French Defence Minister to hold Rafale talks on Monday

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With final negotiations over the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal for purchase of 126 Rafale fighter aircraft remaining inconclusive, the issue will figure prominently when French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian holds talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar on Monday.

“The MMRCA deal will be part of the discussions,” said Defence Ministry officials as France is eager to conclude the deal by early next year.

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MiG-31 fighter force to get $630 million upgrade

Russia’s Defence Ministry has signed a 30 billion rouble ($630 million) contract with a major state-owned aircraft manufacturer to modernize over 50 of its high-speed MiG-31 interceptor jets, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.
The move comes amid a 20 trillion rouble ($500 billion) ongoing state rearmament program and rising tensions over Ukraine that have seen Russian jets repeatedly test the boundaries of NATO airspace in recent months.

“The armed forces will receive over 50 modernized MiG-31s by the end of 2018,” RIA quoted Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov as saying Thursday. The modernization will be carried out by Russia’s largest aircraft manufacturer, United Aircraft Corporation.

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IAF’s Rs 80 crore worth UAV crashes

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A Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) of the Indian Air Force, used for surveillance, crashed on Wednesday on the outskirts of a village near Bhuj town in Gujarat’s Kutch district.

“IAF’s Heron UAV which was used for surveillance in the area, crashed near Mankunva village, about 40km from Bhuj town in Kutch,” defence PRO at Ahmedabad, Wing Commander Abhishek Matiman said. The cost of the Heron UAV is approximately Rs 80 crores, the official said.

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DRDO to abandon indigenous fighter jet engine Kaveri project

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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has decided to wind up the Kaveri engine (GTX­35VS ) programme, signaling an end to a desi dream of equipping its own fighter jet with a home­grown power plant.

Sources in the Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed to OneIndia on Tuesday that the DRDO has already moved a file recently seeking the closure of the ambitious engine development project undertaken by Bengaluru­based Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE)

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Pakistan hankers after China’s J-31 stealth fighter

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China’s J-31 fifth-generation stealth fighter jet, which will be fitted with a made-in-China engine, is being highly sought after by Pakistan, reports the state-run China News Service.

The J-31, also known as “Gyrfalcon” or Falcon Hawk by some military enthusiasts, is a twin-engine, mid-size fighter currently under development by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation. The jet revealed some new additions last week at the 10th Zhuhai Airshow in southern China’s Guangdong province, displaying a metallic film designed to improve stealth and prevent radar waves from penetrating the inside of the cockpit.

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Russian engine caused crash of J-10B fighter, says Duowei

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The crash of a J-10B fighter equipped with a Russian-built AL-31FN engine in Chengdu in Sichuan province on Nov. 15 suggests that it is necessary for China to speed up the development of its own engines, according to Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese.

China is currently unable to design and produce an adequate engine for its advanced fighters. To solve this problem, the Shenyang Liming Aircraft Engine Company’s WS-10 Taihang engines have been used for some of the J-10B fighters of the PLA Air Force. However, China has to import Lyulka-Saturn AL-31FN turbofan engines from Russia to power the majority of its J-10 fighters before Taihang engines become reliable enough to be used throughout the fleet.

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US needs new stealth fighter to combat China’s J-31: expert

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China recently demonstrated its second fifth-generation stealth fighter, the J-31, for the 10th Zhuhai Airshow held in Guangdong from Nov. 11-16. Dave Majumdar, an American defense expert, thus suggests in Washington’s National Interest that the US must put the F-35 into service or develop new fighters to face this challenge.

China has come to realize that fourth-generation fighters such as the J-10, J-11, Su-27 and Su-30 will be obsolete when facing American fifth-generation stealth fighters like the F-22 and F-35, an official from the Pentagon told Majumdar. “The price of admission for a fifth-gen war is a fifth-gen airplane and they get that,” the official was quoted as saying. Many US aviators believe that the J-31 was built based on stolen F-22 and F-35 technologies and will eventually be as powerful as the two American fighters.

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Light military helicopter market in decline – report

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The light military rotorcraft market has entered a period that will see annual production generally head downward during the next 15 years, according to a report by Forecast International.

The firm projects that manufacturers will build 165 light military rotorcraft in 2014 and 166 in 2015, with production then climbing to 208 rotorcraft in 2016. However, this production spike is expected to be a temporary, one-year phenomenon, with annual production resuming a downward track in 2017, and declining to only 55 rotorcraft in 2028.

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Jordan looks into buying a Chinese fighter jet

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During the 10th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition held in Zhuhai, Guangdong province Nov. 11-16, Jordan has shown great interest in purchasing fighters from China according to the state tabloid Global Times.

A Jordaian paratrooper attending the air show told the Global Times that Jordan is looking for new fighters from China. He said that is the reason why the Royal Jordanian Air Force sent a delegation to Zhuhai. During his first visit to Asia as a member of the air force delegation, the paratrooper said that he was impressed by the performance of the Chinese female pilots from the August First aerobatic team of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.

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Final operational clearance for LCA in June 2015

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The indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas will be given the final operational clearance (FOC) in June 2015 for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF), a senior defence scientist said Friday.

“FOC for LCA Tejas will be given in June next year for induction into the IAF fleet, which is behind schedule by six months,” Defence Research and Development Orgainsiation’s (DRDO) chief controller (Aero) K. Tamilmani told reporters here.

The Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (Cemilac) gave initial operational clearance (IOC) to the homegrown fighter in December 2013 for evaluation by IAF ace pilots on various parameters.

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