Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009--The Year That Was.....It Was The Year Of Chindits !!

2009, has been special and fulfilling for me, both personally and professionally. Little did I know, as I checked into the Officers Mess on Feb 7, 2009 at 2130 hrs, that I would begin receiving phone calls in an hour from print journalists about my F-16 sortie the next day on Feb 8, 2009, which later got postponed to Feb 9, something that would change my life. My unbelievable dream and passion of experiencing a sortie in a fighter was coming true, and with it TV interviews, random people in Aero India getting themselves photographed with me, children asking me for autographs, hitting international headlines, and finally this year my entry in Limca Book of Records !!

After hitting page 1 the next day, I was approached by MiG for a flight in 35, and they chose Friday the 13th of Feb.

This flight takes me into Limca Book this year !!

My dream to test the masculine Sukhoi came true on Aug 22, 2009, when I got the opportunity finally in MAKS-2009, as was announced by Irkut in Bangalore in February to all the newspapers about Moscow inviting me for the air show. After coming back from Moscow, I found all the other aircraft feminine in front of the mighty Sukhoi..:)))

This was the most fulfilling as here there was no pilot flying me but
here I was walking on my own, experiencing the hardships of the Glacier, on those 122 kilometers to and fro, and getting to know things first hand.

I got to do things in 2009, which a lot of people can only think of. I've been humbled by each of these as I also learnt to distinguish between activity and achievement. A lot of events are lined up for 2010, but what remains to be seen is whether they would be as fulfilling and satisfying as the ones in 2009 or not !!

ALH Complete High-Alti Op-Validation, Await CEMILAC Certification

The operational validation of the Advanced Light Helicopter-Dhruv (ALH) has been completed and the data compiled by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) personnel is with the Bangalore-based Center for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), awaiting approval before induction of the new engine.

The validation tests included high altitude under high temperature, low temperature and increased payload with the new Shakti engine, which has been developed jointly by HAL with assistance from the French Turbomeca. The twin-engined helicopter uses the TM333 2B2 engine, but an advanced engine was required for high altitude, which had more power, hence the original engine was replaced by the new one, after more than 200 helicopters have been fitted with it.

An HAL source told People's Post that with the new engine, the chopper has been able to carry more than 200 kilograms, and has shown successful flights to heights upto 20,000 feet in high temperature and low temperatures, adding that the power of the engine decreases in high altitude in high temperature, due to which the need for a more powerful engine was felt. The low altitude high temperature trials were conducted in Nagpur. These tests were basically for utility purpose, as the choppers would be used in a utility role, which are casualty evacuation and supply dropping, which the single-engined Chetaks and Cheetahs have been performing, but they need replacement now.

The 159 helicopters made by HAL would be divided among the army aviation and the Indian Air Force (IAF). There would be about two squadrons of the army in high altitude areas, while the chopper already has three functional squadrons. The Leh-based 203 Squadron would have its Dhruv helicopters fitted with the new Shakti engine, thereby replacing the existing ones.

The validation tests have been going on for about a year, and after the certification of the new engine from CEMILAC, the choppers would be inducted into service, which is most likely in early 2010. The Indian Army has projected its need for 197 choppers to replace its existing fleet of Chetaks and Cheetahs, besides the indigenous ALH Dhruv.

The army has around 170 Chetaks and Cheetahs and operates approximately 12 squadrons around the country. The Dhruv underwent weaponisation tests in Bangalore, two years back, where the chopper was loaded with weapons and powered by the new Shakti engine. The helicopter developed by HAL, were introduced for the first time in 2002, in the IAF, army and later even the Ministry of Home. The turret, air-to-air missiles and guns have all been tested successfully, and the choppers are awaiting the indigenous anti-tank missile Nag, renamed 'Helina' to be finally tested and integrated.

The helicopters suffered a major set-back in its export programme after it crashed in Ecuador in November 2009, the reason for which was ascertained as pilot error. Ecuador had purchased seven choppers earlier this year. A thorough investigation was carried out by a HAL team to ensure that the crash didn't affect the prospects of further export of the helicopter in other countries, most of whom were South American, who had showed interest in the chopper. Earlier a South American country had cancelled its order for the indigenous chopper in favour of the American Bell.

There is talk of the helicopters in the Manasbal-based 202 Squadron also being replaced with the new engines. Sources have also indicated the coming up of an Operational Squadron in the high altitude area, comprising the weaponised Dhruv with the new Shakti engine, in due course. The Nasik-based squadron is 201, which has the original engine on it. A new squadron is being raised in Bangalore shortly.

Copyright: People's Post

*Flash* - MoD Cancels EADS Airbus Refueller RFP as Finance Min Objects To High Price

The Indian Air Force (IAF)'s proposal put up with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to purchase purchase of six flight refuelling aircraft(FRA), has been cancelled due to its high price as objected to by the Ministry of Finance. The Request For Proposal (RFP) or tender was retracted after it reached its final stages of obtaining the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS) by the MoD.

The spanner in the works was put by the Finance Ministry, who did not support the proposal as the final negotiated cost of aircraft offered by EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company), a European consortium, was overpriced. The cost is said to be nearly 10 times higher than IL-78 air-to-air refuellers of Russian origin, which presently are in the IAF's inventory. The mid-air refuellers form two squadrons in the IAF, which help fighter jets to be airborne for a longer duration by refuelling them in mid-air.

Its a great setback for EADS as this is the second time the Governmnet cancelled the high-valued deal after reaching the final stage (two year duration) due to genuine reasons. It is expected that the new global tender will be floated within a month, according to sources.

The one billion dollar deal was progressing as per the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2006, but Defence Minister A K Antony had informed in Parliament, in the last session, that the Finance Ministry's approval was awaited.

The six EADS Airbus 330 refuelling tanker transport aircraft were exceeding the estimated price of the deal. The IAF had indicated its choice of the aircraft over the existing IL-78 refuelling tankers, which is why the Russian aircraft were not allowed to participate in the bid. The EADS 330 aircraft are capable of refuelling all types of fighter aircraft, which are in the inventory of the IAF and those yet to join.

Copyright: People's Post

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Year End Review---MoD-2009

Nuclear Powered Submarine, INS ‘ARIHANT’ Launched

India’s first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’, meaning ‘Destroyer of the Enemies’, was launched on July 26,2009, at the Ship Building Center, Visakhapatnam. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while congratulating, made a special mention of the cooperation extended by Russia.

The 6,000 ton ‘Arihant’ is undergoing trials for two years before its commissioning.

Keel Laying Ceremony Of Indigenous Aircraft Carrier

On February 28,2009 the keel was laid in Kochi for the first indigenous aircraft carrier, making India the fourth nation to join a select club of designers and builders of over 40,000 tonne Aircraft Carriers. The ship will carry 30 aircraft including Mig-29Klub, LCA Tejas and Kamov Ka-31 helicopters and include a complement of 1,600 crew. The carrier is the largest vessel for which construction has been undertaken at any Indian shipyard.

Commissioning Of Landing Ship Tank, INS AIRAVAT.

INS Airavat, the third Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Shardul class was commissioned in May. As a platform designed for amphibious operations the ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea.

Four Fast Attack Craft namely INS Cora Divh, Cheriyam, Carnicobar and Chetlat were also commissioned over the year.

MiG-29K Arrival

The first batch of three MiG-29K aircraft were received on December 04, 2009 at INS Hansa Goa. A total of 16 aircraft have been contracted from MiG RAC. These aircraft will be flown intensively after their acceptance.

Contract For the Indian Navy's Patrol Aircraft

A contract was signed in January with Boeing Industries for eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft worth $2.137 Billion. Delivery of aircraft is scheduled between 2013-15.

Naval Academy At Ezhimala

The Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala was commissioned on January 08, 2009. This Academy named INS Zamorin will be the largest officer-training Naval Academy in Asia. The Academy, spread over an area of 2452 acres along the North Malabar coastline, would be conducting a four year 'B Tech' programme in 'Electronics and Communications' and 'Mechanical Engineering' for naval cadets.

First Batch Of Women Observers Join Indian Navy

Two lady officers were inducted as the first women Observers of the Indian Navy. Sub Lieutenant Seema Rani Sharma and Sub Lieutenant Ambica Hooda were awarded ‘Wings’ on November 20, 2009.

Coastal Security

In June a meeting chaired by the Defence Minister AK Antony decided to set up a high level committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to review the measures taken for coastal security at regular intervals. The other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, Secretaries of all concerned Ministries such as Defence, Home, Petroleum and Chief Secretaries of Coastal States.

Anti-Piracy Operations

The Indian Navy maintained one ship on anti-piracy patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden throughout the year. During the year the Indian Naval warships escorted over 700 merchant vessels through the treacherous Gulf of Aden. About 14 piracy attempts were successfully thwarted by the Indian Navy.

From early November an additional ship has been deployed to patrol the maritime areas of Seychelles and Mauritius to counter the increasing cases of piracy in these areas.

First Of The IAF AWACS Arrive In India

The first of the three Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform arrived in India from Israel in May. Three Mig-29 and Jaguar aircraft escorted the giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar, each that took off from an advanced fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC). Their maiden touchdown on Indian soil also marked the first landing of the AWACS in an IAF airbase.

IAF Reactivates Airfields In Ladakh

On September 18, 2009 an IAF AN-32 aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in eastern Ladakh. Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this was for the first time that a fixed-wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the Line of Actual Control at an altitude of 13,300 feet. It marked the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

The landing came 15 months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.

SU-30MKI Inducted In Tezpur

The Su-30 MKI aircraft were formally inducted at Air Force Station Tezpur on 15 June 2009, following the upgrade of the airbase in the northeast.

President Inducts VVIP Boeing Business Jets 747/700 Into the IAF

President Pratibha Patil inducted the new state-of-the-art VVIP jet into the IAF on April 1, 2009. The President later undertook a flight to Assam aboard the new Boeing 747/700, christened as ‘Rajdoot’. The sparkling white 60-passenger-capacity aircraft, designed on the lines of the US President’s Air Force One and equipped with a wide range of security cover and latest communication devices, replaces the Boeing 737.

President Flies In A Su-30MKI, Boards Aircraft Carrier INS VIRAAT

The President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil became the first woman President anywhere across the world to fly a fighter jet. She undertook the historic 20 minute sortie on the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Lohegaon airbase, Pune on November 25. Next month the President boarded the INS Viraat, India’s only aircraft carrier, and witnessed the operation of Sea Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing fighter jets from its decks. The 50-year-old 28,000 tonnes aircraft carrier rejoined the Indian Navy in August after a year-long refit at the Cochin Shipyard.

MMRCA Flight Trials Begin

The Indian Air Force began flight evaluation tests for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in August. US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French Dassault, Swedish SAAB, European consortium EADS and Russian MiG are vying for the deal worth around Rs. 48,000 crore ($10.2 billion). The IAF hopes to complete the tests by April, 2010.

IAF Efforts In Eclipse Study

The Indian Air Force successfully undertook sorties to help Indian scientists study the total solar eclipse that took place on July 23. Two separate missions from Agra and Gwalior were flown along the path of the moon’s shadow, a mission that was deemed hugely successful by scientists associated with the experiment. While one AN-32 transport aircraft carrying scientific equipment, cameras and scientists that took off from Agra landed back after a three-hour flight, a Mirage-2000 trainer from Gwalior took spectacular images of the celestial spectacle from 40,000 feet. With weather being clear at the altitudes and coordinates planned by the IAF pilots, both AN-32 and Mirage-2000 pilots were able to accomplish the mission successfully.

Army Raises First Armoured Regiment Of MBT Arjun

History of sorts was made on May 25 when the Indian Army proudly equipped itself with the first Armoured Regiment of the indigenously built Main Battle Tank, Arjun. The development marked the fruition of 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds. 16 tanks (cumulative 45 Arjun tanks) were handed over to Lt.Gen.D.Bhardwaj, DGMF, towards formation of the 1st Arjun regiment at a function in Avadi, Tamil Nadu. MBT Arjun is the state-of-art main battle tank designed and developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi along with other DRDO and industrial partners. MBT Arjun is provided with excellent mobility, superior firepower and protection and its features are comparable to contemporary tanks operated by cavalries around the world.

Indigenously Built T-90 ‘BHISHMA’ Tanks Roll Out

India rolled out its first batch of the indigenous, Russian-designed T-90 tanks in August, which will be the country’s main battle tank over the next three decades. The successor to the T-72 tanks, the T-90 - renamed Bhishma after the Mahabharat stalwart - is the one of the most advanced tanks in the world.

Army's Efforts To Restore Normalcy In J and K

The terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have drastically come down and infiltration has been largely checked, thanks to the strict vigil on the Line of Control maintained by the Indian Army. In view of the improved situation in the state, the Army withdrew two Divisions comprising closed to 30,000 troops.

Third Successful Test Of Ballistic Missile Interceptor

India inched closer towards its endeavour to put in place its own home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence System by successfully carrying out the third Interceptor test on March 06, 2009 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island in Orissa. The two-stage Interceptor Missile fitted with advanced systems hit the target enemy missile at 75 kms altitude. This third consecutive interception of Ballistic Missiles once again demonstrated the robustness of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.

Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 Released

An updated and revised Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 was released on October 29, and it came into effect in November. It promotes indigenous defence industry, ensure transparency and accountability in all procurement cases and liberalizes Offset provisions to enable vendors to fulfil their obligations. The amended DDP-2009 introduced a new category named ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ which enables indigenous private and public industry to enter into joint ventures with foreign suppliers by Transfer of Technology and not by Research and Development.

Armed Forces Tribunal Inaugurated

The long-awaited Armed Forces tribunal was inaugurated by the President Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil on August 07, 2009. Set up by an Act of parliament in December, 2007, the Armed Forces Tribunal has its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country. It has been followed with the setting up of the Tribunal’s regional benches in Chandigarh, Jaipur, Lucknow, Kolkata and Chennai. The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, - three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi.

Rescue and Relief During 'AILA' Cyclone

Acting upon the request of the West Bengal government, the Ministry of Defence dispatched medical teams of the Armed Forces personnel to the devastating cyclone ‘Aila’ affected areas of North and South 24 Parganas districts of the state in June. Many columns of the Army and several divers from the Indian Navy were also engaged in providing relief and rescue.

In February the IAF also launched Operation Humsafar to supply food and medicines to the snowbound remote areas of Doda district.

Aid To War Ravaged Sri Lanka

On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, medical teams from Armed Forces were sent to war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. Indian Air Force IL-76 transport aircraft airlifted several tones of medical aid to Colombo in March.

Joint Exercises

The Indian Army conducted the joint exercise ‘YUDH ABHYAS-09’ with the US Army at Babina near Jhansi in October, towards coordinated peacekeeping and disaster relief operation. A Mechanised Infantry Battalion of Indian Army and 2nd Squadron of 14 CAV of 254 Stryker Brigade Combat Team comprising 325 US troops participated in this exercise. The Indian and Maldivian troops conducted ‘EKUVERIN-09’ exercise in Belgaum.

Exercise COPE INDIA 2009 was held in October at Agra between IAF and US Air Force. Six IAF Jaguars participated in a joint Air Exercise with the Royal Air Force of Oman at Thumrait, Oman the same month. Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet Task Force comprising four warships carried out joint exercise ‘SIMBEX 09’ in March with the Singapore Navy. The Fleet also exercised with the US and Japanese Navies under the aegis of the MALABAR exercise. Additionally enroute, the fleet conducted exercises with the navies of Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia. On the other hand, a Western Fleet Task Force comprising four ships were deployed to Europe from May, 2009. The fleet ships touched over 15 ports and in addition to having dedicated joint operations with the Royal Navy and the French Navy under the codenames ‘Konkan’ and ‘Varuna’ the ships also conducted exercises enroute with 12 different navies viz. the Algerian Navy, Portugese Navy, German Navy, Turkish Navy, Israeli Navy, Russian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Spanish Navy, Moroccon Navy, Hellenic Navy, Egyptian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman.

Indian Naval warships and aircraft also conducted joint surveillance of the extensive Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. Our ships conducted coordinated patrols with the navies of Thailand and Indonesia.

Seperate Pay Commission For Armed Forces Announced

In a New Year bonanza for the Armed Forces on January 1, 2009, the Prime Minister’s Office informed the Defence Ministry that the Armed Forces personnel would henceforth have a separate Pay Commission, which is delinked from the civilian pay panel. On April 21 the Government notified Pay Band-4A with a Grade Pay of Rs 8000 for Lieutenant Colonels and equivalents in Navy and Air Force, which benefitted about 15,000 officers. Later the Government approved higher wages under the Sixth Pay Commission for Lieutenant Generals and equivalent officers, putting them at par with the Director Generals of Police, a key demand of the Armed Forces. About 33 per cent of the total number of Lt Generals in the Army, Air Marshals in the IAF and Vice Admirals in the Navy, were granted the Higher Administrative Grade (HAG) Plus scales.


The 7th Edition of Aero India, Asia’s premier Air Show, was held in Bengaluru from February 11 to 15, 2009. In size and number, this was the biggest air show, hosted by India so far. 592 exhibitors from 25 countries participated at the show. A number of aircraft including F-16, F-18, MiG-35D, Eurofighter, IJT, ALH Dhruv, AJT Hawk, C-17, Embraer 135 Business Jet Legacy 600, C-130J Hercules, Citation XLS,G 550, AN-12 Cargo and A-310 MRTT were on display. Defence Ministers of France, Peru, Bolivia, Surinam, Mongolia, Oman and Maldives came for the show. Besides high level delegations from 40 countries also attended the Show.

Sainik Samachar Centenary

The Armed Forces Journal ‘Sainik Samachar’ celebrated its Centenary on January 2, 2009. Sainik Samachar had started as Fauji Akhbar, an Urdu weekly on January 2, 1909, with an aim to provide Army personnel with ‘a summary of news with a military bias’. It was re-christened as Sainik Samachar on April 04, 1954. The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony released a Coffee Table Book ‘Soldiering On...’ on the occasion.

Indian Armed Forces Contingent Participates In French National Day Parade

A 400-strong contingent of the Indian Armed Forces comprising marching columns and a combined military band from the Army, Air Force and Navy participated in the French National Day parade on July 14, 2009 in Paris. This was the first time an Indian military contingent was accorded the honour. The contingent was commanded by Air Commodore RK Mathur.

Antony Takes Over As Defence Minister For The Second Time

Following the resounding win of the United Progressive Alliance in the April-May General Elections to the 15th Lok Sabha, Shri AK Antony took over as the Defence Minister for the second time on May 25, 2009. Shri Antony has been at the helm of the Defence Ministry since October 25, 2006.


Pradeep Kumar took over as the Defence Secretary on July 31 following the superannuation of Vijay Singh. Shri Kumar was already working as Secretary (Defence Production) in the Ministry of Defence. Earlier on May 31, Air Chief Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik took charge as the 19th Chief of Air Staff from Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and later the Navy got Admiral Nirmal Verma as its new chief, following the superannuation of Admiral Sureesh Chopra.

Eminent missile scientist Dr. Vijay Kumar Saraswat took over as the new head of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Shri M Natarajan on September 1, 2009. Dr. Saraswat spearheaded the development of country’s strategic and tactical missile systems including the ‘Agni’ series of strategic missiles covering a range up to 3,000 kms.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Nerpa Nuclear`Attack Submarine Commissioned Into Russian Navy--Ria Novosti

Russia's Nerpa nuclear attack submarine, damaged in a fatal accident during tests in November last year, has entered service with the Russian Navy after successful trials.

The submarine was officially commissioned in the town of Bolshoy Kamen in the Primorye Territory in the Russian Far East, home to the Amur shipyard Vostok repair facility which carried out the submarine's repairs.

On November 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials, its onboard fire suppression system activated, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three crew members and 17 shipyard workers were killed. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, onboard the vessel at the time.

Following repairs, which cost an estimated 1.9 billion rubles ($65 million), the submarine had been cleared for final sea trials.

The final sea trials had showed that the Nerpa nuclear submarine was ready to enter service with the Russian Navy.

The submarine will be subsequently leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra. India reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine.

Akula II class vessels are considered the quietest and deadliest of all Russian nuclear-powered attack submarines.

VLADIVOSTOK, December 28 (RIA Novosti)

Friday, December 25, 2009

RFP For New Jaguar Engine Early Next Year

The more than two decade old deep penetration strike fighter aircraft Jaguar are awaiting the nod of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to be fitted with a brand new engine which has more thrust, so as to give the fighter an uplift. In the fray are two competitors, UK-based Rolls Royce and the American Honeywell, who are hoping that the mid-life upgrade request for proposal (RFP or tender) worth a billion dollars, would be out in early 2010.

The 125 twin-engined aircraft, will all have the new engines, while the avionics upgrade will be done by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). Called Darin-3, the avionics upgrade stands for display attack range inertial navigation.

Honeywell has offered its F-125, which is a high performance low bypass ratio turbofan engine, capable of incorporating a three-stage fan and five-stage axi-centrifical high pressure compressor, while Rolls Royce is offering the Adour MK871, which it claims has an increased weight, thrust and payload capacity, required.

Images:Antony Reviews POP at AFA, Dundigal---(luckily doesn't faint this time !!!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Officer Shortage Hampers Regular Cadre

To strengthen the support cadre of the Indian Army, and to tackle shortage of officers, a proposal has been put up with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), to increase the intake of short service commission (SSC) officers into the army, by making the entry more lucrative. The AG Branch of the army has made the move to reverse the ratio of the regular cadres as against the support cadre officers. The regular cadre is formed by the permanent commission officers, mainly through ex-NDA (National Defence Academy) and ex-ACC (Army Cadet College) officers, while the supporting cadre is the SSC entry, SCO (Special Commission Officers) and SL (Special List) entries.

As of now the regular cadre is twice the support cadre, which is to be reversed as per the proposal of the army, so that the shortage, which is around 11,000 officers, can be taken care of as the middle rung is where the shortage is and needs to be supported. The bulk of the fighting force is formed by the middle rung officers. SSC officers, which were earlier being commissioned for 14 years, have now been given the option of quitting after 10 years, so that lateral absorption in services outside or in the private sector can be done. The army has also come up with attractive proposals like medical, canteen and other ex-servicemen benefits for the short service officers, in order to attract them to the army. One of the proposals is to give these short service officers two-year study leave towards the end of their tenure, so that they can find alternate vocations once they quit service. Many of them opt for permanent regular cadre, all of whom are absorbed as of now, but the Army wants to do away with the entire short service over a period of time, so as to have regular permanent commission officers, who have a mandatory service period of 20 years.

An AG Branch officer told People's Post,"Candidates just don't want to opt for the defence forces, therefore it is necessary that the offer be made attractive for them. A lumpsum amount is also being proposed, which can be paid to them. But still the Officers Training Academy in Chennai, less than half of the candidates joined against its sanctioned strength."

Defence Minister A K Antony said in Parliament recently that," The implementation of the recommendations of VIth Central Pay Commission will also go a long way in attracting youth," but at the same time also announced that OTA Chennai could attract only 315 cadets as against its strength of 700, this year, which is the lowest in the past four years.

Officers Training Academy, Gaya, is due for commencing training from next year, but what worries the AG Branch is where would the cadets be brought in from, for training, since not many graduates are applying for commission in the army. There is a proposal to shift certain entries from the Dehradun-based Indian Military Academy to Gaya, for training. The IMA has entries like the ex-NDA, ACC-Wing, SCO, SL, Technical Entry Scheme (TES)-10+2, the technical graduates and the Direct Entry permanent commission entries. The ACC entry is about training young PBORs (Personnel Below Officer Ranks) for four years before commissioning them as officers, while SCO and SL entries are PBORs with a substantial amount of service behind them, and getting trained for a year before being commissioned as officers. The NDA entry cadets come to IMA for a year, after three years in NDA, before getting commissioned.Technical graduates are engineers from colleges outside, joining as engineering officers after a year of training in IMA, while the TES-10+2 is taking students after school and training them as engineers in army establishments before commissioning them.

More recently the army has given the option to short service officers to quit after 10 years as against 14 years, so that it gives an opportunity to the young men to find a suitable job outside at the right age, while the earlier mandatory 14 years of service would leave the officer much older for the private sector. An officer said, "Now they would be in a position to go outside and begin afresh while age wuld be on thier side, though the organistaion doesnt benefit much, but then a win-win cannot be achieved as either the officer loses out on age in the mandatory 14 years service or it is the organisation which is losing out now in the mandatory 10 years of service."

There is no move to induct women in combat arms, but there is a study being conducted to increase their role. As of now only two branches have permanent commission for women officers, the JAG and the Education Corps, but there is a move to have them as permanent officers in regular cadre in more branches.

The idea to have a larger support cadre is to utilise the services of short service officers, and to ease them out with good perks, so that the regular cadre which comes up for promotions, doesnt face a bottle neck and also the short service officers can leave without getting into senior selection courses like the Staff College, Senior and Higher Commands, and there is enough space for the regular cadre officers to compete and get promoted.

Calling it a 'Peel Factor', an AG Branch officer explained that the idea is that the aspirations of both, the officer and the organisation, are met, and the officer 'peels' off after certain number of years, with benefits for him, and finds himself gainfully employed outside.

Copyright: People's Post

One Idiot !!!

Aamir Khan, 44, was recently denied permission to visit the Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA), where he wanted to spend a day with Gentlemen Cadets (GCs), obviously to promote his film '3 Idiots', before which he was denied permission to visit the Delhi-based Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) to interact with students, again with the same aim. Earlier he was denied permission to interact with college students in 2006 when 'Rang de Basanti' hit the theaters. Nothing can be more embarrassing for an actor than being turned down from eveywhere, to promote his film, euphemistically stating security.

I find Aamir quite 'the idiot' when he approaches respectable institutions like the OTA, through the Ministry of Defence (MoD), and expects them to oblige him. It is difficult to comprehend what would Aamir, who is not even a graduate, interact about and motivate the GCs of premiere military training institutions of this country. He comes from a film family and is not even remotely connected with the defence services. Though the actor has played a college student in most of his films, which could his hidden desire of being associated with higher education since he himself could not go beyond school, but playing characters in movies of a college student doesn't make an actor eligible for interaction with students of a B-School or a Commerce college.

The closest Aamir has come to the defence forces in his movies is his role of an IPS officer in Sarfarosh or being an IAF MiG-21 pilot's friend in Rang de Basanti, where the friends kill the Defence Minister to avenge the pilot's fatal crash or on NDTV's Jai Jawan. Though the polite reason given was security hazard, but is it that difficult to understand why the actor was denied permission to interact with students for the same movie, and now with GCs of OTA, who maybe overawed by a Bollywood actor but guess the MoD knows better how to motivate and inspire them.

Security may not have been a big deal was back in the 1960s, when actors Sadhna and Sunil Dutt were invited to entertain troops in the valley, but serious and senior actors of integrity seemed to be the order of the day, then, which was later explained by Dutt's undefeated position as a Congress MP from Mumbai, till he died. So much for the actor's popularity resulting from his sincerity, which was duly regarded. In Tangdhar there is a place which was named after the yesteryear actress Sadhna, as 'Sadhna Pass', after her visit there.

Having served as an Directing Staff in the Dehradun-based Indian Military Academy (IMA), I know for a fact that actors were never high priority as far as picking up guests for lectures and interactions were concerned. During my time, I've attended lectures by senior IPS officers, bureacrats, both retired and serving, other government officials of eminence. Sharon Prabhakar once performed during the IMA GCs Ball, before the passing out parade.

The only actor I have heard underwent a three-month crash course in the Belgaum-based Commando School, was Nana Patekar for his film Prahar, based on a similar subject.Aamir, who is trying every trick in the book to promote his film, even if that means putting a hotel owner in Varanasi in trouble as cops question him about allowing a guest without checking his credentials, is nothing new, as the this happened in 2006 during the release of Rang de Basanti, when not only a special screening for the three service Chiefs was organised, but also there was an attempt to rope them in the publicity of the film as it was making an entry into the Oscars, that year. A letter from the Director of the film requested the Chiefs to be part of the promo video, which was declined.

Aamir doesn't have experience of even one full day in any hard hitting military combat zone, which is understandable as his profession doesn't permit and also there has been no need, given that the acfor has never played a role anywhere closer to a military person, and has largely stuck to college boyish-romances, which is why the consecrated environs of these old military academies, which carry a legacy and have a large heritage, should be left as they are, untampered.

Rare Photo of the T-33's Last Flight, Taken in July 1996 in Formation with F-16 VISTA

The above is a historic picture sourced from retired Air Marshal Philip Rajkumar's - 'The Tejas Story:The Light Combat Aircraft Project', in which the F-16 and the T-33 flew in formation for the last time, as the T-33 was phased out and donated to the USAF museum at Dayton, Ohio.

While Air Marshal Rajkumar (the author of the book) flew the T-33 with Lou Knotts, Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (India's first cosmonaut) flew the VISTA with John Ball. The above flight was undertaken to test the CLAW (Control Law) of the Tejas.

This particular photograph has found its way into aviation journals and historical records.

Air Marshal Rajkumar, who retired in 2003 as Director of ADA, came up with this book in 2008, which deals with the problems of the LCA's FCS and how they overcame it. The officer spent nine years with the LCA-Tejas programme from 1994-2003.

9 Corps GOC likely as the next MS...btw Avadhesh Prakash's Last Name Is Also Agarwal !!

This is for the anonymous commenters who think Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash's full name has been put here with a motive as caste-based divisive politics is at play. This is to connect Lt Gen Prakash and Dilip Agarwal, the land broker in the scam, who facilitated the deal. Since the MS doesnt write his full name, therefore people do not know about it, which is evident as none of my defence journalist brothers have been able to bring this out. And now will all those idiot anons shut up!

The name doing the rounds to replace Lieutenant General Avadhesh Prakash as the new Military Secretary is Lt Gen G M Nair, presently the GOC of 9 Corps, based in Yol Cantt, HP.

Sources have said that though Lt Gen Avadhesh Prakash has a little more than a month to superannuate, but it is quite likely that he may be moved out earlier, which is what explains Lt Gen Nair's frequent visits to South Block. Lt Gen Nair is former CABS Director and was in South Block before taking over as GOC 9 Corps.

I bumped into him sometime back in the corridors of South Block and even congratulated him in advance, to which he just smiled. I've known him since his CABS days.

(Mallu lobby seems to be increasing in the national security set-up !!!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Irkutsk Corporation Announces Conclusion Of State Tests of Yak-130 Combat Trainer

The Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Colonel General Alexander Zelin, has signed the certificate stating the conclusion of the state joint tests of the combat-trainer aircraft Yak-130. This document allows operation of Yak-130 aircraft in units of the Air Force of the Russian Federation for training and combat purposes. It is the first plane completely designed and constructed during the Post-Soviet period.Yak-130 is on offer to the Indian Air Force as replacement of the AJT.

Court Martial Places JAG Lady Officer Under Arrest

In an unprecedented move, for the first time in the history of Indian Army, a Court – martial placed JAG lady officer, a witness, under arrest.

Pursuant to orders, Maj Rajshri of Judge Advocate General’s Dept, AAG (Legal) Headquarters Bengal Area, Kolkata, appeared as a witness to depose before a General Court Martial, being held at Panagarh(West Bengal) under Eastern Command where Lt Col Virender Mohan, AJAG HQ Eastern Command was the Judge Advocate.

During her deposition, it is alleged that on some issue verbal altercation took place between the court and Maj Rajshri. Taking it as Contempt of Court, an offence punishable under Army Act Section 59, the Court - martial placed her under arrest which has created a sensation in the Command.

Maj Rajshri is a responsible officer of Judge Advocate General’s Dept and holds very important position of legal adviser to the GoC Bengal Area. In the history of Court-martials, a witness has never been placed under arrest.

As per Army Rule 150 (1) ‘If the person who appears to have committed the offence is subject to the Act, the court may bring his conduct to the notice of the proper military authority……….. .’. In cases involving assault and affray, such persons can always be placed under arrest by the court and matter referred to competent military authority. But witnesses are never placed under arrest by the Court-martial. The court was under solemn duty to refer the matter to GoC Bengal Area for further disciplinary proceedings against Maj Rajshri, if any.

Principles of natural justice demand that nobody should be condemned unheard whereas court-martial adjudicated the matter assuming the roles of complainant, investigator, prosecutor and judge. She has been punished and her reputation tarnished without giving her an opportunity to face the charge and defend herself through a counsel of her choice which amounts to denial of basic fundamental rights and legal safeguards.

Lt Col Virender Mohan is the same officer against whom Capt Rajni Sharma had submitted complaint of sexual harassment while they were posted at HQ 16 CORPS in J&K. The matter was investigated by a Court of Inquiry where Maj Rajshri had also made statement. He was indicted and punished with ‘Recordable Severe Displeasure’ because of which he could not get further promotion. The action of placing her under arrest appears to be tainted with malafide intentions of Lt Col Virender Mohan. Under normal circumstances, she wound not have been arrested.

LtCol Virender Mohan was SO-Legal in IMA, Dehradun, when I was employed there as a Directing Staff-Academics, and the officer has had a reputation of misbehaviour with ladies, right from that time. I've worked with him and therefore I know him well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Kaveri-Snecma JV Try Back-door Entry In LCA

Indian Air Force (IAF) has submitted a report to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) about how the Justify Fullpresent engine in the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter aircraft, the American GE 404, does not meet the requirements of the IAF, and that the indigenous Kaveri engine has design problems, both of which are being seriously considered by the Government.

On December 14, Defence Minister A K Antony made a statement in Lok Sabha that the proposal put forth by Bangalore-based GTRE (Gas Turbine Research Establishment), of a joint venture between Kaveri and Snecma of France to bail out Kaveri, was under consideration by the Government, adding that the tender for 99 engines to be delivered by the winning company, both of whom have responded for commercial and technical proposals along with technology transfer. The competing concerns are the American GE F414 from General Electric Aviation and the German EJ200 from Eurojet.

The first 40 LCA aircraft will be powered by the American GE 404, while the ones after that would have either the American GE F414 from General Electric Aviation, or the German EJ200 from Eurojet, both of whom have responded to the tender floated by the Indian Government for a new engine for the aircraft, as the Kaveri-Snecma tie-up too was put down by Air Headquarters.

The Kaveri-Snecma joint venture has been criticised by the IAF on grounds that Snecma, which is a derivative of the M-88 engine developed for the Rafale aircraft, has a similar core like that of the Kaveri engine and the joint venture involves GTRE building the peripheral of the core, which would not solve the purpose of having the joint venture, but would basically be the license production of Snecma, for which around 300 orders are being envisaged by Snecma before it enters into this license production.

A senior IAF officer told People's Post, "Jet engine making is a complex technology, which as of today is mastered only by four countries in the world, USA, UK, Russia and France. GTRE has spent 40 years trying to make jet engines and about 1500 crores on the Kaveri programme. While the LCA is yet to meet the IAF's air staff requirements (ASR) in acceleration, sustained turn rate and other parameters, its performance is no better than the MiG-21 'Bison', the thrust of the GE 404 engine being used in it now is not enough as the aircraft is heavy." By the inclusion of Snecma, the purpose of indigenisation is defeated by the GTRE and even if Snecma is involved, it will not disclose its core technology, which amounts to nothing but license production, he added.

A jet engine has two parts, cold and hot part, where the hot part forms the core of the engine where combustion and the thermodynamics of the engine take place. The LCA requires an engine with more than 90 KN thrust, while the Kaveri and GE 404 are less than that.

It is reportedly learnt that GTRE has agreed to de-link Kaveri from LCA, but has put in a proposal that when the first 40 GE 404 engines in the initial two squadrons of the LCA for the IAF, get phased out should be replaced by the Kaveri-Snecma, in future.

The contract for the new engines is to be signed by mid-2010, while the modified aircraft frame and engine trials would take four years, before serial production begins. The weight of the LCA is nine tons and is being considered to be reduced by 150 kgs. Whichever engine the indigenous aircraft is powered by finally, weight reduction and other modifications would be required which would push back this already delayed project of the DRDO.

Copyright: People's Post

Exclusive: ATV's 20 Percent Criticality Certification Completed, Reactor To Begin In A Year !

Twenty percent of the safety and criticality certification of the country's first ever indigenous nuclear submarine, INS Arihant, has taken place, of the 100 odd systems which need to be certified by nuclear agencies before the propulsion system of the submarine begins functioning. Complete certification of all systems will take more than a year. The tests are being carried out at the Vishakhapatnam-based Ship Building Center.

Sources have confirmed to People's Post that the safety aspect of all the systems of the submarine are being tested in harbour before the reactor is switched on, so as to avoid any mishap, which is the normal practice worldwide.This safety certification would be given by the Russian OKBM, BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Center) and naval agencies dealing with nuclear technology. Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, said earlier this month that INS Arihant would be operational in two years, which implies that the reactor of the submarine would be put to test before she sails out to sea for sea trials.

Systems like cooling, safety, turbines, gear box, criticality of the fission material in the reactor, functioning of the compartments under radiation pressure will all be tested. Flushing, a phenomenon of cleaning any foreign particle which might obstruct the fission of the reactor, is being carried out, an officer told People's Post.

The reactor of the 'indigenous' INS Arihant, bought from the Russian OKBM through Rubin, located in the sixth compartment of the 8-compartment hull of the nuclear submarine, will get started once the clearance comes, said an officer, adding that before that nothing could be done, and the real trials would begin once the reactor begins, but all safety aspects have to be kept in mind. The reactor controlled by the CRDM--Controlled Red Drive Mechanism, has got neutrons seperated from the fissionable material by cadmium rods, which are removed when the reactor is to be started, and thus the reactor or the heart of the submarine begins, thereby beginning the electricity, and all other operations of the submarine. Vice Admiral B Kannan, heading the project, has admitted that the submarine is 40 percent indigenous while Russian help has been taken for the remaining 60 percent.

All those working around the submarine are supposed to wear dose recording meters,. to record how much radiation has gone into the body and if it is not within permissible limits, the personnel will be removed from the site.

There are other gadgets also to be worn at all time by those inside the sub.

The submarine has lead, concrete pipes inside to control radiation. Also out of the alpha, beta and gamma radiation, the most dangerous are gamma radiations, explained a Naval engineer. Out of the eight compartments in the ATV, only the 6th is which requires utmost care, While one by one each of the compartments get ready to activate thereby putting the ATV in harbour action, the crew working in different sections on teh submarine, will be put at risk, once the nucleus of the submarine begins..

Originally called Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), the submarine was launched for harbour acceptance trials on July 26, 2009, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, and only after all systems are tested and certified and the reactor put through safety tests, will the sea trials begin, which might take more than a year. The project Director General is retired Vice Admiral DSP Varma. The project, falling under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), has suffered from a record delay -- it has run for over 35 years and has consumed more than at least Rs 5,500 crore.

Copyright: People's Post

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Rajya Sabha Today:

Defence Minister A K Antony replies in Rajya Sabha today:

DRDO focussed on achieving self reliance in military hardware:

DRDO fully focussed towards enhancing self-reliance in military hardware. However, achieving self-reliance in this area is a joint responsibility that has to be met through national efforts by all Government agencies including Ministry of Defence, Defence Industries (both Public and private), Ordnance Factories and DRDO. As per provisions in Defence Procurement Procedure for “Make” Category, DRDO is concentrating only on development of strategic, complex and security sensitive systems. DRDO has developed a number of systems/products/technologies worth Rs. 30,000 crore which have already been inducted into Armed Forces, besides a large numbers are in the process of development production and induction.

2.Representation of women in defence forces:

Women are inducted as officers in the defence forces in specified branches. Women are not inducted as Personnel Below Officer Rank (PBOR). There is no specified sanctioned strength for women officers in Army, Navy and Air Force. Appointment of women officers has been progressively extended to different branches over a period of time. Permanent Commission has been granted prospectively to Short Service Commission Women officers in specified branches / cadres in Army, Navy and Air Force in September 2008. Measures to improve the intake of officers, including women in the defence forces are a continuous process.

3. High speed rail tracks by China along Indian borders:

There is no report of any construction of high speed railway track by China along the border with India. Upgrading the rail and road infrastructure is a priority for the Government and is being done as an on-going process under Border Area Development Programme.

4. Appointment of CDS:

The Government constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) on April 17, 2000 to review the national security system in its entirety and in particular, to consider the recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee and to formulate specific proposals for its implementation.

The GoM’s report on ‘Reforming the National Security System’ was presented to the Government in February, 2001 in which, amongst others, it was recommended to create the institution of Chief of Defence Staff. The Government approved the recommendations contained in the GoM report except those pertaining to institution of the CDS, for which it was decided that Government will take a view after consulting various political parties. Accordingly, Raksha Mantri has written to leaders of various national level parties for their views on this issue. Government will take a decision after completion of consultations.

Images: Nation Remembers Vijay Diwas Martyrs

Vijay Diwas (Dec 16): Images of IAF's Role in the 1971 Longewala Battle.

Courtesy: Short Film, 'Hunters At Dawn', by dear and old friend Rohan Cowasjee.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Images: Nepal Army Chief in Delhi

In Lok Sabha Today:

Defence Minister A K Antony replies in Lok Sabha today:

1. LCA Tejas engine under consideration:

The proposal on the Kaveri-Snecma engine joint venture for the LCA Tejas is under consideration by the Government. Request for Proposal (RFP) for procuring 99 engines have been sent to two short-listed engine manufacturers, namely GE F414 from General Electric Aviation, USA and EJ200 from Eurojet Germany.

The engine houses have responded to the RFP. Both Commercial and technical responses have been received for procurement of 99 engines along with Transfer of Technology.

2. Refuellers for IAF:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) had proposed the procurement of six flight refueller aircraft to meet the growing air-to-air refuelling tasks in the IAF and Indian Navy. The procurement proposal had been progressed in accordance with the Defence Procurement Procedure – 2006 and thereafter referred to the Ministry of Finance who has expressed certain reservations relating to the competitiveness of the bids and the reasonableness of the price. The Defence Procurement Procedure envisages a time line of up to two and a half years from the date of issue of Request for Proposal to signing of the contract in multi-vendor cases. Every effort is made to adhere to these time lines.

3. Joint development of missiles:

Procurement of defence items including missiles is made from various indigenous as well as foreign sources including Israel in accordance with the well laid down defence procurement procedure. This is a continuous process undertaken for the modernization of the Armed Forces to keep them in a state of readiness to meet any eventuality.

DRDO has undertaken joint development of missiles, Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) for Indian navy and Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for Indian Air Force with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), Israel. The cost of project for LRSAM is Rs. 2606.02 crore and cost of project for MRSAM is Rs. 10075 crore. Both the missiles being developed are comparable in performance and cost to missiles available in their class in the world market.

4. Offsets under DPP:

About ten offset contracts have been signed so far under the extant Defence Procurement Procedure. The companies with whom the offset contracts have been signed include Rosoboronexport Russia, RAC MiG Russia, Fincantieri Italy, Lockheed Martin USA, Boeing USA, Elta Israel, Israel Aerospace Industries Israel and Rafael Israel. The estimated value of the offsets involved in these contracts is over Rs. 8909 crores.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dhanush launched from INS Subhadra today morning

This was a regular training exercise launch done by the Indian Navy, nothing new.

Dhanush missile- the naval version of Prithvi has been successfully launched from INS Subhadra off Orissa Coast at 1135 hrs, today morning.

The missile reached the target at 350 km range with pin point accuracy. Two Naval ships located near the target have tracked and witnessed the splash. Radar Systems of ITR located along the coast have monitored the total trajectory and have confirmed all the parameters meeting the requirements. The missile is a liquid propelled single stage system with a diameter of 1 metre and length of 10 metres and weighs six tons.

The DRDO release is calling it a successful launch, as the SA to RM, Dr VK Saraswat, congratulated everyone, but the success remains to be seen and we cannot go just by the release and also looks like Dr Saraswat has finally managed time from morning walks and getting these walks publicised by the PRO :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Exclusive: Chindits Onboard INS Viraat, 50 Year Old Carrier on its First Operational Cruise After Refit Off Goa

INS Viraat, back after a year-long refit at the Cochin Shipyard Limited in Kochi, Southern Naval Command, is all set for a fresh innings and is being seen to go on for another seven - eight years, is currently on its first operational sail outside the harbour in the Arabian Sea, off Goa.

After it was commissioned in the UK Royal Navy in 1959, it served till 1984 after which it was decommissioned and bought by the Indian Navy. Captain Vinod Pasricha was the commissioning Commanding Officer of the warship in 1987 along with its complement of British Sea Harriers. The carrier was envisaged as being in service for 10 years, but since no other carrier was on the horizon, it went through a major refit in 1999-2000 to extend its life for another eight years, but when it was officially declared that the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, would be joining the Indian Navy only in 2012, the carrier went through another one-year refit last year at Kochi, to extend its life for another five to seven years.

Sources have confirmed to People's Post that the under water hull of the carrier has been done up in a big way, besides other upgradations and additions. The radar of the ship and its electronic surveillance system, which are indigenously made, have been upgraded, and its boilers and propulsion systems have been renewed. The habitability of the sailors has been improved majorly, with new washrooms coming up for them, better living rooms and lounges. An officer said, "The sailors accommodation was of utmost importance, as it was not upto the mark, but now it has been improved with new fittings and washing areas coming which will definitely bring in a lot of change. The refit , which has been jointly done by Naval Dockyard and Cochin Shipyard, has costed around 120 crores."

The 227 meter long carrier, capable of housing 25 aircraft, has got its flight deck grit blasted for better friction for the aircraft to land and take off and the deck has also been fitted with better lightings for night flying. The carrier has been fitted with digital maps of oceans, digital RPMs on the bridge and digital displays in the Ops room, for the first time, which enable the Commanding Officer to take stock of the real time situation outside the warship all around her waters. The displays give out the maritime domain awareness if a situation develops. Viraat, which has 14 decks, nine lower and five upper, has been fitted with heavy machine guns (HMGs) in place of light machine guns (LMGs), for self defence. These HMG are three, one in front and two at the back near the flight deck, and can fire 50-60 rounds in two seconds and are indigenously made. There are better communications systems onboard for shore to sea and vice versa communication.

The ship has two headquarters, HQ-1 and HQ-2, for information about in-house systems and their functioning, two engines and four boilers. The ship who has had three Commanding Officers, who went on to become Chiefs of Naval Staff, is getting ready for a work-up, which is done by a naval team from the shipyard which conducted the refit to see the functioning of the ship and its maintainence by its crew. Viraat, the biggest ship of the Indian Navy as on date, can house 1500 crew members. A physical and written exam will be conducted shortly of the crew members by the work up team from Kochi, and also the ship will get ready to receive its first woman Supreme Commander for its operational inspection later this month. With its 50-bed floating hospital, a gymnasium, seperate Admiral and Commanding Officer's cabins and all the state of the art facilities, a weapons complement of 16 Barak missiles, two Israeli mounts of 40/60, and two AK-230 guns, Chetaks, Seaking 43 Bs and Sea Harriers, Viraat seems to go a long way, till a replacement comes in.
Copyright: People's Post

Photos: Suman Sharma