India’s first missile tracking ship is readying for sea trials

Once ready, it will be India’s first, a force multiplier and cruise the country into a global elite club. Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) is gearing up to undertake sea trials of India’s first missile tracking ship by the first week of October.

The keel of the ship, which was laid on June 30, 2014, is being built for the National Technical Research Organisation, the technical intelligence agency working directly under the supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Security Adviser.

Considered a “topmost secret project”, a lot of confidentiality is being maintained in executing the project costing about ₹750 crore. It will be named after its induction into the Indian Navy. For now, it is simply referred as VC 11184.

This will be the first of its kind ocean surveillance ship being built as part of the efforts under the NDA government to strengthen the country’s strategic weapons programme.

The ship was built inside the covered dry dock. It has the capacity to carry 300-strong crew with hi-tech gadgets and communication equipment, powered by two diesel engines, and a large deck capable of a helicopter landing.

HSL, set up in 1941, achieved a total income of ₹651.67 crore and a value of production of ₹644.78 crore during 2017-18, the highest since inception. It is poised to get orders for construction of five fleet support ships costing ₹9,000 crore and finalize a request for proposal for design collaborator for construction of two Special Operation Vessels called mini-submarines. It is also banking on the order for a medium refit of Russia-made third Sindhughosh class submarine INS Sindhuratna for which it has submitted technical bids.

Visakhapatnam is considered a strategic location on the East Coast for the Indian defence forces as it is home for Ship Building Centre to build nuclear-powered submarine INS Arihant class, Naval Alternate Operational Base at Rambilli, the second naval base after Eastern Naval Command headquarters, a training centre for Marine Commandos and headquarters of the submarine arm.

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Iran unveils ‘first domestically manufactured’ fighter jet

Iran unveiled what it described as the country’s “first domestically manufactured” fighter jet.

Test flights of the jet, dubbed the Kowsar, took place on the eve of the National Day of the Defense Industry, according to semi-official Mehr News Agency. It was unclear whether the jet’s first public display flight has yet taken place.

The Kowsar can be used for “short aerial support missions” and is equipped with systems that “promote precision targeting,” according to state media.

Iran is currently under economic and diplomatic pressure from a raft of sanctions reimposed by the United States earlier this month, and the unveiling could be seen as a bid to show self-sufficiency and military might in the face of that pressure.

Iran has unveiled several new fighter jets in the last few years. In 2013, the country unveiled the Qahar-313, a new fighter jet that Iran compared to the US F-22 and F-35. But many aviation experts voiced skepticism regarding the design and quality of the build of that plane.

Iran has sent weapons and soldiers to Syria during the country’s seven-year civil war in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

But the country’s air force comprises roughly a few dozen strike aircraft, largely Russian or American planes acquired before the 1979 revolution, according to Reuters.

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Israeli Navy to procure Indo-Israel Barak 8 missile defence system

The multi-purpose Barak 8 missile defense system, jointly developed by India and Israel, will be procured by the Israeli Navy to protect its economic zones and strategic facilities from diversified threats and the sales for it have exceeded USD 5 billion.

The missile system has been jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), India’s DRDO, Israel’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Elta Systems, Rafael and some other Indian defense companies.

Barak-8 is an operational air and missile defense system used by the Israeli Navy as well as by the Indian Navy and air forces.

Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar-6 corvettes will be using the system to protect Israel’s exclusive economic zone and strategic facilities which are faced with diversified threats in the marine arena, the IAI said in a statement.

Designed to defend against a variety of short-to-long-range airborne threats, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters, drones and projectiles, Barak-8 incorporates a state-of-the-art phased array multi-mission radar, two-way data link, and a flexible command and control system, enabling users to simultaneously engage multiple targets day and night and in all weather conditions.

The successfully operational system will help provide broad aerial and point defense against a wide range of threats to the marine arena from the air, sea or land.

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Supersonic Interceptor Missile Successfully Test Fired In Odisha

India successfully test-fired it’s indigenously developed supersonic interceptor missile, capable of destroying any incoming hostile ballistic missile, from a test range off Odisha coast.

About Ballistic Missile Interceptor AAD:

It is an endo-atmospheric missile, capable of intercepting incoming targets at an altitude of 15 to 25 kms.

Indigenously developed by DRDO, the AAD interceptor is a single-stage missile powered by solid propellants.

It has been developed as part of indigenous efforts to have multi-layer ballistic missile defense system, capable of destroying incoming hostile ballistic missiles.

It is 7.5 meters tall and weighs around 1.2 tonnes.

The interceptor missile has its own mobile launcher, a secure data link for interception, independent tracking and homing capabilities and sophisticated radars.

The Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Programme is an attempt to develop and to use a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system to protect from ballistic missile attacks. India’s decision to develop Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) was introduced in the light of the ballistic missile threat mainly from Pakistan, especially can be attributed to the Kargil War in 1999.

India follows ‘No First Use policy‘. A robust BMD provides an opportunity for the nation to strike back if a nuclear projectile is launched by an enemy state.

BMD would shield from non-state actors initiated missile warfare and thus could avoid Mutual Destruction trap.

BMD reduces the incentive for the enemy state to launch a nuclear attack, thus enhancing strategic stability.

An indigenous system would reduce the import bill of defense systems from other nations.

Technology developed for BMD can be used in other sectors, especially in space technology.

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India plans to buy missile shield from U.S.

India is in talks with the U.S. to procure an advanced air defense system to defend the National Capital Region (NCR) from aerial attacks. The process for procuring the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System-II (NASAMS-II), estimated at $1 billion, has been initiated.

India is deploying a multi-tiered air defense network to fully secure its airspace from incoming fighter aircraft, missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

The official said this system would complement other systems such as the medium and long-range surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems under procurement. India is also in an advanced stage of talks with Russia for the procurement of very long range S-400 air defense systems.

Apart from these imports, India is also developing an indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.

Phase-I of the BMD is expected to be deployed soon.

The NASAMS was developed by Raytheon in partnership with KONGSBERG Defence and Aerospace of Norway. The Raytheon website says it is a “highly adaptable mid-range solution” for any operational air defense requirement and provides a tailorable, state-of-the-art defense system that can maximize the ability to quickly identify, engage and destroy current and evolving enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.” NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of the NASAMS and features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.

India is going ahead with the procurement of the S-400 systems despite differing views of the U.S. over the sanctions against Russia and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.

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Indian Air Force Participates for the First Time in Exercise Pitch Black – 18 with Royal Australian Air Force

An Indian Air Force contingent comprising of four Su-30 MKI, 01 XC-130 and 01 XC-17 aircraft, landed at Darwin Air Force Base, Australia. This is the first time that an IAF contingent is participating in a multinational air exercise in Australia with Royal Australian Air Force. This exercise involves over 100 aircraft from around the globe and will provide a unique opportunity to the air-warriors to operate in a dynamic warlike environment.

As a part of Commonwealth countries, India and Australia have always enjoyed amicable bilateral relations. Air Forces of both the countries have participated in the Second World War. The contribution of these nations has been well documented and acknowledged by the historians.    Su-30 MKI aircraft flew across the ocean to once again demonstrate our strategic reach and professionalism. As part of military diplomacy and reassuring our neighbors of our commitment to regional peace and security, while en-route to Australia, IAF engaged with the Indonesian and Malaysian Air Forces.

Pitch Black’, Asia-Pacific’s largest air force training exercise, to take place today in Australia’s Darwin; 16 countries to participate

The training includes night flying and aerial refueling and enables different nations a chance to learn from each other and improve their force integration using one of the largest training airspace areas in the world.

The biennial Pitch Black exercise began in 1990 between Australia and Singapore, and features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment, the Royal Australian Air Force said in a statement on its website.

The air forces involved are from the US, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Philippines, Singapore, Sweden, Thailand, New Zealand and Australia.

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Shekatkar committee

The government recently reviewed the implementation of ambitious reform initiative for the Indian Army based on recommendations of a committee headed by Lt Gen (retd) DB Shekatkar.

Shekatkar Committee was tasked with suggesting steps to enhance combat capability of the armed forces.

Measures, as recommended by the Committee and taken up for implementation, include:

Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.

Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops, and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.

Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots, and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.

Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.

Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.

Enhancement of standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.

Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.

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India, Pakistan Exchange Lists of Prisoners in Each Other’s Jails

India and Pakistan exchanged lists of civilian prisoners and fishermen lodged in each other’s jails as per the provision of a bilateral agreement

The Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan has shared with India a list of 53 civilian prisoners and 418 fishermen in its custody, who are Indians or believed to be Indians.

It said Pakistan was asked to expedite the release of nine Indian civilian prisoners and 229 Indian fishermen who have completed their sentences and whose nationality has been confirmed.

The MEA said India has conveyed to Pakistan the need for early release and repatriation of civilian prisoners, missing Indian defense personnel and fishermen along with their boats.

India too handed over to Pakistan a list of 249 civilian prisoners and 108 fishermen from that country lodged in Indian jails.

The lists were shared as per a bilateral agreement on consular access signed in May 2008. The lists of prisoners have to be exchanged twice every year on January 1 and July 1.

Indian nationals in Pakistani jails included Kulbhushan Jadhav and Hamid Nehal Ansari. However, the statement issued by the MEA did not mention the names of the prisoners.

Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 on charges of espionage and a Pakistani military court has handed him the death penalty. Following the sentencing, India approached the International Court of Justice, which restrained Pakistan from executing Jadhav in May last year.

Mumbai’s Ansari had reportedly tried to enter Pakistan illegally from Afghanistan in 2012 to meet a woman he had befriended online but was arrested by Pakistani authorities.

The MEA said, in order to take further the understanding reached to address the humanitarian issues, especially with respect to elderly, women and mentally unsound prisoners, India has shared the details of the reconstituted Joint Judicial Committee and that of the Indian medical expert’s team to visit Pakistan to meet the mentally-unsound prisoners.

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U.S. postpones 2+2 dialogue with India

 

The much-anticipated dialogue, between the defense and foreign ministers of India and the United States scheduled for July, has been postponed.

The talks were expected to boost bilateral ease of ties in the backdrop of growing disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal and the brewing tariff war between the two sides. The high-level dialogue was designed to address bilateral issues following a summit-level meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Modi in 2017. Both Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj were expected to travel to the U.S. for the meeting with Secretary of Defence Mattis and Secretary of State Pompeo.

The talks were postponed earlier once when the previous Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked to quit by President Trump in March 2018. It was previously scheduled for April. However, the latest postponement which is also being considered as a cancellation by some quarters comes in the backdrop of growing differences between India and the U.S. over the Iran nuclear deal.

The Trump administration withdrew from the Iran deal also known by the acronym JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) in May.

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India, Bangladesh Navies to join hands

India and Bangladesh have agreed to institute a Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) as an annual feature between the two Navies. The first edition will be inaugurated by Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba during his visit there from June 24 to 29.

The commencement of CORPAT is a major step towards the enhanced operational interaction between both Navies.

It is aimed to consolidate bilateral defense relations between India and Bangladesh and to explore new avenues for naval cooperation.

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