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  • The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: A Global Snapshot

    The United States dominates global defence markets, but the nature of this dominance is shifting. Strategic and budgetary considerations—the latter being constantly restructured by the rising relative cost of defence labour—drive US defence production towards international collaboration. In this essay, I examine the politics of a high-calibre international collaborative programme that has made headlines in recent years: the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). What motivated the US government to take on partners, and what influence, if any, have the partners had on the programme so far?

    September 2013

    Defence Technology Indigenisation: Need to go beyond Lip Service

    Though public-private partnerships is encouraged, privately the government continues to retain its monopoly on research and development and defence production through the DRDO, the ordnance factories and the defence PSUs.

    September 19, 2013

    India's Nuclear Triad: A Net Assessment

    India's Nuclear Triad: A Net Assessment

    This paper discusses such delivery mechanisms commonly known together as nuclear triad in the Indian context. The paper has four major parts. The first part attempts to set the context for the overall discussion. The second, third and fourth parts deals with the evaluation about missile forces, aerial platforms and submarine based platforms for nuclear weapon delivery on the targets.

    India abstains and exposes the Arms Trade Treaty

    By abstaining from voting on the global arms trade treaty, India has exposed the treaty’s loopholes in not addressing concerns about illegal transfer of arms to terrorist organisations, insurgents groups and other non-state actors.

    April 08, 2013

    SC Vaid asked: The process of arms procurement is winding and complex. By the time a proposal is finalised, new weapons emerge. How can the process be improved?

    Mahendra Prasad replies: In order to hasten up the procurement process, several long and short-term organisational and procedural re-engineering would be required. Few suggestions have been listed below:

    Short-term measures

    • Defence procurement being a highly specialised job, pre-induction training of service officers and bureaucrats before entrusting them the responsibility of procurement is a must. Presently, most of them learn the nuances of procurement on the job.
    • Every procurement should be treated as a separate project with a dedicated team headed by a project manager. Presently, a lot of overlap of responsibility among various functionaries exists, and in many cases, delays occur as few functionaries in the chain fail to deliver their part of the job in time.
    • Strict adherence to the laid down time lines. In case of delay, a delay report must be prepared. The report must identify the reasons and sources of delay in unambiguous terms.
    • Give longer tenures to service officers (minimum five years) involved in the procurement process.

    Long-term measures

    • Establishment of Defence Acquisition College.
    • Continuous tracking of latest technological trends.
    • Vendor development instead of just stopping at vendor registration.
    • A liberal defence production policy.

    Rafale MMRCA Deal: Last Minute Glitches?

    The Rafale deal is especially important as it is IAF’s best bet to stem and even reverse the recent and continuous fall in the combat aircraft squadrons fielded.

    August 30, 2012

    Stealth and Counter-stealth Some Emerging Thoughts and Continuing Debates

    If there is one dimension in the air attack–air defence continuum that is riding high on the wings of enabling edge technologies, it is the use of stealth, both in the offensive and defensive domains.

    July 2012

    Israel’s Dolphin-Class Submarines: A Potent Deterrent?

    The primary role of Israel’s current fleet of ‘Dolphins’ is likely to be limited to serve as instruments of ‘signalling’ strategic intent to potential enemies rather than as effective pre-emptive strike or competent second-strike platforms.

    June 15, 2012

    Addressing Indian Dilemmas on the Arms Trade Treaty

    Among other intertwining issues, what continues to disturb the Indian establishment is the non-inclusion of non-state actors as likely recipients of illicit arms which, in the Indian experience, is crucial and on which the Chairman’s paper remains silent.

    May 15, 2012

    Precision Weapons in Aerial Warfare

    Precision in aerial warfare, which initially lay in the individual skills of combatants, has shifted to machines through the incorporation of advanced technology.

    May 08, 2012

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