Rani Rashmoni commissioned

The last of the five Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) project of Indian Coast Guard ‘Rani Rashmoni’ was commissioned into the Indian Coast Guard, here on Monday. Commissioning the FPV, Additional Director General of Coast Guard VSR Murthy said FPVs are the workhorse of the ICG.

So far four such ships such as ICGS Rani Abbakka, ICGS Rani Avanti Bai, ICGS Rani Durgavati and ICGS Rani Gaidinliu, have been commissioned and are in active service at various locations on the eastern seaboard.

The FPVs are equipped with advanced sensors and state-of-the-art equipment and are designed to perform multifarious tasks such as surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching, operations. The 51-meter ship is propelled by three MTU 4000 series diesel engines of 2720 capacity each, coupled with Rolls Royce Kamewa jets.

The patrol vessel is fitted with an advanced Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), to carry out search and rescue operations

Other features include Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Machinery Control System, Infra-red Communication System and the armament includes one CRN 91 Naval Gun along with its fire control system. The FPV was indigenously built by Hindustan Shipyard. Complementing HSL and CMD of HSL Vice Admiral LVS Babu, Mr Murthy said the shipyard has done a remarkable job in overall weight reduction and achieving the contractual speed of 34 knots.

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Battle ready: Dhanush artillery gun clears final trials

The indigenously upgraded artillery gun Dhanush has successfully completed final user trials and is ready for induction into the Army. Dhanush is an upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured by India in the mid-1980s.

The first phase of trials was conducted between July and September 2016 at the Pokhran and Babina ranges and the second phase was conducted between October and December 2016 at the Siachen base camp with three guns. A total of 1,520 rounds have been fired in all the three phases.

During the trials, the guns traveled extensively in towed/ self-propelled mode in desert and high-altitude terrains with each gun clocking over 1,000 km demonstrating their mobility.

The entire order of 114 guns is to be delivered within four years. To meet the requirement, the Board has undertaken capacity augmentation to manufacture over 400 barrels and 250 ordnances for large-caliber weapon systems, Dr. Mukherjee said, adding that the OFB was confident of producing eight to 10 guns per month within two to three years. As of now, the gun has over 80% indigenous content. The imported systems include the power pack, parts of the electronic suite, and some seals and bearings.

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Seychelles calls off military base project with India, New Delhi seeks explanation:

Seychelles has called off a deal that would have allowed India to invest $550 million (Rs 3,760 crore) in building a military base on one of its islands. President Danny Faure made the announcement on June 4, three weeks before his scheduled visit to India.

The decision by the Seychelles President to drop the deal in the face of protests over a perceived loss of sovereignty is a blow to the government’s “SAGAR” (Security and Growth for All in the Region) programme, announced by PM Modi during a visit to Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries in March 2015.

It also comes amid India’s troubles with another IOR country, the Maldives, where the government has demanded that India withdraw two helicopters, pilots, and personnel from its atolls that had been sent there to help with maritime patrols.

Discussions regarding development of Assumption Island began in 2003 but were formalized in 2015. The deal was to include a 20-year access to the base, as well as permission to station some military personnel on the ground with facilities on the island funded by India, owned by Seychelles and jointly managed by both sides.

The deal is seen as important for India because it enhances its surveillance capabilities over the Indian Ocean.

In concert with a coastal surveillance radar station already operating in Seychelles, a naval base at Agalega in Mauritius, a coastal radar station in Madagascar, an array of radars in Maldives, and a strong presence in the littoral waters of Mozambique, Delhi’s acquisition of facilities on one of the 67 raised coral islands of the Aldabra group will create an impermeable surveillance net in the southwestern and central Indian Ocean.

Assumption Island’s position dominating the Mozambique channel, a key sea lane for merchant ships, adds to India’s kitty a second potential choke point after the Strait of Malacca; the latter is dominated by India’s augmented presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain as well as with naval agreements with Vietnam and Singapore.

The Indian Ocean is important for the following reasons:

It enjoys a privileged location at the crossroads of global trade, connecting the major engines of the international economy in the Northern Atlantic and Asia-Pacific. This is particularly important in an era in which global shipping has burgeoned.

The Indian Ocean is also rich in natural resources. 40% of the world’s offshore oil production takes place in the Indian Ocean basin. Fishing in the Indian Ocean now accounts for almost 15% of the world’s total.

Mineral resources are equally important, with nodules containing nickel, cobalt, and iron, and massive sulfide deposits of manganese, copper, iron, zinc, silver, and gold present in sizeable quantities on the seabed. Indian Ocean coastal sediments are also important sources of titanium, zirconium, tin, zinc, and copper. Additionally, various rare earth elements are present, even if their extraction is not always commercially feasible.

It is a maritime initiative which gives priority to Indian Ocean region for ensuring peace, stability, and prosperity of India in Indian Ocean region. The goal is to seek a climate of trust and transparency; respect for international maritime rules and norms by all countries; sensitivity to each other`s interests; peaceful resolution of maritime issues; an increase in maritime cooperation.

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US team of experts in Delhi to discuss key military agreement

AS PART of preparations for the 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defense ministers of India and the US in Washington next month, a team of specialists from the Pentagon will be meeting their counterparts on the Indian side in Delhi from Monday to negotiate the text of a “foundational” military communications agreement.

Official sources told The Indian Express that the US team, which will include lawyers, and policy and technical experts, is scheduled to meet the Indian experts from Monday to Wednesday. They said that the US officials will try and address Indian observations on the draft Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) submitted earlier.

The resumption of talks on COMCASA signals a breakthrough in the Indian stance. After signing a military logistics agreement with the US in 2016, the Indian government was not keen on signing the two other “foundational” agreements — COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).

COMCASA essentially provides a legal framework for the transfer of communication security equipment from the US to India that would facilitate “interoperability” between Indian and US forces — and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links. It was called the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) before the name was changed to reflect its India-specific nature.

Official sources said they did not expect the finalization of the COMCASA text or its signing during the inaugural 2+2 dialogue. But an intention to sign the COMCASA in the near future could figure in the joint statement to be issued by both sides in Washington.

American officials contend that COMCASA is meant to facilitate the use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India and fully exploit their potential. India’s military, they argue, is currently dependent on commercially available and less secure communication systems on high-end American platforms like C-130Js and the P8I maritime surveillance aircraft.

But the need for signing COMCASA becomes mandatory if India is to get the armed version of the Sea Guardian drones from Washington. New Delhi has been intimated by the US officials that there is no possibility of India using the high-end drones, which is dependent on a secure data and communication system link, without signing the COMCASA.

The US had granted India the status of a ‘Major Defence Partner’ in 2016 but no tangible benefits on military technology front have come to New Delhi so far. Issues of defense cooperation between the two countries will figure during the visit of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to Washington next month for the 2+2 dialogue.

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Indian, US, Japanese maritime forces begin Malabar Exercise

Naval ships, aircraft, and personnel from India, Japan, and the US have begun exercise Malabar 2018 during which they will practice surface and anti-submarine warfare operations and combined carrier strike group operations off the coast of Guam island in the western Pacific.

The June 7-16 wargame — first after the US renamed its Hawaii-based Pacific command as the Indo-Pacific Command — is being held amid increased Chinese activities of building artificial islands in the South China Sea and sending submarines into the Indian Ocean.

Malabar will be done in two phases: ashore and at-sea training. The harbor phrase will occur at Naval Base Guam from June 7 to 10 and the sea phase from June 11 to 16 in the Philippine Sea.

Guam Island was a theatre of an intense World War II when US forces stormed in to take it from the Japanese.

While ashore in Guam, training will include subject matter expert and professional exchanges on carrier strike group operations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, surface and anti-submarine warfare, medical operations, damage control, helicopter operations and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) operations, according to a US Navy statement.

The at-sea part will see military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multinational environment.

The statement said events planned during the at-sea portions include gunnery exercises, anti-submarine warfare, air defense exercises, surface warfare exercises, helicopter cross-deck evolutions and underway replenishments.

The Malabar exercise began in 1992 as a joint Indo-US naval drill. But it was suspended from 1998 to 2002 after India conducted nuclear weapons tests in 1998. This year marks the 22nd edition of the exercise which has now become an annual feature in the deep military ties between the US and India.

Japan became a permanent participant in 2015. Australia, in the last two years, had repeatedly requested to be part of the annual drill but India again refused after China raised is concerns.

The US Navy has fielded aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), the guided-missile cruisers USS Antietam (CG 54) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), the guided-missile destroyer USS Benfold (DDG 65) and a P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

The Indian Navy has sent the INS Kamorta, the first of four anti-submarine Kamorta-class stealth corvettes; the INS Sahyadri, a Shivalik-class stealth multi-role frigate; and the Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Shakti. There is also a P-8I Neptune advanced maritime patrol/anti-submarine warfare aircraft.

Three ships from the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force are the 19,000-tonne JS Hyuga – the lead ship of the Hyuga-class of helicopter carriers; the Takanami-class guided-missile/ASW destroyer JS Suzunami; the Akizuki-class guided-missile destroyer JS Fuyuzuki; and a diesel-electric attack submarine, as well as one Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft.

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DAC approves Equipment Acquisition proposals for Defence forces

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday accorded approval for the procurement of equipment for the Defence Forces valued at over Rs 5500 crore.

Pursuing the goal of indigenization and self-reliance in the field of Defence Procurements, the DAC approved procurement of 12 High Power Radars for the Indian Air Force under ‘Buy (Indian) IDDM’ category.

The radars will provide long-range medium and high altitude radar cover with the capability to detect and track high-speed targets, following parabolic trajectories. Technologically superior, the radars will have the capability to scan 360o without the mechanical rotation of Antenna and will operate on 24 x 7 bases with minimal maintenance requirement.

Their procurement will enhance the overall efficacy of the Air Defence network in the country.

The DAC also accorded approval for procurement of Air Cushion Vehicles (ACVs) for the Indian Coast Guard and Indian Army from Indian Shipyard. These vessels would offer a great advantage over conventional boats and crafts with their ability to travel at very high speeds over shallow water, sandbanks, mud flats and swamps which are non-navigable by boats and small crafts due to draught restriction depths.

These craft offer capability enhancement for the services and would prove useful for riverine operations, especially where there is a requirement to move men and material from one island to another island, across the riverine terrain, creeks etc.

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):

To counter corruption and speed up decision- making in military procurement, the government of India in 2001 decided to set up an integrated DAC. It is headed by the Defence Minister.

The objective of the DAC is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces, in terms of capabilities sought, and time frame prescribed, by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.

The DAC is responsible to give policy guidelines to acquisitions, based on long-term procurement plans. It also clears all acquisitions, which includes both imported and those produced indigenously or under a foreign license.

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GeoIntelligence Asia 2018

The Eleventh edition of GeoIntelligence Asia 2018 organized by GeoSpatial Media and Communication with Directorate General of Information System as Knowledge Partners and Military Survey as Co-organisers, took place at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi on 04-05 June 2018.  The theme of Seminar was ‘GeoSpatial: A Force Multiplier for Defence and Internal Security’. The seminar brought together the military, security officials including BSF and Police Forces, Government and industry together to examine the latest technology solutions and on the critical role of geospatial technology in military and security applications.

Gen Bipin Rawat, Chief of the Army Staff, during his Keynote address, said that the Armed Forces are the repository of big data and there is a need to record and institutionalize the information and carry out predictive analytics using AI. He stressed on the need for collaboration with industry and academia to automate the Indian Army and emphasized the need to leverage the various technologies available in the Geo Spatial field to find solutions for the challenges faced by the Indian Army.

Geospatial Intelligence and its significance:

Geospatial intelligence is a critical foundation for many aspects of defense and internal security. It offers the capability of monitoring, predicting and countering threats while helping strategize and support various field operations.

It facilitates multi-source information sharing and integration across agencies and organizations by providing a common framework on which other information is based.

The use of big data, advanced geospatial analytics software and sophisticated imaging technologies from (very) high-resolution remote sensing satellites, UAVs, and other sensors, enables seamless flow of information in pre-, real-time and post-combat operations.

Real-time views and insights of impacted regions are key to improving emergency response times, especially in vulnerable areas such as a country’s border.

Geospatial data is invaluable to the border security operations, to deliver accurate situational awareness information, enabling quick and secure decision-making, while mitigating risks, and increasing national security.

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Maiden Test of India’s Next Gen SFDR Air to Air Missile Successful

India’s new surface-to-air missile is powered by Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology, which was jointly developed by India and Russia. The defensive weapon achieved a speed of Mach 3 during its first test flight, sources in India’s Ministry of Defense told Sputnik. The missile, which is viewed as the Indian version of the French Meteor, was launched from the Integrated Test Range facility off the coast of Odisha.

The DRDO will test other components of the missile such as its high technology seeker equipment very soon. The 250-kilogram SFDR missile has been under development since 2013.

A present lot of missiles, which use a booster/sustainer configuration with solid or liquid propellants, have limitations against maneuvering targets, since conventional missiles, at the terminal stage, cannot provide enough energy to maintain their speed in order to hit the targets. SFDR technology will exceptionally enhance endgame maneuverability at the terminal stage when the seeker is locked onto a target.

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INSV Tarini completes historic Circumnavigation

Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Tarini (INSV Tarini) entered Goa harbor and came alongside the INS Mandovi jetty on completion of a historic global circumnavigation voyage on 21 May 18. The all-women crew of Tarini was received at the jetty by Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri who had also flagged them off on 10 Sep last year.

Significance:

The expedition titled ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ is in consonance with the National policy to empower women to attain their full potential. It has showcased ‘Nari Shakti’ on the world platform and helped change societal attitudes and mindset towards women in India by raising the visibility of their participation in challenging environs.

About the Journey:

During her 254 days long voyage, the vessel has covered over 22,000 Nautical miles, visiting five countries – Australia, New Zealand, Falkland Islands (UK), South Africa and Mauritius.

During the course of her voyage, the vessel has met all criteria of circumnavigation, viz. crossing the Equator twice, crossing all Longitudes, as also the three great capes (Cape Leeuwin, Cape Horn and Cape of Good Hope).

The expedition was covered in six legs, with halts at 5 ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Port Louis (Mauritius).

INSV Tarini:

INSV Tarini is a 56-foot sailing vessel built in India by M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. It was inducted into the Indian Navy recently in February 2017. It has Raymarine navigation suite and an array of satellite communication systems for perfect navigation anywhere in the world. It showcases the ‘Make in India’ initiative on the International forum.

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ARMY FINALISES AMMUNITION PRODUCTION PROJECT

After years of deliberations, the Army has finalised a mega Rs 15,000-crore project under which a range of ammunition for its critical weapons and tanks will be produced indigenously to overcome long delays in imports and address the problem of a dwindling stockpile.

Official sources told that 11 private firms would be involved in the ambitious project, the implementation of which is being monitored by the top brass of the Army and the Defence Ministry.

The immediate aim of the closely guarded project — said to be the biggest ever initiative for the indigenisation of ammunition — is to create an inventory for all major weapons to enable the forces to fight a 30-day war while the long-term objective is to cut dependence on imports.

Initially, ammunition for a range of rockets, air defence system, artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles, grenade launchers and various other field weapons would be produced under “strict timelines”, a source said.

The production targets would be revised based on the result of the first phase of the implementation of the program.

The sources indicated the broad contours of the project were discussed at a conference of the Army’s top commanders here last month.

The initiative is seen as the first serious attempt by the government to address growing concerns voiced over the last many years by defence forces over the fast dwindling stockpile of key ammunition when China has been significantly ramping up its military capability, an issue that has been discussed by successive governments.

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been pushing for fast-tracking the procurement of weapons and ammunition for the world’s second-largest standing Army, considering the evolving security threats in the region.

In July last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), in a report tabled in Parliament, said a stock of only 61 types of ammunition out of 152 varieties was available, and these would only last for 10 days in the event of a war.

According to laid down security protocol, the stockpile should be adequate for a month-long war.

The sources said long delays in negotiations and subsequent procedural hurdles in the import of ammunition had adversely impacted the country’s defence preparedness and that was why the indigenisation program had been initiated.

Last year, the government had empowered the Army to directly procure ammunition and spares for 10 types of weapon systems and equipment after an internal review found the optimum level of “war stores” was not being maintained.

Considering the Army’s demand, the government has already finalised one of the biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which large numbers of light machine guns, battle carbines, and assault rifles are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore.

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