Skip to comments.'India eyes mega-Navy spend - $50 bn'
Posted on 05/16/2011 9:33:00 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
'India eyes mega-Navy spend - $50 bn'
Agencies Posted: May 16, 2011 at 1641 hrs
Singapore India is to invest USD 46.96 billion as part of moves to boost up its naval forces over the next 20 years adding 101 new warships, ranging from sophisticated destroyers to nuclear submarines. "Going by the investment value, India is expected to build sophisticated destroyers, new generation and new radar vessels, nuclear submarines, and amphibious ships," Naval analyst Bob Nugent and vice president of the United States-based AMI International, said here today.
Speaking at a pre-event press conference for the International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference to be held here for May 18 to 20, the international expert said that Indian investments in surface and under sea platforms would be double that of China, which was spending USD 23.99 billion to build 113 war vessels.
While, Indian naval programme would be focused on building nuclear submarines, the Chinese thrust would be on building an aircraft carrier.
India, he said was looking at building compact hi-speed and hi-tech warships, the analyst said, that Indian shipyards were in the process of completing hi-speed coastal boats to prevent Mumbai type terror attacks from the sea.
He said, that Indian naval shipyards were already operating its full capacity, raising the risk of ship building programmes running short of local yard space.
He cited that the first casualty could be India\'s ambitions to build six French Scorpene submarines, adding that this order could be reduced from six to three due to limited yardspace.
Maritime experts said, that India\'s expenditure on warship building could account for as much as 27.8 per cent of the total investment in Asia-Pacific.
They said, that India and China naval buildup programme would outstrip that of non-NATO and even Russian investments.
Other major naval investors in Asia-Pacific would include Australia - USD 14 billion, Indonesia - USD 7 billion, Taiwan USD 16 billion, Pakistan USD 2.85 billion and Singapore USD 1.74 billion.
Backing his confident in the Indian investment on naval ships, he pointed out that India have built and or was in the process of completing 100 coastal boats.
Nugent stressed that the high dollar investments for each country showed the high-end naval vessels to be built in the coming years though the number of units might be small.
He said the region was already rated as the world\'s leading investor in the naval vessels, with 340 units, worth USD 69.1 billion, being built or to be completed over the next three years.
A further 193 naval vessels, costing USD 71 billion, were planned to be built between 2014 and 2019 in the region, he said. Nugent estimated that the region would build 236 naval vessels, an investment of USD 28.2 billion, in 2020-2030.
The large scale Asia Pacific investment on the naval ships puts the region in second place behind the United States, which is to invest USD 280 billion on 505 vessels over the next 20 years.
But Asia Pacific was ahead of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). NATO is to invest USD 153.3 billion on 581 vessels over the same 20 year period, lower than Asia Pacific\'s combined USD 168.3 billion investment on 769 vessels.
According to Nugent, there was no regional "Naval Arms Races" unfolding so far, and the investment from each country would depend on the respective economic growths.
Comparatively, the Caribbean and Latin American region would invest USD 24.8 billion on 292 vessels over the next 20 years, the Middle East and North Africa USD 38.2 billion on 453 vessels, Non-NATO Europe USD 8.8 billion on 61 vessels, Russia USD 22.1 billion on 84 vessels, and Sub-Sahara Africa USD 3.1 billion on 41 vessels.
Must be nice to be able to have a well equipped military. Or at least that’s what we’ll be saying ten years from now.....
India = World’s largest democracy
USA = World’s oldest democracy
The 2 countries have lots of common interests, not the
least of which is WOT.
In about twenty years we should have enough nuclear armed countries to have one hell of an Armaggedon!
I’ve heard it said that one of the factors for going with the European platform, besides technical superiority in the high-altitude and desert terrain tests, is the thwarting of European weapons sales to China - which they were testing the waters of, lately.
You are 100% right.
Some quick points. For one, while I agree the F/A-18E/F would have been a good choice if chosen (not better than the Rafale or Eurofighter, but not worse), the F-16 would have been a mistake of the highest order (with only a selection of the MiG-35 being greater). The F-16 is a plane that has a great record (although arguments have been made that its opponents were not necessarily 'competent'), but it is an airframe that a) has reached the extreme limits of its capability and thus offers no growth, b) is in use by India's second greatest nation-threat (Pakistan) who know it in and out, and c) offers no superlative solution against India's foremost nation-threat (China) which is coming out with increasingly sophisticated weaponry. The argument that the F-16 is 'proven' is very true, and it has a great record ...but that record has been against the likes of Iraq and Bosnia, and not against the likes of Pakistan (which already has F-16s) and especially China (which has significant quantative and currently qualitative advantages against India). India selecting the F-16 would have been a strategic error of the highest magnitude.
The F-18, especially the avionics suite (considering its AESA radar is far more proven than the one in the F-16 offered to India, which is only in use with the Block 60s sold to the UAE), and the possibility of getting the Growler, would have made a good choice ...especially considering the MMRCA is meant to have good air-to-mud capabilities, which the SHornet is great at in the strike role. However, both the Rafale and the Eurofighter (especially the Rafale by a good margin) also have air-to-mud capabilities, and YET also have air-to-air capabilities that are second only to the F-22 (when the F-35, SU-35 and T-50 start coming out in full production numbers that will change, but for now they are second only to the Raptor). That is extremely important for a nation that would be facing swarms of Chinese J-10s, J-11s and who knows what else, while at the same time facing Pakistani F-16s and FC-10s on the other side of the country. Every single aircraft has to be able to carry far more than its weight ...the SU-30MKIs must be able to take out ground targets even though they are meant to be India's premier air-to-air fighter (which is why the Sukhois are being outfitted with the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile). The MMRCAs must be able to engage and defeat any Pakistani or Chinese (especially Chinese, considering the quantitative edge the Chinese have) fighter, even though the MMRCA were meant to be primarily strike fighters (I am certain the inclusion of the Meteor BVRAAM, which is a ramjet air-to-air missile that has been stated to be 3-times as effective as the AMRAAM did significantly help out the two planes against the F-18). India's needs are quite unique, considering that it's next door neighbors include a nation that is slated to be the next superpower, and another that is a Jihadist hot-spot. They cannot afford to get a plane that is simply good enough.
Finally, on the relations with the United States, in the past 5 years India has made many billions of Dollars worth of purchases from the US. Jet fighter engines, anti-submarine planes, transport planes, etc ...this is the main reason that Boeing and Lockheed did not contest the decision against them. They have made a lot of money in India, and are slated to make much more. If the US would toss out India because they did not win ONE contest, when they have won virtually EVERY other contest, would be quite weak.
Anyways, long and short of it is that if India was only worried about Pakistan, then even the F-16 would have been good enough. It would have been more advanced than the Pakistani F-16, especially considering the avionics (the Pakistani F-16s do not have AESA radars) ....however that advantage would not have lasted more than 7 years considering that there are after-market AESA radars coming to market for the F-16 (specifically, the RACR and SABR radars), meaning that in less than a decade (and before the India's have taken full delivery of all the F-16s, and learned how to use them fully) the Pakistanis would also have AESA-equipped F-16s. Considering that the US gave Pakistan AMRAAM missiles, what advantage would India have against AESA F-16s with AMRAAMs if they are also flying AESA F-16s with AMRAAMs. It would come down to tactics, situational awareness and pilot skill ...but no country wants a fair fight. But, if India was ok with a fair fight, the F-16 could have worked against Pakistan.
However, when it comes to China, the F-16 would not have worked. Already the Chinese J-10 is compared to earlier block F-16s, with upgrades to the J-10 meant to bring it up to later block F-16s (maybe to Block 50/52 level, which is still not at the Block 60+ level the Indian Vipers would have been at, but close enough to make the large numbers China could throw against India make up for the difference). Then there is the J-11, which is basically the Sino-version of the SU-30. Then there are hundreds of SU-30MKKs. Then there is the J-15, which is the Sino SU-33. Finally add thousands of lesser capable planes that, while not particularly effective, would still need to be shot down. Sorry, but while the F-16 was great against Iraq, against China it would be a dog. Throw in China's SAM network, and it becomes a dead dog. It is one thing for a F-16 flowin in USAF colors, supported by US assets such as AWACS and so forth, and backed by F-15s and F-22s flying top cover, with Wild Weasels, Prowlers and Growlers soft/hard killing SAM missile defenses, and with hundreds of Tomahawk missiles and B-2 Stealth Bomber strikes having taken out the hardest defenses .....then the F-16 has a different tune. It is another thing when the nation is India, facing off against a Jihadist country on one side PLUS an up-and-coming Superpower that is as advanced (and more so) than India itself on the other.
India made the best decision for India. Not for the US, or Sweden, or Russia ....but for India. As for the political angle, there are already so many deals done with the US that it really doesn't matter (as can be seen by Lockmart and B not making a big fuss over it). And anyways, it would be quite ironic if the US government, after giving Pakistan billions of Dollars every year even as that government hides Osama and sponsors terror, would shut off India because the Indians decided to use their hard-earned Rupees to buy another plane, and toss out India even though Delhi is a key counter-point to China's rise. That would require a truly idiotic American government, and while the financial support of Pakistan since 9/11 can make one question that, I do not think that the bottom of the dunce-barrel is being scraped just yet. Virtually every single defence contract apart from the MMRCA has gone to the US, and has brought more money to the US than the value of the MMRCA deal ...if the loss of this one deal means India and the US can't be friends, then I doubt that was a friendship that would have been good for India anyways. Particularly considering the stakes as China grows stronger and Pakistan grows crazier.
If there was reflexive anti-Americanism in the Indian polity, why is it that US companies have won the most number of military contracts since 2005??
The premise that buying one of the US contenders would lead to the F-35 is fundamentally flawed. For one there are NO operational benefits in buying what are two different generations of fighters for the same role within a gap of 10 years or so; the only people who gain from it are the vendors and the wise men lobbying for them (which is why you see all those articles). If I am not mistaken, no nation which has committed to the JSF has made any major purchases since 2001 other than repeat orders for the F-16 by Israel and Turkey and Australia’s purchase of Super Hornets to replace the F-111.
There is still scope for India to get the F-35 if the partnership with Russia on the T-50 fizzles out; the F-35C is also being considered for the Indian navy’s carrier requirement. But then there is the not so small issue over performance, cost and delivery concerns associated with the F-35 itself.
People don’t seem to be interested on how ‘evolving’ threat perceptions affected the IAF’s planning.
This project initially started as a plan to buy 126 Mirage-20005 jets from France in 2001. The government decided to look at other options and in 2004, RFIs were issued for the F-16, Mirage-20005, Mig-29M and Gripen; neither of the two shortlisted contenders were being looked at. Things started to change after the US government allowed Boeing to hawk the Super Hornet in 2005 which led to the gradual entry of the the two Euro-canards. Even after that, senior air officials, including one ACM claimed that aircraft like the Eurofighter were too expensive for the project.
What changed all this was the fact that the Chinese overtook India in both qualitative and quantitative modernisation of its aircraft and systems in the South. Not to mention the fact that the Pakis were getting new F-16s (which doesn’t help promote the Uncle Sam in India) as well as new JF-17 and J-10 fighters from the Chicoms. In addition to new AEW/C systems from Sweden and China. When this project first started, Pakistan had no modern BVR missile or AEW; by 2009-they had both.
To cut to the chase, threat perceptions shaped this contract as much as if not more than political benefits, technology or cost advantages. People who claim that somehow the IAF is infatuated with the two European aircraft would do well to remember that.
The figures for Australia seem to not include the $35 billion we are spending on new submarines.
You have that pretty much right. What is going to bring India & US together is the younger generation. Older people are still in charge because Indians in general respect old age. Those people distrust all foreigners, and that includes Americans. The younger generation has much better acquaintance and like the American way. It is indeed in India’s interest to form close alliance with the US, and that is already happening not through government initiatives, but rather with industry and commerce.
If the older folks distrust all foreigners, how come they are planning to buy these aircraft from European companies? If there was distrust with Americans, why is that US companies have won contracts worth almost 10 billion USD since 2005?
Why is it that Indian military has held more exercises with US forces than any other country since 2001?
Nobody is denying any of that. But the question is how much influence can any number of defence purchases have on US policy?? As you rightly said, the US is the preeminent power on the planet, so billions in purchases will not have the kind of impact people seem to think.
The Saudis have purchased several billions in weaponry-have they influenced US policy against Israel?? What about their concerns on Iran? Taiwan has bought and plans to buy billions-not much support for them either. The fact remains that there will remain significant distance between the US and India on issues such as US military aid to Pakistan, India’s energy relations with Iran and nuclear weapons. That would remain so irrespective of whether the MMRCA deal went to an American company or not. India has brought over 8 billion USD worth of weaponry from US companies since 2005-has military aid and sale/upgrades of Pakistani systems stopped? What is the guarantee that it will stop if an American company won the MMRCA deal.
About access to US technology, countries such as the UK, Australia and Israel which have had far stronger relations with the US have faced roadblocks on access to JSF technology. Would a single defense deal for all the hype it’s worth make things easier for India?
As a factor, how much would this matter:
The US won’t sell to China.
Europe doesn’t have as strong a reservation to selling platforms to China.
Weaning Europe away from the temptation of selling to China is a strategic goal.
The question about countries such as Saudi Arabia include this-why is the US embracing a country which is known for religious intolerance, sponsors several extremist groups (openly or covertly) and still doesn’t recognise Israel. The dynamics of the US-Saudi relationship are far too different and revolve heavily around oil. Desert Storm and all events prior to it would have happened exactly the way they did because the major western powers-the US, UK and France had invested in those artificial sheikhdoms. The Saudis have never left the ‘Western fold’ in one sense so the question of how things would be different doesnt arise. The US has turned a blind eye towards the Saudis on several issues for precisely that reason. India doesn’t really have the same luxury, particularly with respect to its primary threat, Pakistan.
About the MMRCA, one question that is not being answered is this-are the selected aircraft the best suited for the Indian air force?? Yes or no. The Super Hornet and F-16IN on a basic level are qualitatively better than Pakistan’s F-16s. But that is not enough. The Pakis have new AEW systems and the same AMRAAM missiles both of which evens things out . In other words, these aircraft are not a quantam leap for the Indian Airforce given the fact that these are essentially legacy airframes. The quality of these aircraft matter as much as any strategic dividend they pay. The Israelis used the French Mirage-III series to good effect for more than a decade after the French embargoed sales.
Is the Indo-US defense relationship dead?? Yes or No-the answer is a resounding No. More arms sales, exercises and coordination are in the pipeline. The problem with over-analysing this deal is that pretty much every contract will follow the same pattern. If today if its the MMRCA, tomorrow it may well be the LCS for the Indian navy. No one will talk about the LCS’s hideous cost, poor armament and design flaws; it will all be about ‘sustaining’ a strategic partnership. Every arms deal cannot be held hostage to supposedly “strategic” priorities-getting the best weaponry for your military is itself a strategic priority. The Indian government and military deserve credit for throwing their bets with SEVERAL US built platforms such as the C-130, C-17, P-8 and possibly the Apache for both their strategic and operational benefits. US companies will very likely be winning more if not the majority of defense contracts from India. But to expect overnight wonders with hawking systems which have competitive rivals is a bit of a stretch.
I can’t figure out why the same din wasn’t caused when the USAF selected Boeing’s tanker for the KC-X. Did ties with the EU collapse because of that? That deal was worth 35 billion USD-more than twice the value of the MMRCA. EADS quietly went back to the drawing board like Boeing and Lockheed Martin seem to be doing.
The F-35 and PAK-FA are two entirely different aircraft. The problem with the F-35 is that its meant to be a jack of all trades unlike the PAK FA which has an air superiority role. The F-35’s agility is little better than the F-16, it cannot supercruise and stealth is primarily frontal. Which is why concerns have been raised about its effectiveness in the air to air domain.
Oh they need the fighters, so probably either went with the cheapest deal -or- the Europeans bribed better! Corruption is rampant in India, in all government agencies. Another reason to not wish for a big government. Private sector tends to have much less corruption due to competition. Government has no competitor to worry about.
When the younger generation takes over, the alliance with US is much more likely to take place.