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January 2020 - Defence News



  • The Indian Air Force has inducted its first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft carrying the BrahMos missiles in the South at its Thanjavur base in Tamil Nadu. The newly reinstated 222-squadron, also known as the Tigersharks, would serve as a lethal weapons platform capable of carrying both aerial and maritime roles in the Indian Ocean Region.


  • Indian Navy signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Geological Survey of India (GSI) on 21 January 2020. The MoU was signed by Commodore AA Abhyankar, who heads the Indian Navy's Oceanology and Meteorology Directorate and Shri N Maran, Deputy Director-General of GSI. 

    MoU Highlights:
    1.) The MoU aims to ensure the sharing of seabed sediment data, products and expertise for Naval Application in Meteorology and Oceanography.
    2.) GSI's Marine and Coastal survey Division based at Mangaluru has mapped most of India's 2.1 Million sq. km Exclusive Economic Zone and has a vast repository of offshore data.
    3.) As per the MoU, the data collected using GSI's oceanic research vessels Samudra Manthan, Samudra Ratnakar, Samudra Kaustubh and Samudra Shaudhikama will be used by Indian Navy's blue water fleet. Reliable and accurate oceanographic modeling will support the fleet's expansive maritime operations in the Indian Ocean region.


  • France is to train Indian flight surgeons to enable them to monitor the health of astronauts selected for the human space mission Gaganyaan. The announcement was released on 21 January 2020. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding this is expected to be signed during French space agency CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall's visit to India in January. 

    The training will be given for two weeks in France. It is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022. The flight surgeons are the Indian Air Force (IAF) doctors specializing in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after the flight.


  • Defence Acquisition Council, DAC has approved procurement of equipment worth over 5100 crore rupees from indigenous sources. The objective of this defence acquisition deal is to promote indigenization. These include sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO and manufactured locally by the Indian industry. These systems will be used in deserts and plains and will provide comprehensive Electronic Support and Counter Measure capabilities to the field formations in both communication and other aspects of Electronic Warfare.


  • Ministry of Defence approved the procurement of military equipment worth over Rs.5,100 crore from indigenous sources. It also approved the construction of six conventional submarines for the Navy in India under the strategic partnership model. The approval was announced after the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. 

    DAC Approvals:
    1.) The procurement includes sophisticated Electronic Warfare Systems for the Army designed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
    2.) The equipment will be manufactured locally by the Indian industry.
    3.) Also, DAC shortlisted Indian strategic partners (SP) and the potential Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that would collaborate to construct 6 conventional submarines in India under the strategic partnership model.
    4.) Under the SP model, selected private firms will partner to build military platforms like submarines and fighter jets in India in partnership with OEMs.


  • The recently inducted Indian Coast Guard Ship Annie Besant has reached its base harbour at Chennai on 27 January 2020. The ship Annie Besant is the third Fast Patrol Vessel of the ‘Priyadarshini’ class. The ship has been indigenously designed and built and was commissioned at Khidderpore Dock, Kolkata recently. The ship ICGS Annie Besant is 48.9 m long and has a beam of 7.5 m with a displacement of 308 tonnes. It is fitted with modern navigational and communication equipment and sensors. The ship’s main armament is 40/60 Bofors gun with a 12.7 mm Stabilised Remote Control Gun. It is capable of undertaking multi-faceted maritime operations such as Surveillance, Search and Rescue and Interdiction.


  • Indian Navy has launched operation Vanilla to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at Madagascar. Defence Ministry said, the Operation Vanilla has been launched to provide assistance to the affected population of Madagascar post devastation caused by Cyclone Diane.


  • India’s first war memorial dedicated to service animals is coming up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. It is set to feature a heroine who lost her life in a counter-insurgency operation in Kashmir in 2016. It is also likely to feature some others who acquitted themselves creditably in the Kargil war that India fought with Pakistan in 1999.

  • General Bipin Rawat took charge as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) on January 1, 2020. The General will now serve as the principal military advisor to the Union Defence Minister. He assumed the office of CDS after he retired as Army Chief on December 31, 2019. The Chief of Defence Staff post has been created newly in India. The CDS is a four-star General. 

    The Chief of Defence Staff will also serve as the head of the new Department of Military Affairs to ensure unity in training, logistics and procurement of the three armed services. The Chief of Defence Staff will be responsible for the administration of all three armed services including the army, navy and the air force. The main command of the services will be, however, with the respective Chief of the service.


  • ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) chief K Sivan announced on January 01, 2020, that Tamil Nadu will also have a spaceport for small satellites. This launchpad will be established at the Thoothukodi district of Tamil Nadu. K Sivan also announced that the government has approved Chandrayaan-3 and work on this project have already started. He said that this space center will be established in 2300 acres of land. ISRO Chief K. Sivan said that the Gaganyaan and Chandrayaan-3 missions will be launched in 2020.


  • India’s first Chief of the Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat has proposed the creation of an integrated Air Defence Command to boost the security of India’s skies. This is one of the first decisions of the General after he took charge as the Chief of Defence Staff on January 1, 2020. The Chief of Defence Staff has proposed June 30 as the deadline to submit the proposal for the same. General Rawat has further directed the heads of various branches to come up with recommendations for inter-service synergy and joint ness in a time-bound manner. General Rawat had called a meeting of the important officials of the Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff on January 1, 2019.


  • The Indian Army is all set to sign an agreement with Russia for the purchase of the AK-203 assault rifles. As per the plan, one lakh rifles will be imported from Russia in the first phase while the remaining 6.5 lakh rifles will be manufactured in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Indo-Russia Ordinance Factory in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh last year. Indo-Russia Rifle Private Limited is a joint project of the Ordnance Factory of India and the Russia establishment. This ordinance factory will produce the latest ranges of iconic Kalashnikov (AK-203) rifles. This joint venture will help the armed forces in the country and strengthen national security.


  • The Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is participating in Pride of India-Science Expo-2020 being held at the 107th Indian Science Congress in Bengaluru. 31 DRDO laboratories with more than 150 exhibits and models are participating in the expo showcasing many cutting-edge indigenous defence technologies, which narrate the saga of Self-reliance and National Pride with the Make in India spirit.


  • Visakhapatnam, the City of Destiny is to host MILAN 2020. The International Naval event has been scheduled to be held in March 2020. MILAN 2020 is a multilateral naval exercise. The main objective of the event is to enhance professional interaction between friendly foreign navies and learn the strengths and best practices in the maritime domain. The theme of the exercise is Synergy Across the Seas. The theme is expected to provide a unique opportunity for Operational Commanders of friendly foreign navies to interact with each other in areas of mutual interest. 41 navies were invited and over 30 navies have confirmed their participation in MILAN 2020.


  • Wings India 2020, a flagship event of Indian Civil Aviation industry will be held at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad from 12-15 March 2020. The theme is "Flying for All" is an international platform focused on new business acquisition, investments, policy formation and regional connectivity in civil aviation industry. It is a platform for the aviation fraternity to discuss challenges along with new developing growth spots that can be targeted to ensure a positive curve.


  • India successfully test fired nuclear-capable, K-4 ballistic missile off the coast of Andhra Pradesh on January 19, 2020. It has a strike range of 3500km. The K-4 ballistic missile was launched from an underwater platform in the sea. It can be launched from a submarine. It will be deployed on the fleet of the Arihant Class nuclear submarines being built by India. The missile was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The missile launch is aimed at strengthening India’s capabilities to hit enemy targets from submarines. With this, India has moved a step further in inducting the ballistic missile on the INS Arihant class of nuclear submarines. 

    K-4 is one of the two underwater missiles that India is developing for its submarine force. While one has a strike range of 3500km, the other one will have a strike range of 700km. The three-meter tall missile carries a nuclear warhead of over one tone. It has a circular error probability far lower than that of the Chinese ballistic missiles. The submarine-launched ballistic missile is extremely significant for India’s air, land and sea nuclear triad and it is at the front of India’s second-strike capability. Till now, only the US, Russia and China have submarine-launched ballistic missiles with a strike range of 3,500 km.


  • The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has partnered with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to produce the Saras engine.

    Collaboration:
    1.) CSIR will take up the project jointly designing and developing an aero-engine which is a highly complex task.
    2.) All major systems of the Saras engine, except the power plants, are indigenous.
    3.) The prototype version of the Saras is being developed by the CSIR's National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL).
    4.) The engine is powered by two Canadian Pratt and Whitney PT6A turboprop engines.
    5.) These are mounted on the rear of the fuselage instead of the wings and face rearwards.
    6.) A 14-passenger Saras plane which is currently undergoing flight trials will also have the capability to taxi in reverse. This special feature is not very common in aircraft.
    7.) Taxiing in reverse requires the jet blast from the engines to be directed forwards.
    8.) Before approving the design, the NAL will conduct 20 test flights of the Saras.
    9.) The engine will be produced by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).


  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Armoured System Complex at Hazira, Gujarat on 16 January 2020. The participation of the private sector in defence manufacturing is toward fulfilling the government's commitment to make India an arms manufacturing hub and net defence exporter. 

    51st K9 VAJRA-T gun weighs 50 tonnes. It can fire 47kg bombs at 43 kilometre distant targets. It can also turn around at zero radius. In 2017, L&T won the Rs.4,500 crore contract from the Ministry of Defence to supply 100 units of K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun systems to the Indian Army. The K9 Vajra contract involves the delivery of 100 such systems in 42 months. This is the largest contract awarded to a private company by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).


  • The Indian Army conducted the airborne Exercise Winged Raider in the North-Eastern theatre on 10th January 2020. It is the Army's biggest airborne exercise. It comprises of more than 500 Special Forces troops. It was conducted from 6-10 January. The exercises focused on the frontier with China.


  • The Japan Coast Guard Ship ‘Echigo’ has arrived Chennai on January 14, 2020, on a five-day goodwill visit. It will be participating in the Annual Joint Exercise ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ with the Indian Coast Guard of Chennai. This is the 19th such exercise being conducted between the two Coast Guards since 2000. It is being witnessed by Admiral Takahiro Okushima, Commandant, Japan Coast Guard and the Director-General of Indian Coast Guard Krishnaswamy Natarajan. Four Indian Coast Guard ships, their aircraft and a vessel from the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology - NIOT are participating in the exercise along with the Japanese vessel. 

    It is aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties and mutual understanding between the two Coast Guards. It is set to enhance interoperability in communication and Search and Rescue procedures and sharing of best practices. It will help both the Coast Guards to work together in protecting shared interests whenever such need arises, in responding to threats of piracy or humanitarian crisis.


  • The naval version of indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, LCA, made its first successful landing on the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya on January 11, 2020. This aircraft is developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization, DRDO. With the successful landing of Light Combat Aircraft, LCA on aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, India has entered into the club of selected nations having the capability to design a fighter jet which can land on an aircraft carrier. Commodore Jaideep Maolankar conducted the maiden landing. LCA is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class. The LCA programme intends to further expand and advance India's indigenous aerospace capabilities.


  • India to acquire 200 fighter jets for Air Force. Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar has said, the government is in the process of acquiring around 200 aircraft to cope with the depleting aerial inventories of the Indian Air Force.


  • The Indian Army Ocean Sailing Expedition from Mumbai to Okhain Gujarat was flagged off in Mumbai on January 15, 2020. The team will be sailing in the Arabian Sea and will return to Mumbai on January 27. The 13-day exercise will test the skill of sailors on high seas. The 43-member expedition, comprises four more officers, two Junior Commissioned Officers and 35 other ranks from various arms and services to include Engineers, Electronic Mechanical Engineers, Signals, Sikh Light Infantry and Maratha Light Infantry troops. The team will sail in four non-motorised Seabird class boats,supported by ground support team, which will move along the coastal land route for immediate support.


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