and destroy them in case of war. 

Today’s plans are different. Moscow wants its underwater atomic warships to serve in protection of Russia’s vast possessions in the North and the East against would-be aggressors. These possessions contain huge natural resources, which, as the Kremlin strategists think, may one day be challenged by economically strong, but resource-limited neighbors. In their view, the Chinese and Japanese forces must be countered for that reason. 

Kremlin had to make steps towards Beijing and ease the long-standing territorial dispute over lines of the Sino-Russian land border. The two countries signed agreements under which the Russian border guards withdrew from some of the disputed lands, leaving them with their Chinese counterparts. This allowed both parties to claim that the issue has been finally removed from the agenda. However, not everyone is happy about the deal, and so some sort of tension remains. 

The situation is similar with Japan, which does have strong claims to the Kuril island chain and the island of Sakhalin. In the course of World War II and shortly after the Japanese unconditional surrender to the Allies in 1945, the Red Army took Sakhalin and the Kuril chain in a rapid and overwhelming military operation. The dispute between Russia and Japan regarding sovereignty over the South Kuril islands came on the agenda in the 1950s, when Tokyo tried to revise peace agreements signed under extreme pressure. The disputed area goes from the Kamchatka peninsula all the way down south to Kunashir near Hokkaido. The islands in question are washed by the Sea of Okhotsk on the west and North Pacific Ocean on the east. 

Among other considerations, a good reason for keeping the Kurils is that this island chain effectively blocks entry to the Sea of Okhotsk for USN anti-submarine warfare (ASW) forces, and thus provides relative safety for Russian underwater missile cruisers on deterrent patrols in this large area. In Gorbachev’s time the Kremlin hinted it could give up claims to the islands of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai in return for Japan’s promises on the non-military status of those. This did not help the situation and since then everything remained as it was. 

In February 2010 Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev ordered substantial improvements to Kuril defenses, including refurbishing of two airfields and the deployment of S-400 long-range SAM systems. The move was made after Japan had protested against visits to the islands of high ranking Russian leaders including Medvedev himself and Minister for Defense Anatoly Serdyukov, calling them “provocative”. Meantime, during these visits the [Russian and native] population of the islands strongly rejected the idea of Japanese sovereignty and asked the Kremlin for protection. 

According to the Moscow-based Kommersant newspaper, the Russian army units on the disputed [South Kuril] islands include the 18th Machine-gun/Artillery Division made up of two regiments. The 46th Regiment is stationed on Kunashir, and the 49th Regiment on Iturup. In addition, there is an independent tank regiment on Kunashir (during 2010 its 92 outdated T-55 main battle tanks were replaced by a non-specified number of more modern T-80s) and an independent motorized infantry battalion on Iturup. The newspaper gives the following [incomplete] list of weapons in the possession of the above-mentioned units: 18 BM-21 Grad multiply rocket launchers, 36 Giatsint-B towed cannons and 18 D-30 towed howitzers, 12 Buk and 12 Strela-10 SAM launchers, 12 ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled and 8 ZSU-23-2 towed anti-aircraft gun systems. The 39th motorized infantry brigade on Sakhalin Island supplements these forces. Interestingly, the newspaper does not mention the 451 Missile Brigade. Reportedly, the brigade was formed in the early 1990s to unite under a single command separate units stationed on Sakhalin and Kuril islands, including four missile regimens which at that time were armed with the Rubezh (P-15M) and Redut (3M44 Progress) anti-ship missile systems. Last year the Russian defense ministry spoke of plans to further strengthen Kuril defenses with the Bastion system (3M55). 

The Arctic Shelf is one more part of the Earth whose sovereignty is currently being discussed. The Kremlin wants to have a greater part of it, while the US, Canada, Norway and other NATO members have different views. 

Today, Russia is world’s largest possessor of natural resources, whose value is estimated at US$ 140 trillion, roughly ten times US GDP and some 200 times greater than its own. Russian share in the world’s known oil reserves is 23%, natural gas 33%, coal 50% and timber 23%. The annual income from oil exports alone is estimated at US$ 300 billion. Through exploration of the vast territories, the Kremlin wants to keep its world leadership in the development and exploitation of natural resources. A capable navy is essential to provide protection of these territories from would-be aggressors. 

Nuclear shipbuilding: current state 

According to official statistics, in 1955-1993 the Soviet Union [and then Russia] constructed 234 nuclear powered submarines falling into three generations. These included 123 n-subs made in Severodvinsk, 56 in Komsomolsk, 39 in St. Petersburg and 25 in Nizhny Novgorod. Russia now continues at a much slower rate. The lead vessel of the Project 955 class, the Yuri Dolgorukiy, became the 1001-th [armed] submarine constructed in Russia since October 1917. 

After collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's nuclear shipbuilding industry has been transformed into something much smaller. Key enterprises on the Black Sea coast appeared to be on the territory of now-independent Ukraine - which proclaimed non-nuclear status. Admittedly, these enterprises had little to do with nuclear propulsion technology, except for some ambitions in the late 1980s when the Soviet navy planned the construction of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. 

Nuclear activities in the city of St. Petersburg have been diminishing for a number of reasons. Under current international agreements, the Baltic Sea has a non-nuclear status. The Russian navy does not deploy atomic warheads on warships and does not place orders for the construction of nuclear-powered vessels in the area. 

The Admiralty Shipyards completed their last Project 671RTMK fast attack submarine, the K-448 Tambov, in 1992. Since then the enterprise has been completely focused on diesel-electric submarines. The last nuclear powered surface combatant built in St. Petersburg was the Peter the Great of Project 1144.2. The 23,800-tonne cruiser, forth and the last in the Atlant series (after Ushakov, Lazarev and Nakhimov) was commissioned in 1998, and serves with the Northern Fleet. 

Saint Petersburg shipbuilders continue working on civil projects. They have completed one floating nuclear electric power generation station known as Project 20870 with displacement of 21,500 tons. Six more such stations and five nuclear-powered ice-breakers are on order. However, this business is under heavy criticism as not suitable and potentially very dangerous for a city with a population of five a million. 

The Red Sormovo yard in Nizhny Novgorod built a number of unique submarines, including the titanium-hulled Project 945, which are still in service. Under the Kremlin’s orders, this enterprise was restructured in the 1990s and no longer works for the military. 

The Amur Shipbuilding Plant (ASP) is located in Komsomolsk. The Amur river runs through the city and into Pacific Ocean. ASP has suffered during the transition of Russia’s economy from command to market driven principles. If not for the Indian deal for Project 971 fast attack submarines, this enterprise would have closed down. In 2008 ASP completed the K-152 Nerpa. After sea trials and Indian crew training, the vessel was handed over to the Indian navy on 23 January 2012. But even with the Indian customer in existence, ASP is unlikely to go further than completion of one or two more Project 971 ships. 

This leaves Russia with only one fully-fledged enterprise capable of nuclear shipbuilding in the longer term. This is Sevmash Dockyards (SMP) in Severodvinsk, located near the far northern border with Finland. The company had difficult times in the period 1998-2003 when orders ran low. However the company’s management refused massive laid-offs, instead trying to keep workers in place by serving free dinners during working hours to all staff and distributing food to their families. This helped save a core of the enterprise’s competent staff until the financial situation improved. 

Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin have been frequent visitors to Severodvinsk, helping the city and local businesses ease their financial, technological and social problems. Today, Sevmash directly employs 27,000 people, with average monthly salary slightly above US$ 1,000. The management considers this figure as “sufficient” to keep the employees’ families above the poverty line. With recently won orders for Project 955 and Project 885 submarines, the share of domestic military orders in the company’s portfolio has risen above 70%. 

Visiting Severodvinsk in February, deputy premier of the Russian Government in charge of defense industry Dmitry Rogozin said the local shipbuilders are contracted to build eight fourth-generation nuclear submarines by 2020, and that more orders are coming. He further said the earlier program for scrapping third-generation submarines is being revised so that “these vessels will get newer missiles and be subjected to a series of repair efforts … enabling them to serve for another seven years”. 


Russian defense ministry awarded Sevmash orders for construction of four Project 955A Borey-A strategic underwater cruisers armed with the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles. This order comes after construction of three Project 955 Boreys (Yuri Dolgorukiy, Aleksander Nevsky and Vladimir Monomakh) now undergoing acceptance trials. 

The customer also ordered five Project 885M Yasen-M fast attack submarines, in addition to the head vessel, the K-329 Severodvinsk, now undergoing sea trials. The exact sum of these contracts has not been made public. It is only known that the Alexander Nevsky was built under contract worth Rouble 23 billion, which equates to US$ 0.75 billion. 

Sevmash expects additional orders for the completion of certain third-generation submarine hulls laid in the mid-1990s, as well as for the refit and modernization of earlier commissioned submarines and large surface combatants. Why did the MoD place so many orders with Sevmash and its key industrial partners only recently? Why did the ministry not act in a similar way during a few preceding years? We can suggest an answer to these questions. 

The big orders were preceded by a long process of MoD and industry working out a completely new pricing calculation system. When current defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov took his position in 2007, he called for a new approach to contracts with industry that would prioritize the price-efficient series production of modern weapons. As he put it, that approach had to be worked out and needs to remain in place until 2020. 

The Project 955 served as a guinea pig on which the new price calculation methods were tried. This product had already been mastered by industry, while the MoD wanted to procure more such ships. In September – October the calculations were made and submitted to the defense minister for approval. 

The gist of the new system is to encourage industry to continually reduce manufacturing expenses and improve resource management. Manufacturer profits are made directly dependant on savings it achieves during the series production of modern weapons. This requires more effective resource management, cutting manufacturing costs and making production more economically efficient. 

Aviation threat evaporated 

In February the Russian air force spokesman said the service intends to upgrade about 30 Tu-22M3 swing-wing supersonic bombers during the next eight years. Reportedly, between 50 and 60 such big jets are airworthy. Today, the Tu-22M3 is the only effective aviation asset available to combat carrier groups and naval task forces formed around modern cruisers and destroyers. 

The aircraft inventory of Russia’s Naval Aviation suffered 78% numerical reduction during the period 1992-1997. It further dwindled until mid-2013, when most of the Naval Aviation’s large airplanes were transferred to the Air Force. Effectively, the navy has lost its aviation anti-carrier component. The move was controversial, and yet there was a good reason behind it. The most powerful and complex aircraft types in service with the Air Force and Naval Aviation became so small in numbers that their separate operations and maintenance lost combat worthiness and economic sense. This particularly applies to the Tupolev bombers and reconnaissance planes. 

Surface warships of little account 

With the Tu-22M3 no longer in its possession, the Russian Navy has to completely rely on its warships when it comes to countering enemy carriers. The Navy does have some surface combatants, but these can do little in the face of the potential enemy’s air superiority and larger ship counts. The most they can do is to assist submariners during joint operations. 

The 2005 shipbuilding program calls for construction of 30 corvettes, 20 frigates and six destroyers. By displacement, ability to operate in rough seas and duration of autonomous operations these ships are no match for in-service cruisers. 

The Russian MoD has scheduled the Admiral Nakhimov for refit and modernization in 2014. Her builder Severnoye PKB was asked to prepare an appropriate documentation package. The third Project 1144 nuclear-powered cruiser was commissioned in 1988. She stands in Severodvinsk harbor awaiting repairs. The destiny of her sister ship completed in 1984, the Admiral Lazarev, will be decided later, while the earlier Admiral Ushakov was decommissioned long ago and is due for scrapping. 

The MoD is seeking a cost effective way for the Project 1144 upgrade. This involves keeping their machinery and replacing older missiles by more modern ones. The P-700 Granit anti-ship system employing the 3M45 cruise missiles is no longer in production and considered outdated. 

The KR-93 turbojet engine accelerates the 7-tonne, 10-meter-long missile with a 750kg warhead (cumulative, vacuum or nuclear charge) up to Mach 2.5. For effective employment at maximum advertized ranges of 500-600km, the Granit’s missiles need target designation either from aircraft or spacecraft. The Russian Navy no longer operates the dedicated designator airplane Tu-95RTs (all of 53 such aircraft have been grounded). The Legend-M satellite constellation was in full strength in 1983, but has degraded since then. In theory, vulnerable Kamov deck helicopters can provide targeting at longer ranges than the ship’s own radar. This particularly applies to the most recent Ka-31 with its long-range Oko radar. 

The Russian Navy operates three Project 1166 cruisers with gas-turbine propulsion - the Moscow, Varyag and Ustinov. These are armed with the Bazalt or Vulcan anti-ship systems in service since 1975 and 1982 respectively. Their 3M70 missile with maximum firing range of 700km shares Granit’s targeting problems. 
Cruise-missile submarines 

Along with upgraded cruisers, the nuclear-powered submarines will remain the most powerful assets in the Russian inventory. Today, the navy operates dedicated carrier-killers of the third generation in the form of the Project 949A submarines armed with the P-700 Granit systems. It also operates nearly twenty third-generation fast attack submarines of the Project 971, Project 945 and Project 671RTMK able to fire Tomahawk-alike missiles from torpedo tubes. 

The navy expects the commissioning of the K-329 Severodvinsk. This lead vessel of the Project 885 is considered to be of the fourth generation. The K-329 is outfitted with eight vertical SM-346 silos (10m-long, diameter 2m) each capable of housing either four Onix or five Caliber missile containers. 

The P-800 Onix (the export version is called Yakhont) employs 3M55 ramjet-powered missiles. These weapons are nearly 9 meters long and weigh 3 tons without booster [air launched version, also known as the Alfa] or 4 tons with it. The missile accelerates to 750m/sec and has a firing range of 150-300km depending on altitude profile. It has a radar homing head able to detect a cruiser at a distance of 75km. The Onix provided the platform for the development of Indo-Russian BrahMos PJ-10. 

The Caliber is non-exportable version of the Club-N/S that already equips the Indian navy Project 1135.6 Talwar-class frigates and Project 877EKM submarines. Both are able to employ three baseline missile types: the 91R antisubmarine (carries a torpedo, either APR-3M or MPT-1UM), 3M54 anti-ship and 3M14 land-strike. In addition, the non-exportable system can also fire longer-range RK-55 Granat missiles (Russia’s Tomahawk) and their derivatives, the Biruza. Compared to the exportable 3M14, the non-exportable Granat has much longer firing ranges. 

The Granat became operational in 1984 with 3M10 missiles fired from torpedo tubes of fast attack submarines. The 1.7-tonne turbojet weapon had a range of 3,000km. The 3M54 differs in having a third stage (in addition to booster and cruise turbojet) running on solid-fuel and accelerating to 1,000 m/sec. This version can be fired from either surface ship or submarine if her torpedo tubes can house this 8.2m-long weapon. Without the third stage, the 3M54 weighs 1.8 tons instead of 2.3 and has length of 6.2 meters. 

The K-329 went to sea for trails on two occasions in 2011, and successfully performed tests using dummy Caliber missiles. The submarine shall continue testing Caliber and Onix systems. To complete customer acceptance trials, the K-329 is required to spend a total of 180 days at sea. The next in the series, the Kazan, is being built to the improved design [Project 885M] and is due for completion later in the year. 

The design documentation for the refit and modernization of the Project 949A has been prepared. It calls for replacement of the Granit by the Onix and Caliber. No changes to the submarine’s original load bearing structures are required. Three Onix or four Caliber missile containers can be squeezed into one Granit launch site – the latter will be reworked accordingly. The submarine will receive an improved combat system able to employ the newer missiles. 

With a standard displacement of 15,000t, the Project 949A is one of the most complex and difficult-to-maintain n-subs in the world. So far, extensive repairs were successfully conducted only in Severodvinsk, while such attempts in the Far East proved ineffective. 

According to open sources, the Northern fleet operates the K-119 Voronezh and the K-266 Orel. The Voronezh completed a major overhaul, which made numerous but unspecified improvements to missilery and onboard equipment. This enabled the Northern Fleet to send the K-410 Smolensk for repairs. The K-525 and K-206 have been scrapped. The K-148 Krasnodar and K-173 Krasnoyask have been decommissioned and await their turn for disassembly. 

The Pacific Fleet keeps the K-456 Tver, K-186 Omsk and K-150 Tomsk on duty, while the K-132 Irkutsk has been undergoing overhaul since 2005. The status of the K-442 Chelaybinsk is unclear. The K-139 Belgorod is at a high degree of completion (over 70%) at Sevmash, but the customer has continued to change its views about whether to complete her. In February the Russian Navy commander Admiral Vysotsky said the Belgorod will be commissioned as a submarine for special operations. 

If the Kremlin stays with its current naval development plans, the Russian navy will have a potent force of dedicated nuclear powered “carrier-killers” by the year 2020. In the foreseeable future this kind of weapon systems will continue to be the most important element of Russian deterrence in relation to economically and militarily growing Asian neighbors with limited natural resources but reviving empire ambitions

Top 10 Submarines

10 : Los Angeles Class – USA

Units built - 62
Active - 44
Speed 20 knots – Surfaced33+ knots – Submerged
Endurance - 30 days
Range Refueling after 30 years
Weapons carried 4 bow tubes10Mk48 ADCAP torpedo reloadsTomahawk land attack missile block 3 SLCM
Harpoon anti–surface ship missile
Mine laying Mk67
Mobile Mk60 captor mines

The Los Angeles class submarines form the backbone of the US Navy’s nuclear powered attack and their primary mission is to hunt down enemy submarines and gather intelligence. This class was preceded by Sturgeon class and followed by Seawolf and Virginia class. The final 23 boats of this class are quieter than their predecessors and incorporate more advanced combat systems.

No 9. Rubis Class – France

Units built - 6
Active - 6
Speed 25+ knots
Range Refueling after 20 years
Weapons carried 4 Anti-submarine  tubesF17 mod2 torpedoes14 Exocet SM39OR
Mines in place of torpedoes

Named after gemstones, the first Rubis Class submarine was launched in 1979. It is a class of first-generation of nuclear attack submarines of the French Navy. The Rubis class has dealt with 10 casualties as a result of a few accidents in 1993 and 1994.

No 8. Victor III Class – Soviet Union

Units built - 48
Active - 4
Speed - 32 knots
Endurance - 80 days
Range Refueling after 30 years
Weapons carried 2 x SS-N-15 ‘Starfish’ anti-submarine missiles, plus 2 x SS-N-21 ‘Sampson’ cruise missiles or 2 x SS-N-16 ‘Stalion’ missiles2 x 650-mm and 6 x 533-mm bow tubes (two 533-mm tubes with 406-mm liners). 6 x 650-mm torpedoes an up to 18 x 533-mm 
36 ground mines in place of torpedoes

These vessels were designed to protect the Soviet surface fleets and attack American submarines. This class was featured in the James bond movie The World is not Enough.

No 7. Sierra Class – Soviet Union

Units built - 4
Active - 2
Speed 10 knots – Surfaced32+ knots – Submerged
Endurance 200+ days
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried SS-N-15 Starfish or SS-N-16 Stallion anti- submarine missiles; SS-N-21 Samson cruise missiles4 x 650-mm and 4 x 533-mm torpedo tubes
42 mines in place of torpedoes

These submarines can dive into greater depths than many other submarines due to its strong titanium pressure hull, which also provides more resistance to torpedo attacks.

No 6. Trafalgar Class – UK

Units built - 7
Active - 6
Speed - 30 knots
Endurance - 90 days
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried 5 x 21 inch torpedo tubesTomahawk land-attack cruise missilesSpearfish wire-guided heavyweight torpedoes.
Harpoon anti surface missiles.

Until the arrival of the Astute class, these were the most advanced nuclear fleet submarines of the Royal Navy. These submarines are fitted with Sonar 2076, claimed to be the most advanced in the world.

No 5. Type 093 Shang Class – China

Units built 6-8 planned
Active - 2-3
Speed - 35 knots
Endurance - 80 days
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried YJ-82 anti-ship missiles6 x 533-mm torpedo tubes

Deployed by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy, these submarines are some of the best in the business. These submarines are expected to replace Type 091 class very soon.

No 4. Astute Class – UK

Units built - 7 planned
Active - 1
Speed - 29 knots
Endurance - 90 days
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried Tomahawk cruise missiles; Harpoon anti-ship missiles in place of torpedoes6 x 533-mm bow tubes for 36 Spearfish torpedoes
Mines in place of torpedoes

The Astute class is the largest and most powerful nuclear attack submarines of the Royal Navy. It can carry a whopping 38 torpedoes at once and is home to a state-of-the-art pressurized water reactor. The class has been described as being even more complex than a space shuttle.

No 3. Seawolf Class – USA

Units built - 3
Active - 3
Speed 18 knots – Surfaced35 knots – Submerged
Endurance - Unknown
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried 8 x 660-mm torpedo tubes for 50 torpedoes or cruise missiles
Up to 100 mines in place of torpedoes or missiles

The Seawolf is a better and faster intended replacement for the Los Angeles class. Some budget constraints led to the cancelling of the full fledged production of the Seawolf class and only 3 could be completed.

No 2. Akula II Class – Soviet Union

Units built - 15
Active - 9
Speed 12 knots – Surfaced33 knots – Submerged
Endurance -100 days
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried 4 x 650 mm and 4 x 533-mm torpedo tubes for up to 40 torpedoes or missiles
Up to 42 mines in place of torpedoes

First built in 1991, the Akula II is the improved version of Akula. The Akula II, was in one way, better than Akula in noise reduction systems and this was a great concern for the West, as they considered acoustics the most significant advantage in US submarine technology.

No 1. Virginia Class – USA

Units built -7
Active - 7
Speed 25+ knots
Endurance Effectively unlimited
Range Effectively unlimited
Weapons carried 12 x vertical launch system tubes for UGM-109 Tomahawk missiles4 x 533-mm bow tubes for Mk.48 torpedoes
Smart mines in place of torpedoes

These were designed to replace the ageing Los Angeles class submarines. The Virginia-class incorporates several innovations not previously seen in other submarine classes. Instead of a traditional periscope, the class utilizes a pair of telescoping photonics masts located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains high-resolution cameras, along with light-intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) array.

Can India perform Special Operations inside other Countries ?

The relentless pursuit of Osama Bin Laden ever since 9/11 occurred and his elimination early May by US Special Forces in the spectacular ‘Operation Geronimo’ has been a landmark event in the conduct of counter-terrorism operations. That this dreaded terrorist was found hiding in Abbottabad, a cantonment city of Pakistan that also hosts Pakistan Army’s premier Military Training Academy, did not come as a surprise to India which considers Pakistan as a state that sponsors terrorism.

The clinical precision with which US Navy SEALs carried out this midnight heliborne strike in an area bristling with air defences has rudely dented the credibility of Pakistan’s military, with many in India asking if we have the capability to do the same if circumstances so demand in the future. The short answer is ‘NO’.

Way back in 1976, the Israelis demonstrated their capability when four Israeli Air Force C-130J aircraft with 100 ‘special force’ personnel, took off from Tel Aviv and rescued 256 out of 260 passengers and crew of an Air France flight held hostage at Entebbe by Palestinian hijackers. All seven hijackers and 45 Ugandan troops were killed in the fire-fight that ensued during this operation carried out nearly 5000 km away from Israel.

Both these operations had clear objectives, were meticulously planned, rehearsed and carried out by highly trained military personnel. Many operational aspects of US SEALs action to eliminate Osama Bin Laden remain unexplained and will not be known for many years till more ‘Geronimos’ are conducted to ‘take out’ more terrorists.

India came closest to carrying out ‘special operations’ in 1985 when a group of terrorists beseiged the island of Male, the capital of Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is an archipelago with islands strung out along thousands of kilometers, with the island of Gan being south of the equator. Hulule, the island with the runway, is adjacent to the capital Male and at a distance of 800 Km from Thiruvananthapuram (TVM). On the morning of 03 November 1988, when information about the siege was received, IAF’s heavy lift Il-76 Sqn at Agra was put on alert as was a collocated para unit of the Indian Army. Intelligence was negligible on the number of terrorists, their weapons and the extent of their operation. No maps of Maldives Islands were available and planning had to done on tourist maps and guides.

All three services have got their individual Intelligence departments and after the Kargil fiasco, which was a result of poor or non-existent co-ordination among various agencies…

This resulted in many changes in plans but finally after rejecting other options it was decided that two Il-76 aircraft carrying 400 paracommandos would land at Hulule. The plan was to fly from Agra to TVM and then to Hulule. The Il-76 aircrew had to make do with the available tourist maps of Maldives to carry out a dark night landing at a strange 2300m airfield where armed opposition was likely. It is to the credit of the Il-76 aircrew and technicians that the mission was successfully accomplished. The two Il-76 aircraft took off from Agra at 1800 h on 03 Nov and landed at Hulule at 2150 h covering nearly 3000 km. The paracommandos then got into action and secured the island of Hulule. After commandeering boats, the commandos set course for Male which too was secured. Many terrorists were captured and others who were getting away on a ship along with some hostages, were captured by the Indian Navy. Three more Il-76 aircraft landed at Hulule, the last one at first light on 04 Nov . The mission was successful but revealed many weaknesses in capability to conduct such operations. While piece-meal solutions were found, no holistic review was carried out.

Special Operations are demanding in nature and require the following:

Clear objectives. The team must know exactly what is required of them.
An effective and secure C4ISR (command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance & reconnaissance) support at the operational level.
Meticulous planning and execution.
A force trained, equipped and organised to carry the tasks.
Both the Abbottabad and Entebbe operations score highly when rated against the above requirements. Objectives were crystal clear and both actions were planned and rehearsed with individual tasks, mutual support and fall-back options delineated. C4I support was available.

The US action, taking place 36 years after Entebbe, had the advantage of much improved technological assistance with the President and his staff able to watch the entire exercise in real time. Intelligence had been gathered over many preceding months and it has been stated that there was ‘human intelligence’ (humint) or visual surveillance of the compound housing OBL available to the task force. The US it reported to have about 9000 personnel deployed on the ground in Pakistan in pursuance of its interests. The success of the US and Israeli operations speak for themselves of the planning and execution of task. Both countries had highly trained personnel to carry out the missions.

Each of these bought the UAVs from Israel at different costs. Repair and maintenance facilities too were separately created with large financial implications.

The Maldives operation by India was a project hastily conceptualised and conducted without any hard intelligence available to the personnel involved in it. It was fortunate that the militants also did not plan their actions with any clarity or else the Indian operations could have had disastrous consequences. Another example of sloppy co-ordination was when the NSG action on 26/11 at Mumbai’s Taj Hotel was televised live helping the enemy to take counter-measures and possibly resulting in the death of Indian personnel.

Indian Army has highly trained Para-commandos from the Parachute regiments and MARCOS or marine commandos from the Indian Navy. IAF has the GARUDS trained mainly for assets protection and for specific tasks during conflict situations. The equipment available to these Special Operation Forces (SOF) is often dated compared to the weapons with their likely opponents. External intelligence, vital for any military operation, more so for special operations, has been India’s Achilles heel since Independence. Earlier the Intelligence Bureau (IB) was entrusted with this responsibility, but the 1962 Chinese aggression and the lack of its foreknowledge to India’s decision-makers resulted in the formation of Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW). R&AW was given the task of external intelligence, but strangely, instead of being put under the Ministry of Defence, it was kept directly under the Prime Minister. Co-ordination of external intelligence with military requirements became problematic and the situation has remained unchanged.

All three services have got their individual Intelligence departments and after the Kargil fiasco, which was a result of poor or non-existent co-ordination among various agencies, a Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) was created adding to the confusion. Apart from the lack of co-ordination, turf wars and ego problems result in wasteful expenditure. One example is the purchase of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, first by the IAF, followed by the Army and the Indian Navy. RAW and its technical successor, the National Technology Research Organisation (NTRO-created for strategic monitoring of satellite, terrestrial and internet communications) were not to be left behind and more UAVs were procured. Each of these bought the UAVs from Israel at different costs. Repair and maintenance facilities too were separately created with large financial implications.

The UAVs procured by NTRO at a cost of Rs.450 crores are reportedly lying as junk in some warehouse.

All this was avoidable if a central decision-making body had evaluated the strategic and tactical requirements flowing from national security imperatives, and made collective purchases of UAVs. The need for a CDS becomes apparent in such conditions. There is a strong case for a CDS who will be responsible to the GOI for security and technology environment study, long-term threat analysis and procurement of weapons and equipment based on this analysis. The operational aspects of the armed forces and conduct of wars should remain with the Chiefs of Staff.

The UAVs procured by NTRO at a cost of Rs.450 crores are reportedly lying as junk in some warehouse. The CAG is investigating this issue.

The Abbottabad action resulted from a ‘fusion’ of US military and the CIA at the highest levels. In the Indian context, harmonisation of military power with RAW is unlikely in the near future till a complete reorganisation and restructuring of  intelligence gathering agencies is carried out. Another aspect is the complete absence of ‘humint’ from neighbouring countries. India had a modicum of ‘humint’ emanating from western neighbour but an earlier Prime Minister, taking a very short-term view and disregarding national interests, had ordered the disbandment of this capability. The adverse effects have been acutely felt since then.

Development, acquisition and employment of specialised, non-standard equipment (not available to regular forces) is essential for the SOF to carry out its tasks. Special weapons, communication systems, night-vision equipment are some of these essentials. Most of these items are procured from abroad despite India investing vast resources in DRDO-the organisation tasked to develop equipment and weapons for  military.

Some of these procurements, allegedly through the DRDO, have been sub-standard resulting in failures during operations. There is hardly any accountability for failures and time and cost overruns. A hierarchy-conscious, bureaucratic set-up in the DRDO hinders genuine research by young scientists, who feel frustrated after a short stint with the organisation and drift away to the private sector. 

If IAF Attacks Pakistani ….

If India decides to plan a first lookout attack on pakistani soil it would go forward with nitial strike carried out by MiG-27's, MiG-23's, MiG-21's and Jaguar's on forward Pakistani command posts, airfields, weapon storage facilities (namely nuclear weapons and IRBM) and communication relay stations escorted by Su30MkI , MiG 29's, Mirage 2000. While the Indian Naval Harriers , MiG 29k's , Harriers and attack craft attack the port of Karachi in an attempt to close it to keep reinforcements from sympathetic Islamic countries coming in via sea. Though LCA, Rafale and T-50 is far far away from induction so main responsibilities will be on MKI`s against F-16`s and JF-17 Thunder.

In such a situation the Pakistani Air Force would have a major problem securing their airspace mainly due to the fact that their aircraft lack any real BVR (beyond visual range) capability or look-down shoot-down capability with only their F-16's having a look-down shoot-down capability but limited to only AIM-9 Sidewinders , and JF-17`s.

(Note:- although Pakistan is thought to have up to 500 AIM-7 Sparrows the only F-16's capable of firing them are the F-16 Block 15 ADF used by the USAF). While their Mirage III's , V's , F-7's (MiG-21) and F-6's (MiG-19) have no look-down shoot-down capability and no BVR capability. The only aircraft which is believed to have these capabilities is  FC-1 ( JF-17)  fighter, but PAF have only 50 of them. Though PAF plans to have 250 of them but wont reach that number until 2020. JF-17 is made from russian technology incorporated with western and is in the league of MIG-29 fighters.

Thus at present this means that if Indian attack aircraft come in at low level Pakistani aircraft would have difficulty in detecting IAF aircraft and have no capability of engaging them at long range. While the Indian escort aircraft having a BVR capability with weapons including AA-10 Alamo's , AA-12 Adders and Super 530D AAM's would have the capability to engage PAF aircraft at medium/long range allowing IAF attack aircraft to operate under an umbrella of air cover, thus giving the IAF effective air superiority over much of the battle field. ( There have also been reports that the IAF have treated their front line aircraft such as the Jaguar, MiG-29, MiG-27 and Mirage 2000 with a stealth material said to reduce the RCS of aircraft by up to 70% and increases weight by up to 50kg, Aircraft & Aerospace Asia-Pacific, Feb. 1996 pg.20). Without a BVR capability Pakistan has to rely on a SAM system based primarily on short range SAM's like the Crotale and man portable SAM's like the Stinger and indigenous Anza, here to Pakistan lacks the modern SAM system that most armies now have. While the IAF will sustain losses to SAM's without a medium range, low-medium altitude SAM Pakistan will suffer serious losses to Indian deep strike missions.

Another weakness of the PAF is their apparent lack of dedicated attack aircraft with the Q-5 Fantan being their only dedicated strike aircraft , with the F-6's (MiG-19's) and Mirage III / V having to double as point defence fighters or interceptors. Secondly none of these aircraft have the capability to deliver PGM's only 'dumb' bomb's. The best strike aircraft possessed by the PAF is the F-16 but it is unlikely that Pakistan would use it's only advanced fighter in a strike role. This limits the ability of the PAF to strike deep into India or hit targets with any great precision. This has been recognized by the Pakistani Government which attempted to fill the hole with attempted procurements of both the Su-27 and the Mirage 2000. Both procurement programs were abandoned after the respective companies pulled out after pressure by India as both companies are lobbying for a multi billion dollar training aircraft contract for the IAF and due to spiralling costs. Though PAF is able to secure JF-17 aircraft which is powered by the RD-93 , equipped with an advanced look down - shoot down radar and have a g-limit of + 8g's (possibly 9+ for the PAF). In comparison the IAF recently acquired a PGM capability with the acquisition of the Rafael Litening laser designation pod for it's Jaguar's and Mirage 2000. While it is investigating the possibility of upgrading it's MiG-27 attack aircraft.

The IAF's superiority in aircraft with 300 modern combat aircraft ( 180 SU-30 ,70 MIG-29 ,50 Mirage 2000) to the PAF's 190 (50 JF-17, 65 F-16 and 75 Mirage III ) would result in the IAF gaining almost complete air superiority over much of the battle field while limiting the ability of the PAF to strike deep into India.

It is also probable that Saudi Arabia may loan Pakistan an AWACS aircraft as Russia has previously done with the Tu-126 Moss. It is also probable that if Saudi Arabia were to send Pakistan an AWACS that they would also send along at least one squadron of F-15 interceptors as escort for the AWACS as well as to defend the AWACS in operations. While an AWACS if would be a massive improvement in Pakistan's air defence capability, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia would send more than 1 and without an airborne refuelling system and because of post flight maintenance the AWACS would probably be limited to 1 flight per day (with 12 hours on patrol). It is also possible that the United Arab Emirates would provide help in the form of Mirage 2000's. Another potential vulnerability of the Pakistani air force is its dependence on ground controlled intercept, any attacks on control towers, command and control centres and the use of communications jamming could cause significant problems to airborne units which would find themselves isolated and due to the lack of effective radars unable to engage the enemy. This type of tactic would be particularly effective at night as it would allow Indian fighters to engage Pakistani units at long range at relatively low risk. Though PAF have bought its AWACS from SAAB but they are not the long range as compared to Indian bought FALCON AWACS. 

Another thing which PAF lacks is heavy long cruiser bombers , while India have many soviet era bombers. In present case PAF wont be attacking India so there main task will be to defend and take down as much possible IAF planes. 

The PAF would be expected to lose about 40-50% of it's aircraft while the IAF would be expected to sustain losses of around 20% - 30% consisting of mainly MiG-21's and other ground attack aircraft which would be forced to get into close combat with the PAF aircraft as well as loses due to Pakistani SAM's such as the Crotale and the large number of hand held SAM's. The overall lack of modern aircraft and numbers seriously damage's the capability of the PAF in defending Pakistani airspace despite the high quality of it's pilots.

Future of IAF and PAF around 2020 :

IAF will be able to have PAK T-50 200 fighter planes of 5G Series. 400 SU-30 MKI`s along with 130 Rafale fighter planes. Indian home grown 200 LCA unit will replace MIG`s. India will be flying from 5G , 4++ and 4 G planes by 2020. India will be get AH-64D , and its home grown LCH helos which will form its frontline attack helicopters.

PAF will grow with number of JF-17 thunders to 250 and F-16`s 100. PAF won't able to have any 4++ or 5G fighters. But there could be possibility of having J-20 if PAF have money and there is will in china to sell. Even though PAF is able to buy 5G they won't be able to have big inventory , not more than 30 - 40. PAF won't able to get AH-64D`s but there is possibility of receiving Z-10 from china.

In 2012 - if IAF is 100 % strength then PAF is 70 %.
In 2016 - if IAF has 100 % strength then PAF will be 60 %.
In 2020 - if IAF has 100 % strength then PAF will be 50 %.

But have to take out any nuclear strike question from all above equation.

Rafale Omnirole fighter

The Rafale omnirole fighter reached two major milestones: the first delivery of a production aircraft equipped with the first production RBE2 AESA radar, and the initial successful testing of the new-generation, very long-range, Meteor air-to-air missile.

Pushing forward on new air-to-air capabilities, the Rafale B301, operating from Cazaux DGA Flight Test Center in south-western France, successfully completed, tests of the beyond visual-range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) Meteor.

This advanced, ramjet-powered, missile, made by MBDA, is intended for air defense missions. It will intercept targets at very long range, and it will be a perfect complement to the MICA missile, which is currently used at shorter ranges for air-to-air interception, dogfight and self-defense.

Te first production Rafale F3 (the single-seater C137), equipped with the first production Thales RBE2 Active Electronically-Scanned Array (AESA) radar, was delivered to the French DGA, paving the way for the introduction into operational service of the first European combat aircraft fully exploiting the cutting edge AESA radar technology.

Extended range capabilities offered to the Rafale by the RBE2 AESA radar (among a number of other key operational benefits) allow the full use of the latest generation of long-range air-to-air missiles such as the Meteor.

The Rafale is already an extremely effective new-generation, combat proven (Afghanistan, Libya), omnirole tactical fighter, but development is continuing apace to exploit more and more of the aircraft’s tremendous capabilities, and to seamlessly add new ones. As a result, the Rafale looks set to become even better in the near future.



French operational requirements have been set at 286 Rafales. The Air Force will receive 228 aircraft (in two versions: the single-seater Rafale C and the two-seater Rafale B), while the Navy will operate 58 Rafales M (single-seater).

To date, 180 production aircraft have been ordered for both services. Under current plans, production of the aircraft is to continue through 2025.

111 production aircraft have been delivered to the warfighters (36 Rafales M for the French Navy; 37 Rafales C and 38 Rafales B for the French Air Force).

A decade before the still-to-come Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Rafale is the first aircraft to have been designed, from the outset, to take off and land both from land bases and from aircraft carriers. The Rafale will ultimately replace all the current types of legacy fighter aircraft in the inventory of the French Air Force and the French Navy.

Missions of the Rafale omnirole fighter:

air defence and air superiority;

close air support;

engagement of surface targets (with laser-guided bombs, all-weather stand-off precision weapons, or cruise missiles); SEAD/DEAD capabilities;

anti-ship attack;

nuclear strike;

real time tactical and strategic reconnaissance (ground and naval targets);

in-flight refuelling (“buddy-buddy” tanker capability for the French Navy Rafale M).


The Meteor missile is being developed by MBDA to meet the requirement of six European nations (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom).

Increasing proliferation of state-of-the-art air-to-air threats is a critical challenge for modern air forces, answered by Meteor.

The BVRAAM Meteor and its benefits · A fast and highly manoeuvrable, beyond visual-range, air-to-air weapon.

The largest No-Escape Zone (NEZ) of any air-to-air weapon resulting in a long stand-off range and high kill probability to ensure air superiority and crew survivability.

A guidance that is provided by an active radar seeker benefiting from enhanced technologies drawn from MBDA Aster and MICA missile programs.

The capability of engaging air targets autonomously by day and night, in all weather and in severe electronic warfare environments.

A missile equipped with both a proximity and impact fuse to ensure total target destruction in all circumstances.

Future Weapon System for Indian Armed Forces

P8i Poseidon

Boeing proposed the P-8I, a customized export variant of the P-8A, to the Indian Navy. In 2009, the Ministry of Defence of India signed an agreement with Boeing for the supply of eight P-8I Poseidons at a total cost of US$2.1 billion. These aircraft would replace Indian Navy's aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops. Each aircraft will cost about US$220 million. The deal not only made India the first international customer of the P-8, but also marked Boeing's first military sale to India.

On May 12, 2010 Boeing announced that it received the Data Link II communications technology for the Indian Navy’s P-8I from Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) in April, one month ahead of schedule. BEL delivered the Indian-designed communications system that will enable exchange of tactical data and messages between Indian Navy aircraft, ships and shore establishments. By 2014 , India have already received 3 of these aircraft's.


SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction, surface-to-air missile (LLQRM) system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones and precision-guided munitions. The system provides air defence for fixed assets and for point and area defence for mobile forces in combat areas.

The SPYDER-SR (short range) system has 360° engagement capability and the missiles can be launched from the full-readiness state in less than five seconds post target confirmation. The kill range is specified as being less than 1km to more than 15km. The altitudes range from a minimum of 20m to a maximum of 9,000m. The system is capable of multi-target simultaneous engagement and also single, multiple and ripple firing, by day and night and in all weathers.

Rafael is developing a medium-range version, SPYDER-MR, which has a range over 35km at altitudes from 20m to 16km. SPYDER-MR carries eight missiles while SPYDER-SR has four. SPYDER-MR also has new IAI/Elta MF-STAR surveillance radar.

The main components of the SPYDER system are the truck-mounted command and control unit, the missile firing unit with Python 5 and Derby missiles, a field service vehicle and missile supply vehicle. The system can launch missiles in two modes of operation: lock on before launch (LOBL) and lock on after launch (LOAL).

A typical SPYDER squadron consists of one mobile command and control unit (CCU) and four mobile firing units (MFU). The mobile CCU is equipped with a surveillance radar and two operator stations with a radio datalink between the CCU and the four MFUs.

Hypersonic Brahmos II

Work on the air-launched version of the missile is in the final stages and BrahMos scientists are now waiting for the Su-30MKI aircraft from India to act as a platform for test launch of the missile.

The air-launched version, will be lighter and smaller than the land-based version of the missile so that it can be fitted to the aircraft. One of the two speed boosters in the missile has been removed for the air version of the weapon system as after being launched from an aircraft moving at a speed of more than 1.5 mach, the missile will automatically gain its momentum and maintain its speed of 2.8 mach, the sources said.

After being released from the aircraft, the missile will have a free fall of about 150 metres before getting activated and flying to its target. The range and speed of the missile will remain the same as that of its land and ship-launched versions, they said.

For the integration of the aircraft with the missile, two of IAF Su-30 MKI planes will be used. These aircraft would be the part of the 40 additional Su-30s, for which orders were placed in 2006.

Soon after induction into the IAF, the two aircraft will be sent back to Russia where their airframe will be strengthened to carry the missile in their underbelly, the source said adding, they are expected to be inducted into the operational service of both India and Russia by 2012.

A joint Russian-Indian company has started the development of a cruise missile capable of flying at Mach 5, which will make it 'impossible to intercept'. BrahMos-2 will be the next generation of the highly successful the BrahMos missile already used by Indian military.

The BrahMos missile (the acronym stands for Brahmaputra-Moscow) has been in development since 1998 and had its first successful test launch in 2001. Russia provided the design of its P-800 Oniks missile as the basis of the project while India developed its guidance system. It has a maximum speed of Mach 2.8, making it is the world's fastest cruise missile.

The BrahMos-2 is expected to have twice the speed of the current version, which, the developers say, will make it practically immune to all existing missile defence systems.


F-INSAS is a Ultra Mordern Programme that has been taken up to equip Indian infantry with the future weaponry, communication network and instant access to information on the battlefield.

This program is similar to the future soldier programs of other nations. F-INSAS includes a fully networked all-terrain, all-weather personal-equipment platform, enhanced firepower and mobility for the digitalised battlefield of the future. The weight carried by soldiers will need to be reduced by at least 50%.

The fully integrated Infantry of tomorrow will be equipped with mission-oriented equipment integrated with his buddy soldier team, the sub-unit, as also the overall C4I2 (Command, Control, Communications Computers, Information and Intelligence) system.

Falcon AWACS

The induction of the Phalcon comes as a tremendous force multiplier in the present standoff between India and Pakistan. The only platforms offering such a capability, albeit a limited one, are the spy planes of the R&AW's Aviation Research Centre and the IAF's fleet of Israeli-built Heron and Searcher-II drones.

The aircraft can do this using its Israeli-built AEW mission suite called the Phalcon, mounted on a Russian-built IL-76 transport aircraft. The system is used for tactical surveillance of airborne and surface targets and intelligence gathering to a radius of over 400 km. The solid-state phased array Elta EL/M-2075 radar is mounted on a radome above the fuselage. The electronically steered beam provides a 360 degree coverage around the aircraft and it carries air force personnel on board to analyse the data and steer fighter aircraft.

MMRCA - Rafale

The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) Competition, commonly known as the MRCA Tender, is an ongoing competition to supply the Indian Air Force with 126 Multi-Role Combat Aircraft. The Defence Ministry has allocated Rs. 42,000 crore for the purchase of these aircraft (Approx. US$10.5 billion).

Six aircraft were bid for this multi-billion dollar contract, which has been touted as India's single largest defense deal ever. India choose Rafale as winner and it is believed that it will be signed by 2014 and by 2020  IAF will receive all 86 of these kinds of fighters.

INS Vikramaditya and IAC 1

INS Vikramaditya  is the new name for the former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India.

The Vikramaditya is a modified Type 1143 Kiev class aircraft carrier built in 1978-1982 at Black Sea Shipyard, Mykolaiv, Ukraine. The ship is presently being extensively refitted at Sevmash shipyard in Russia. It is projected to replace India's only currently serving aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.

The Vikrant class aircraft carriers (formerly, the Project 71 "Air Defence Ship" (ADS)) are the first aircraft carriers of the Indian Navy to be designed and built in India. They are being built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).

The Vikrant class carriers will be the largest warships built by CSL. Work on the lead vessel of the class started in 2008, and the keel was laid in February 2009. Eighty percent of works on the carrier will be completed before its launch in 2010. The first carrier of the class was expected to enter service by 2012, but was delayed by a year reportedly due to the inability of Russia to supply the AB/A grade steel. This led to SAIL creating facilities to manufacture the steel in India.

Ballistic Missile Defence

The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered Ballistic Missile Defence.

Introduced in light of the ballistic missile threat from Pakistan, it is a two tiered system consisting of two interceptor missiles, namely the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) missile for high altitude interception, and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) Missile for lower altitude interception. The two-tiered shield should be able to intercept any incoming missile launched 5,000 kilometers away.

PAD was tested in November 2006, followed by AAD in December 2007. With the test of the PAD missile, India became the fourth country to have successfully developed an Anti-ballistic missile system, after United States, Russia and Israel. 2014 India again successfully tested its missile defense shield, during which an incoming "enemy" missile was intercepted at an altitude of 75 km.

INS Arihant

INS Arihant (S-73) is the lead ship of India's Arihant class of nuclear-powered submarines. The 5,000–6,000 tonne vessel was built under the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project at the Ship Building Centre in Visakhapatnam.

The symbolic launch ceremony for the Arihant was held on July 26, 2009 marked the anniversary of Vijay Diwas (Kargil War Victory Day). It was reported that the nuclear reactor and other systems were not included at the time of the submarine's launch.

Full integration of key systems and Sea trials are expected to be extensive. The name of the vessel, Arihant is in Sanskrit and literally translates into destroyer of enemies.

The completion of the INS Arihant will make India one of six countries in the world with the ability to design, build, and operate its own nuclear submarines (the others being the United States, the UK, Russia, France, and China).


The Sukhoi PAK FA is a fifth generation fighter aircraft being developed by Sukhoi OKB for the Russian Air Force.

The current prototype is Sukhoi's T-50. The PAK FA when fully developed is intended to replace the MiG-29 Fulcrum and Su-27 Flanker in the Russian inventory and serve as the basis of the Sukhoi/HAL FGFA project being developed with India. A fifth generation jet fighter, it is designed to directly compete with Lockheed Martin's F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II. The T-50 performed its first flight January 29, 2010. Its second flight was on February 6 and its third on February 12.

Sukhoi director Mikhail Pogosyan has projected a market for 1000 aircraft over the next four decades, which will be produced in a joint venture with India, two hundred each for Russia and India and six hundred for other countries. The Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) is a fifth-generation fighter being developed by Russia and India. It is a derivative project from the PAK FA (T-50 is the prototype) being developed for the Indian Air Force (FGFA is the official designation for the Indian version).

The Russian aircraft will be a single-seater, the Indian FGFA will be a twin seater, analogous to the Su-30MKI which is a twin seat variant of the baseline Su-30. Two separate prototypes will be developed, one by Russia (designated the T-50), and a separate one by India (designated FGFA).