DARIN – AESA coupling, and Brahmos ALCM

Image result for pics of the brahmos missile

Informed that the entirely indigenous DARIN-III navattack system is now integrated with an AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar with the Israeli 2052 computer, on a Jaguar. This is great news. The slight uncertainty about the AESA radar is whether this is a product of the DRDO-Israeli collaboration, or purely Israeli equipment. The Indo-Israeli AESAR item was built around the 2032 computer, because our good friend, the US, wouldn’t clear the 2052 for Indian use. In any case, 2052 is more powerful, can track more targets and make for better target definition. Hope the 2052 is driving the indigenous effort and the Indian competence built up in this project in terms of learning the placement of TR (transmitter-receiver) nodes for optimal performance, etc hasn’t ben wasted.

Incidentally, the DARIN system was conceived and put together by the technical/engineering officers of the Indian Air Force. But neither IAF, and even less the MOD, had the wit, when drafting the original contract for the Jaguar DPSA to ensure that any improvements in the original French nav-attack system would be Indian IPR. So the French company has used the Indian reconfiguration without any payment but, mercifully, did not charge the IAF for IAF’s own tech innovation! But then not retaining IPR on technologies suggests IAF and MOD are simply not sensitized to the IPR imperatives. To drive home the point, I’d bring up two other instances of India/IAF/ MOD not benefiting monetarily from IPR from IAF derived technical solutions to difficult problems, both relating to the Jaguars. (1) The Jaguars in Indian employ were detected early on as suffering from the problem of a fuel cutoff in flight. This was rectified by IAF engineers, but this rectification was not patented and brought within IPR ambit. So when the RAF, the supplier company British Aerospace’s host air force, also complained about the same cutoff problem the BAE was unable to solve, the IAF just handed over the solution to the British without any financial recompense! (2) The innovation of the 2 above-wing tip weapon stations is also an IAF technical innovation, which the RAF also adopted.

The larger more emphatic point to make is that the IAF has enormous engineering/technical talent that it has so far used sparingly, and then only in improving its imported aircraft. It is time the IAF marshaled its talented manpower to propel the home-designed and developed Tejas Mk 1A, Mk-2,and AMCA off the ground and flying as service’c commitment to finally and decisively go desi. That, perhaps, will be the finest, most significant thing the IAF could do to raise its own stature and that of the country.


Errata: Informed that the correction of the faulty design was due to the solution provided by an HAL expert for a Jag in flight who, working in tandem with the pilot, safely landed the plane, albeit with the nose wheel not fully extended and locked in place. The more permanent remedy too was owed to HAL experts rectifying the design mistake which, as the following youtube video on this subject  indicates BAE would not own up to but incorporated in the British Jags, of course w/o any Indian IPR recognition.


The weapon with the forwardly deployed Indian forces on LAC the PLA is most apprehensive about is the Indo-Russian Brahmos cruise missile, especially the Block-II & Block-III variants capable of near 90-degree dives to targets with the two artillery regiments armed with the Brahmos now on the eastern front. It is an uninterdictable missile homing in at supersonic speeds. If tasked to take out forward and rear area communications and logistics hubs, it can make a mess of the PLA’s best laid offensive plans, including anything they may have in mind to do on the Doklam plateau.

One so wishes the Modi PMO had shown the foresight and the initiative to start  2 or 3 additional production lines — all in the private sector, with only L&T presently having the capability to get the entire production off  and running very fast, and to ramp up for exports — because this the one thing every friendly state on China’s periphery is asking for. Leaving it to the Brahmos Aerospace is to, well, consign the Brahmos option to the leisurely, laggardly production pace of a DPSU, and when has that really worked?

Incidentally, the combination of the Brahmos Mk II & Mk IIIs and the air-launched variant fired from the Su-30 would be a one-two punch any prospective PLA onslaught will reel back from. Except the Brahmos ALCM project is limping on — no urgency evident  here! It has so far completed two separation tests (the process of the fired missile separating very fast from the Su-30 carrier).



About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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14 Responses to DARIN – AESA coupling, and Brahmos ALCM

  1. Shaurya says:

    Brahmos is great asset no doubt but a few things. It is an expensive asset, who’s cost:benefit ratio is best employed in its original role to destroy big ships. It takes a lot of TNT power to disable major bases. The recent Syrian attack is an example. Employing Prithvis/Prahaars SRBM’s in a conventional role that can carry 2-5 times more powerful conventional warheads may be a better option. These cannot match the CEP of Brahmos but at short ranges our CEP is in single digits.

    The other assets of use would be Smerch/Pinaka II and of course artillery. In the high mountains even artillery shells can go unto 60+ KM. The SAAW would be integrated on the Jaguar. Can a spin off of SAAW be use to build an indigenous Excalibur? DRDO listening?

    • aryaavart says:

      Missiles themselves are expensive for mass barrage as they’re just really large MLRS or tube artillery at that point. We can’t fill void of no real heavy tube artillery above 105mm beside Bofors with missiles.

      105mm is technically light mortar artillery for under 18 really under 10km.

  2. Shaurya says:

    BTW: What is the story of no ship builder coming forward to build our SSN?

    • However Sir, i don’t know about this story,but even if that is the case, we can built our own Arihant & Aridhaman class SSBNs, we in the 21st century need a N-powered submarine, which doesn’t have to come up for refuelling ,don’t you think ?

      • Shaurya says:

        Too many issues. Do not have the designs, do not have the needed reactor to power a high speed SSN. Needs to go 30+ knots. Arihant is at about 20 at top speeds. At least I do not take BARC at their word that they can build it. Read Capt Sub Rao’s saga to know the whole story from 1978 or so. Need an Akula II level reactor – we do not have it. Maybe the Russians will help again for the Americans will not!

      • Shaurya says:

        Bharat has the full inside story, that he can reveal when he deems fit.

      • Agreed partially ,but that is what a baby-step which needs to be taken towards our own innovation & manufacturing industry. So i don’t think that its a thing which needs to be put on back-burner,afterall, as Mr. Karnad also said ,”L&T are making N-Powered Submarines, why the same indian companies cannot come in more diversified projects like the AMCA & TEJAS MK II ?? “.

  3. Venkat says:

    As a nation we are very poor at the concept of IPR. Not just Jaguar, it is the same with Su-30 MKI.
    Our hi-tech manufacturing base is so poor that scaling up is a big issue.
    The private sector needs to invest with MoD ensuring consistent volumes. Maybe players like TATA, leyland , Mahindras, TVS need to get into aerospace components. Today it is just L&T, Walchandnagar and Godrej . A couple of years back MRF developed hi tech rubber components for Arjun, it never was translated into orders.
    We also need to have backward integration so that our big mobile/TV market translates into a big local chip, battery and LED manufacturing industry, beyond assembly . This will give defence an advantage to ramp up production quickly at the same helping it to be abreast of latest technology.

  4. Respected sir, when will BRAHMOS transitioning into a HYPERSONIC missile will be done & by when it will be complete ? Also, i would like to ask you about the indigenous chinese BMD system.

  5. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    When we mention IPR then at perhaps we need to be a little more discerning as what exactly IPR means. Legally speaking even a general arrangement of things, technologies and words are capable of being recognized as IPR. But this relaxed need was incorporated in the law not because that is what IPR, but because these were ideas/methodologies/procedures that were ancillary to the main intellectual property. In the main the legally protection is the crux of an IPR but legal protection itself will not change things for a country or organization, so why slog over a pretended knowledge. Reaching the solution first is the prime consideration before you can even claim to be entitled to some sort of legal protection. Second consideration is that you are still working on improving the IPR. On both counts IAF is never and ever anywhere. So why bother. The Jaguar contract was poorly drafted is the only conclusion and a mere arrangement of few air staff requirements is neither novel nor visionary nor worthy of lamentation. If reinventing a wheel after some decades constitutes IPR then that is a real low goal from which the IAF and surely never fail. Congratulations. In any case the prime consideration of having a future is simply beyond the capacity. Good that Jaguar was given overwing AAM pylons and the brits copied the IAF. But then the English Electric Lightening 2 from the 5th or 6th example or so was already carrying over wing pylons for external fuel tanks. And no the brits did not consider it any smart either otherwise they would have rested on their laurels too having achieved the original and useful. Regards the monetary payments well the brits were indeed giving some or the other aid since those days to one or the other arm of Indian govt. So there.

    Except the operational high altitude flying there is hardly anything IAF has accomplished in terms of pushing the envelop. There must have been some changes made to the stock engines to do that and perhaps that would be a better qualifier to the ancillary parts of the IPR claims.

    But at least let the aim be at a level that it feels bad to fail and feels good to succeed. Otherwise a salary is all that one will have to live with. That fate may be good enough for a large part of the officer class but surely India deserves better. What has the country done to deserve such a low goal.

  6. vonMoltke says:

    Meanwhile, hopefully good news on the Tejas front – though will have to wait till year end to see.


    Article has interesting details on the outsourcing. Not quite the privatisation mechanisms Prof. Karnad has been advocating on numerous fora, but its a start.

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