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Defense Technology: A World Of Haves & Cannots

March 29, 2013 1 comment

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments.

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

One of the world’s four airworthy Zero fighters sits on the tarmac in August 2011 in California, decked out in its full Pacific War livery. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

A big drawback that hobbled Japan in WWII was oil. Japan had aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft – but little oil. In each battle, in the decisive stages of the WWII, oil was in short supply. By the start of WWII, Japan was prepared for war, with its Zero fighters.

In the last 70 years, technology gaps in defence have increased hugely. Countries like India have decided to build their defence capability by importing the latest and the best on one hand. On the other hand, India has launched ambitious R & D projects that are getting close to world standards.

US and Russia are far ahead from rest of the world in making arms and armaments. Coming close to these countries will take decades and billions of dollars – two things that very few countries have. For instance, few countries in the world (US, Russia, UK, France, Italy) can make world-class jet engines for fighter aircraft. Even countries like Japan and Korea, with a strong electronics and industrial base depend on defence imports.

For WWII, Japan produced more than 10,000 fighters – including the famed Zero fighter.

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy - ajw.asahi.com; source - Masahide Ishizuka)

The Zero fighter found in Papua New Guinea undergoes restoration work. (Image courtesy – ajw.asahi.com; source – Masahide Ishizuka)

Masahide Ishizuka, 52, a New Zealand resident originally from Tochigi Prefecture is campaigning to bring one of the four airworthy Zero fighter aircraft in the world back to Japan, where it can fly again in the skies of its homeland.

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero, the mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy, was produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Nakajima Aircraft. Japan produced about 10,000 carrier-based Zero fighter aircraft during World War II.

In the early stages of the war, the Zero gained a reputation as a fearsome dogfighter with its slick maneuverability, long-distance range and high speed–three important attributes of fighter aircraft.

All four airworthy Zeros today are registered in the United States.

The Zero, a Mitsubishi-produced A6M3 Type 0 Model 22, was found in the 1970s in Papua New Guinea, and was restored to airworthiness by the U.S. collector.

via Aviation expert hopes to return Zero fighter to skies over Japan – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.


Pokhran-II: an H-bomb disaster

December 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Agni missile

China would be undeterred by our A-bomb arsenal of the yields indicated above. So we reiterate our considered view — shared by the majority of our nuclear scientists, strategic analysts and, above all, our military — that a solely A-bomb arsenal is inadequate as a deterrent against China. Otherwise, why did four prime ministers want a TN device (H-bomb) and why did the then Prime Minister Vajpayee and his NSA Brajesh Mishra direct and insist with the BARC-DRDO leadership — Kalam, Chidambaram, Santhanam and Kakodkar — that at least one P-2 test must be of a TN device? (via K Santhanam & Ashok Parthasarathi: Pokhran-II: an H-bomb disaster).

At the cusp of history

India, is at the cusp of becoming a military power, which will make the cost of an military confrontation unacceptable to the aggressor. However, the position at the cusp, is statistically, always the most tricky. India, though far better prepared than in 1962 and 1965,  has not yet become a unquestioned military force – and is yet a thresh-hold power.

Prospective aggressors would do well to remember that in 1971, India opened war on two fronts against Pakistan. On the Western front, Indian armed forces held out against a US-equipped, armed, financed and supported Pakistan. On the Eastern front, Indian Armed Forces captured more than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers as POWs, which is the largest POW capture in post WW2 wars.

At another level, there is the reductionist perspective, that beyond a point, nuclear arsenals can only “make the rubble bounce.”

In modern warfare

To my mind, more critical than thermonuclear or the H-bomb, is the delivery mechanism. India, must focus on missiles which can shoot down incoming missiles and at the same time evade enemy radar and defence missiles. This will be the low cost, high impact defence strategy which can make India handle this cusp situation better. These can be low range to medium range missiles – which will target military installations and NOT civilian targets.

The other aspect is that an arms race is a mug’s game. What gives military victories is the difference between armies. Armed parity will ensure a prolonged war of attrition – and not victory. India should not try for parity – but a differentiating factor.

What can make a difference

There may even be merit in having micro A-bombs which will vaporize invading forces. Instead of spending more and money on bigger and bigger bombs, it may be counter-intuitive to make smaller, more compact bombs. These can be used against invading forces – instead of the Nagasaki-Hiroshima model.Battle scenes from Ramayana

My favorite battle story

From the Ramayana – Hanuman kills Dhumaraksha.

Dhumaraksha’s fearsome chariot, with braying and neighing  mules, clashing cymbals and rolling bells, clanging metal and fearsome pennants, featuring vultures, rolls out from the Lanka’s gates, onto the battlefield. Wreaking havoc on the vanarsena.

The sight of the chariot inspires fear – and the vanarsena is on their feet, without chariots, some 2000 miles from home, with nil supply lines, against a renowned Asura force. After watching the battle sway back and forth, seeing the flagging morale of his warriors, Hanuman picks up a huge boulder and crushes Dhumaraksha’s chariot. Dhumraksha himself jumps off the  chariot and escapes death. Now on the ground, on his feet, Dhumaraksha is quickly killed by Hanuman.

So, there is some sense in not getting too sophisticated, after all.

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