Monday, December 23, 2013

Strategic Forces Command (SFC) Test Fires Agni-3

The Strategic Forces Command (SFC), fired the long range Agni 3 missile with a range capability of over 3000 kms from Wheelers Island, off the Odisha coast today.

The trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and naval ships from its launch till the missile hit the target area with pin point accuracy.

Agni 3 missile is equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system and guided by an innovative guidance scheme.

Quoting an SFC spokesman, “Such successful training launches clearly indicate our operational readiness to meet any eventuality as also establishes the reliability of this deterrent component of India’s Strategic arsenal”.

Friday, December 20, 2013

After 3 Decades LCA Tejas Gets Initial Operational Clearance For Induction Into IAF

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony today handed over the Release to Service Certificate of the country’s own Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas, to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, at a function in Bengaluru, marking  the fruition of a long and difficult journey of three decades of efforts to make a fighter aircraft of international standards.

Described as Initial Operational Clearance-II of Tejas, the LCA is designed to ultimately  replace the Mig 21 fleet of IAF. The timing of IOC- II for LCA coincides with the iconic Mig 21 FL fighter flying into  IAF’s history just a week ago.

Visibly happy at today’s event, Shri Antony said, during the last three years, the capabilities of the aircraft have been improved significantly.  “In recognition of the enhanced capabilities, IAF has decided to grant the aircraft a higher status, namely, the Initial Operational Clearance for induction into the Service”, he said.

Shri Antony candidly confessed that he had his share of anxieties regarding the future of LCA when he had taken over as the Defence Minister in 2006 but today we are putting behind the moments of self –doubt, frustrations and setbacks which we as a nation have gone through in the last 30 years.

“The improvements to the aircraft have enhanced the flight envelope of the aircraft and also weapon delivery capability of the aircraft.  The performance at Iron Fist, Jaisalmer and the recent missile firing at Goa are examples of such improvements.  The reliability of the aircraft and serviceability has also been enhanced.  The number of flights nearing 500 within this year provides an indication of this. Operating at  IAF bases namely, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttarlai, Gwaliar, Goa, Leh, Pathankot demonstrate the aircraft capability to operate from Air Force bases. There have also been occasions when the same aircraft has flown thrice on the same day, indicating the operational reliability of this home-bred fighter aircraft ”, he said. 

 Shri Antony said military aviation in the country has got a major boost with the approval of several new programmes. Some of these programmes include – Mk2 variants of Navy and Air Force; Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft; Unmanned Air Systems; Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Medium Transport Aircraft, to name a few.

Describing the attainment of Initial Operational Clearance as an important milestone in the long journey towards indigenization through self-reliance, Shri Antony said, our public and private sector must work in tandem to develop and produce world-class military systems of the highest quality.

The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne said it is indeed a proud day for the nation and particularly for the IAF; since the grant of IOC acknowledges the capabilities of this aircraft and paves the way for the induction of LCA Mk 1 into operational service. He said the progress of such a challenging experimental project without any accident or major incident is unprecedented in the history of aviation.

On a personal note, ACM Browne said as he prepares to hang his uniform at the end of this month, he would have gone home as a disappointed person if the IOC of the LCA had not been achieved.

Today’s event was attended among others by the Scientific Advisor to RM Shri Avinash Chander, Secretary Defence Production Shri GC Pati, Chairman of HAL Shri RK Tyagi, Programme Director of ADA Shri PS Subramanyam, DG- Aero and CE CEMILAC Dr K Tamil Mani.

 A Long Journey

The Country had embarked on an ambitious plan to indigenously design and develop the Light Combat aircraft (LCA) to be inducted into IAF and Indian Navy inventory. The Programme has been spearheaded by the  Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bangalore under the Department of Defence R & D, with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as its principal partner. A large number of Laboratories of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Central Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), certification agencies, Indian Air Force, academic institutions and Private/Public Sector Undertakings participated in the LCA development effort.

Indian Light Combat Aircraft, christened  ‘Tejas’, is the smallest, light weight, single engine, single seat, supersonic, multirole, combat aircraft and is one of the best in its class in the world.  The quadruplex digital fly-by-wire flight control system ensures acceptable handling qualities while ensuring adequate safety throughout the flight envelope. The advanced Glass cockpit open architecture system complements piloting.  Four variants of Tejas aircraft (Combat variant, Trainer and Naval variants) are being developed for land and carrier borne operations. 

The  Initial Operational Clearance-1 (IOC-I) for ‘Tejas’ was achieved on 10 Jan 2011.  In IOC-I, the Aircraft had a few limitations in terms of Combat performance, turn around time and its weaponisation which had to be refined and improved through Research & Development process. In addition to this, Wake penetration trials, all weather clearances were planned beyond IOC-1.

Since IOC-1, ‘Tejas’ has accomplished significant milestones.  Till date, more than 2450 sorties have been completed to achieve the flight test goals towards IOC-2.  The design issues were resolved with System Engineering approach and by periodical reviews with participation of external experts. 

The salient features which have been achieved in IOC-2 include Safe flying up to High angle of Attack as mandated by the users. This has considerably enhanced the combat performance of the aircraft. The Flight control system evaluation has also been completed. The time for initial built-in test has been reduced considerably which enables faster turn around and enhanced operational readiness of aircraft. The Brake system has been improved significantly in terms of energy absorption capability during landing, thus ensuring prompt turn-around of the aircraft. Significant improvement in Cockpit ergonomic and lighting system has been accomplished for improved night flying. In-flight re-light capability was demonstrated to ensure enhanced safety and reliability of the aircraft. This is a major achievement. Avionics and Weapon system of the aircraft have been revamped for effective mission superiority. Helmet Mounted Display Sight (HMDS) has been fully integrated in Tejas and R73E missile firing has been successfully demonstrated using HMDS.
Multi Mode Weapon multirole capability of Tejas was demonstrated during its participation in Iron Fist. Air to Ground mission and Air to Air missions were demonstrated by dropping Laser Guided Bombs and R73E firing in single pass. Laser Guided Bomb firing has been achieved for IOC-2 to user’s satisfaction.

 Aircraft readiness for missions in terms of its readiness and Operational Readiness Platform (ORP) and Turn Round Service (TRS) and easier maintainability has been achieved as per requirement thus enhancing operational readiness of the aircraft. Tejas has passed all the tests for “All Weather Clearance” of the aircraft. The Aircraft has been cleared for fly without any telemetry support.

IOC-2 shall enable Air Force to carry out air superiority and offensive air support    missions, forward air field operations, all weather multi role operations, Electronic counter measures and night flying operations.
LCA Tejas is capable of flying non- stop to destinations over 1700 km away (Ferry Range). It's Radius of Action is upto 500 km depending upon the nature and duration of actual combat.

LCA is powered by the F404/IN20- a well proven turbofan engine, designed and manufactured by General Electric Aircraft Engines, USA. The Engine is modular in construction, consisting of six modules, ensuring easy maintenance.  The F404-GE-IN20 is a low bypass turbofan engine, with augmented thrust provided by the afterburner. 
Production Facilities

  The production facilities have been set up at HAL and the aircraft delivery is expected to commence from 2014.  “We have plans to initially produce eight aircraft per year. Further plans are afoot to enhance the production rate to 16 aircraft per year in consultation with IAF and MoD.  HAL is fully geared up to meet the challenging production schedule and hopes to fulfil the requirements of customers in a time bound manner”, says the Chairman, HAL, Dr RK Tyagi.

After the achievement of IOC II, HAL will go ahead with the Series Production of LCA Tejas.  The Company has already established the structural assembly hangar and the assembly jigs have been calibrated with state of the Laser Trackers to an accuracy of 80 microns (0.08 mm) to meet stringent quality standards. A state of the art CNC drilling machine has been installed to ensure repeatability and reduce the cycle time.

Sitanshu Kar from Bengaluru

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Indian Ministry Of Defence's Year Ender-2013

Reaching out to innumerable victims of the devastating flash floods & landslides of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh that struck on 16/17th  June by mounting the biggest ever Rescue & Relief operations in these two States by the Indian Armed Forces was the most visible achievement of the year. The eventful year also saw augmentation of Nation’s defence preparedness by adding new weapon. In defence R&D, successful test flight of 5000 Km range ICBM Agni-V, launching of long-range cruise missile Nirbhoy and continued successful user trials of Agni-II, Agni-III, Agni-IV, Prithvi-II, Supersonic BrahMos and Beyond Visual Range missile “Astra” during the year displayed the nation’s prowess and self-reliance in advanced missile technology development programme.

The year also witnessed capacity building in existing and new strategic areas through acquisitions and development of new weapons / platforms which include commissioning of India’s biggest aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne capacity INS Vikramaditya on 16th November, preceded by the  launching of India’s own IAC-INS Vikrant and commissioning of deadly Mig-29K squadron into the Indian Navy. Similarly, induction of first P-8I Boeing aircraft into the Navy alongwith joining of C-17 Globemaster-III and Pilatus PC-7MKII aircraft into the Indian Air Force consolidated our hold in different strategic, logistics and training arena. The nuclear reactor fitted in the indigenous nuclear powered submarine INS Arihant, in the making, attaining criticality also pointed towards this end. The year gone by also saw systematic force projection of our Armed Forces in India’s neighborhood and far off Asian Region by engaging them through military exercises and defence diplomacy, when Indian Navy perhaps undertook a record number of exercises with foreign Navies to build Navy to Navy co-operation, understanding and inter-operability. The Indian Army and IAF also supplemented these efforts by undertaking a number of military exercises with their friendly foreign counterparts. In this context  our prowess in fire powers, anti-terrorist operations and network centric  warfare were amply demonstrated by IAF exercises ‘Iron Fist’ and ‘Live Wires’ and Army’s biggest  war game exercises Indra and Indo-French exercises ‘Shakti-2013’.

The nation achieved spectacular progress in strengthening  coastal security network, ex-servicemen’s welfare, and its journey towards modernisation and indigenization of Indian defence industry complex by adopting a policy of ‘Swadeshi’ where transparency and accountability were the hallmarks.

Along with these highs, there were some lows too. The sudden and unprovoked attack from the Pakistan Army in the guise of armed infiltration in the Line of Control in Poonch and later in Keran sector of J&K brought disquiet into the region. Though our soldiers retaliated these recurrent attacks with full force at their command, yet there was no stopping of ceasefire violations from Pakistan side, which kept happening almost all through the year. The thaw in India-China border relations was also broken in April when Indian Army was once again challenged by China’s Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) by their repeated incursions into Ladakh Sector on the LAC. Thankfully after the face –off between the troops on both sides for nearly one month, both sides simultaneously withdrew from the contentious areas of LAC in this sector.

The devastating fire accident in our frontline submarine INS Sindhurakshak and it’s going down under the sea in Mumbai Naval Dockyard in August this year was another big loss to the Indian Navy. The Board of Inquiry instituted by the Government to find out the cause of this mishap hopefully will look into all angles of the accident and suggest measures so that the same is not repeated in the fighting arm of the Navy.

Reaching out to the People in Distress

A cloud burst and torrential rain took thousands of tourists and pilgrims by surprise in Uttarakhand & Himachal Pradesh in the third week of June. Immediately, the Armed Forces were called by the state Government of these two states for rescuing its citizens and tourists from some of the most dangerous terrains devastated by floods & landslides. Within no time, the Forces sprang into action and launched the biggest rescue operation conducted by the defence and para-military forces anywhere in the world. The troops from Central Command of the Army launched the biggest rescue and relief operation ‘Rahat’ in collaboration with ITBP, BRO and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on June 17. Sensing the gravity of the situation, IAF mobilised 54 transport aircrafts and helicopters for rescue efforts, which also included stationing a gigantic strategic airlifter C-17 Super Hercules in Jolly Grant, Dehradun airfield to evacuate the stranded tourists and general people to safer places. Indian Navy also deployed its marine commandos on 25th June, which with foot soldiers of the Army, rescued hundreds of pilgrims and evacuated thousands to safer places.

Our Armed Forces’ laudable role and conduct of operations to minimise the effects of cyclone ‘Phailin’, which struck the Odisha & Andhra Pradesh Coast in the fateful evening of 12th October also came for universal praise and commendation from all quarters.

New Milestones in Defence R&D

Agni –V: India reiterated its expertise in high end missile technology when the second test flight of over 5000 Km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-V proved successful on 15th September. The missile designed by the DRDO and launched from Wheeler Island  off Odisha Coast reached the pre-designed target point, over 5000 Km away, in the Indian Ocean, incorporated many indigenous technologies. These include the composite rocket motor, state-of-the-art avionics, 5th generation on-board computer distributed architecture, highly accurate laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), reliable redundant micro-navigation system and the re-entry kit shield that withstands temperature of more than 4000 degrees Celsius ensuring that avionics function smoothly by maintaining an inside temperature less than 50 degrees Celsius.

After successful test firing of Agni-V, DRDO now aims for 10,000 Km range Inter –Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which according to its Chief would be preceded by above 6000  Km range Agni-VI to be launched soon.

In the meantime the training and user trials of Agni-II, Agni-III and Agni-IV of varying ranges as well as supersonic 300 Km range BrahMos and Prithvi–II have been successfully accomplished in the year. All these missiles which were tested by the users, the Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army, in the presence of scientists and engineers of DRDO and other collaborating laboratories.

LCA programme finally out of woods: The much awaited and long-delayed indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project for the Indian Air Force undertaken by the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) with its tech partner DRDO finally will see the light of the day, as its initial operational clearance-II is scheduled on 20th December to be held at HAL, Bangalore.

The LCA ‘Tejas’, a fourth generation fighter aircraft is meant to meet the versatile and stringent requirements of the Indian Air Force as its front-line multi mission aircraft. Besides developing the fighter version, Aeronautics Development Agency (ADA), the main lab for DRDO incharge of designing and making this metal bird, is also now fully engaged in developing LCA Trainer for IAF and LCA Navy Trainer.  

The weaponisation programme, the focus of the current IOC phase of LAC attained a significant milestone by the successful and flawless firing of the air-to-air close combat missile, weapon carriage and release trials. Recently, initial block of flight testing of LCA Naval variant (NP-1) has been successfully completed. Successful Night Flying of LCA has been yet another achievement. Thus the programme is moving towards certification leading to Final Operational Clearance (FOC), which is expected towards the end of next year.
INS Vikrant Launched: India launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on August 12 at Kochi marking the end of Phase-I (IAC-I) of the project. The imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonner Short Take Off But Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) carrier boasted indigenous design and built capabilities of the country.
Atomic Reactor of ‘Arihant’ went critical: In adding another feather to its crown of superior state-of-the-art nuclear technology, Indian defence scientists and technologists successfully activated the atomic reactor on board INS Arihant in early August. The next major milestone would be when Arihant begins its trials, which has been planned for September 2014. The nuclear submarine will go for extensive trials before it becomes operational with the Indian Navy.

New Weaponary/Platforms to Strengthen Defence Preparedness

INS Vikramaditya: India finally commissioned its second aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne INS Vikramaditya into the Indian Navy at the Sevmash Shipyard in Severodvinsk in Russia on 16th November when Defence Minister Shri AK Antony commissioned the carrier after its extensive refurbishment and refit over the past few years. The Carrier, in its previous avtar as Admiral Gorshkov, can carry over 30 combat aircraft/helicopters and has the staying power of operating nearly 45 days in high seas with its 1600 crew & officers. It is equipped with long range Air Surveillance Radars, Advanced electronic warfare suite capable of maintaining a surveillance bubble of over 500 Kms around it. The deadly Mig -29K deep penetration striker aircraft, Kamov-31, Sea Harriers and ALH Dhruv helicopters comprise its air element. The ship is also equipped with the state-of-the-art launch and recovery system along with aids to enable smooth and efficient operation of sea-borne aircraft. The carrier which is now sailing towards India is expected to arrive in mid February 2014 and will be based at Karwar Naval Base in the Western Coast.

C-17 Globemaster III

Giving impetus to the long standing strategic airlift of the Indian Air Force, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was formally inducted into the IAF on 02 September at Hindon Airbase near Delhi. Four of the C-17 have been already delivered to the IAF and the fifth aircraft joined the fleet in November.

Pilatus PC 7 MK II Basic Trainer Inducted

The IAF’s premier flying Academy located at Dundigal, Hyderabad witnessed the unveiling of Pilatus PC7MKII basic trainer aircraft, which heralded a new era in imparting high quality flying training to budding pilots ensuring proficiency in handling more sophisticated aircraft.

Boeing P-8I Arrives at INS Rajali

The first of the three Boeing P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy arrived at INS Rajali, Arakonam on 15th May. The P-8I aircraft based on the Boeing 737-800(NG) airframes is equipped with an array of sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and for electronic intelligence missions. The aircraft has drawn its lethality from its arsenal of highly potent Anti-Surface and Anti-Submarine weapons.

Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT) inducted

The Indian Navy inducted the first fully Indian manufactured Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) at INS Dega, Vishakhapatnam on 06 November.

ALH–Dhruv Squadron Commissioned

The first Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) Squadron was commissioned into the Navy at Kochi on 12 November.

Mig -29K Squadron Commissioned

 INAS 303, the first Mig 29K squadron was commissioned on 11th May 2013 by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony at INSA Hansa, Goa. Mig-29K, arguably one of the best in the subcontinent today is equipped with high-end avionics completed with anti-aircraft beyond visual range missiles, guided anti-ship missile and smart guided bombs and rockets.

Launching of GSAT-7  satellite

 Launching of GSAT-7, a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Navy on 30 August gave a boost to realization of Navy’s network centric war capability based on an indigenous platform. With multiple transponders in various frequency bands, the satellite will provide voice and data communication and hence will help in seamless integration among the various command centres and Naval Units operating across the IOR.

INS Sarayu Commissioned
INS Sarayu, the lead ship of the indigenous Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) Project was commissioned on 21 January. Aimed at meeting the increasing ocean surveillance and patrolling requirements of the Indian Navy, the primary role of the ship is to undertake EEZ surveillance, anti-piracy patrols, fleet support operations and provide maritime security to offshore assets and carry out escort operations for high value assets.

INS Trikand Commissioned

INS Trikand, the last of the three ‘follow on Talwar class’ frigates was commissioned into the Indian Navy at Kaliningrad, Russia on 29 June. It carries a state-of-the-art combat suite which includes the supersonic BrahMos Missile system, advanced surface-to-air missile, upgraded A190 medium range gun, Electro-optical 30mm close-in weapon system and Anti-submarine weapons and an advanced electronic warfare system. Her sister ships INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned last year.
IAF- launches its 3G WCDMA Cellular Network Project

The Indian Air Force launched its 3G Cellular Network named AFCEL (Air Force Cellular) recently, thereby, becoming the first in the Services to have commissioned its own captive 3G network. Launching of phase-I of AFCEL in the National Capital Region is a milestone in the IAF’s transformation into a modern, networked aerospace entity with full spectrum dominance. With this project IAF has taken a quantum leap forward to their quest to provide mobile and secure entry-point connectivity to the air warriors deployed across the length and breadth of the country as it will facilitate real time exchange of information in an ever dynamic operational environment.

International Co-operation through Exercises & Defence Co-op. Talks

During the year, the Indian Army, to develop Army to Army understanding and inter-operability, conducted bilateral exercises with China, France, UK, Russia and Nepal. India-China joint exercises Hand-in-Hand 2013 conducted in Chengdu Province of China culminated on 13 Nov. This battalion level exercise practiced the joint operations on Cordon & Search in international scenario. Exercise ‘Ajeya Warrior’, a four week Indo-UK joint military exercise, also aimed at enhancing counter terrorism skills. In October Indian and Russian armies conducted a joint exercise, Indra, at Mahajan field firing range in Thar Desert of Rajasthan. The event saw both sides perform various combat exercises including anti-terrorist operations. It also saw a joint Indo-Russian command planning. A joint exercise between India and the French armies was organised from September 9-20 in the French Alps at Grenoble.

As friendly neighbours, an Indo-Nepal battalion level joint military exercise, Surya Kiran-V was conducted at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand from 23 September - 06 October.

Based on the agreement during the 7th Nepal-India Bilateral Consultative Group on Security the two countries commenced joint training at platoon level in 2011. The first two joint exercises focused primarily on jungle warfare and counter-insurgency operation. Troops shared their experiences and exhibited skill sets during training at Counter-Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School at Vairangate in Mizoram and a similar school at Amlekhganj in Nepal. Later, the joint training was upgraded to company level in 2012 and based on experiences gained in previous two exercises, it was further upgraded to battalion level this year.

In a bid to further strengthen the existing Indo-French relationship, a joint exercise between India and the French Army called ‘Shakti – 2013’ was organised from 9 – 20 September at Jodhpur which is the second joint military exercise between the two countries.

This platoon level exercise’s theme was on counter-insurgency operations in high altitude mountainous terrain under the UN Charter, thus emphasizing the shared concern of both countries about global terrorism. An added aim of the exercise is to qualitatively acknowledge of each other’s military procedures, thus increasing the scope for inter-operability and better responsiveness to a common threat. 

Record Exercises with Foreign Navies
In its endeavour to build Navy to Navy co-operation, understanding and inter-operability, the Indian Navy held military exercises with Navies of numerous friendly countries. These included:

·        CORPAT – These Co-ordinated Patrols (CORPAT) with maritime neighbours of India not only strengthened naval co-operation with our neighbours but also helped in developing trust and confidence among participant countries. 

·        First India –Myanmar Navy Co-ordinated Patrol in March 13 with the aim of flushing out extremists operating from Myanmar soil and Navy-to-Navy understanding was successfully conducted.

·        Indo-Thai bilateral naval exercise in April and November.

·        India-Indonesia bilateral naval exercise in May and September.

·        India-RSN (Republic of Singapore Navy) exercise SIMBEX in May.

·        Bilateral naval exercise ‘Naseem Al Bahar’ between India and Royal Navy of Oman on 11 September.

·        Indo-UK exercise ‘Konkan’ in October.

·        Indo-US naval exercise ‘Malabar’ in November.

·        India-Sri Lankan Navy exercise ‘SLINEX’ in November.

·        Naval exercise between India and Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces in December.

·        India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime Exercise ‘IBSA mar’ was conducted among Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies in the IOR. The exercise is the maritime element of the regional co-operation initiative among these three countries.

Exercise on the anvil
      The 13th Meeting of India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Co-operation (IRIGC-MTC) was held at Moscow in November co-chaired by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony with his Russian counterpart Mr. Sergey Shiogu. The meeting which gave a new impetus to the relationship decided that the two countries will hold joint Air-Force level exercises, for the first time besides a joint Navy exercise in the Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan, both in 2014.
IAF under Transformation 

      As the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrates its 81st anniversary, it is conscious of the transformation it has been undergoing since 1995 where it wrote its first war doctrine, purchased Sukhoi-30 aircraft from Russia, raised the pitch for aerospace command and formally shed its tactical role for a strategic one.

      Keeping in view the rapidly changing geo-political situation and to fulfil its new operational stance, the IAF has taken a number of steps related to its force level, infrastructure development, force multipliers, training and most importantly its mindset  from a tactical to a strategic entity.

Besides inducting AWACS and AEW&C for better early warning and assured air defence, net centricity for better command, control, communications, computers and intelligence gathering, better strategic lift capabilities and advanced electronic warfare, are now the buzz words in the IAF.

In addition to tying up with Russia to develop and manufacture state-of-the-art 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), India has also collaborated with Russia for development of a multi-role transport aircraft. The design preparation and allied works relating to FGFA has picked up the momentum after satisfactory high level defence talks with Russia which was held in Moscow in November. Besides these, IAF has planned to upgrade select Mig-21 Bis, Mig-27, Mig-29, Mirage-2000 and Jaguar fleets and has taken steps to further compress the delivery schedule of HAL Built Su-30 MK-II, besides 40 more acquired from Russia.

Developing Strategic Partnership

Working in tune with its ‘Look East Policy’, India has started forging strategic partnership with countries of Far East and ASEAN. In this context, India’s willingness to co-operate with Vietnam Republic in helping it exploring oil from the South China Sea is significant. Similarly its relations with Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan is steadily growing through bi-lateral exercises and fruitful defence co-operation talks in the form of defence exchanges, training and other areas.
India’s bilateral defence ties with US, UK, France, Turkey, Australia, Brazil, South Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Oman etc. is growing over the years. Indo-French High Committee on Defence Co-operation which met in October this year decided to further strength the ties in different fields which include joint research & development in high technology and transfer of technology, defence equipment collaboration, training and close navy-to-navy interaction in matters like joint exercises and defence exchanges. Already France is committed to manufacture and handover of three state-of-the-art lethal Scorpene submarines and another three will be built at Mazagon Dock Ltd, Mumbai with active French collaboration and TOT.

Coastal Security Initiatives

Drawing lessons from 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008, the Govt. took a number of security measures to close the gaps in India’s vast coastline and strengthen the coastal security apparatus in a planned manner by involving all stakeholders in this endeavour. Under Phase-I of the Coastal Surveillance Network Project installation of 36 radar chain to have a gap free Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) was envisaged. In the first Phase of the project, the coastal States/UTs were provided with 73 coastal police stations, 97 Check Posts, 58 Out Posts, 30 Barracks, 204 boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motorcycles.

The completion of the phase-I of the project at a cost of Rs. 646 crores on the Indian mainland took place when MoS, Defence, Mr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the static sensor chain at Visakhapatnam on 23 November. India has already a chain of 36 radars along the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kerala coast.

In the phase-II of CSN which will cost Rs. 1580 crores, we will have another 38 radars chain to cover the rest of the 7,500 Km long coastline. The Indian Coast Guard was delegated to implement the project. For this, the Govt. had signed the contract with the state owned Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) in Sept 2011 at a cost of Rs 602 crores considering the strategic nature of the turnkey project and with an aim to develop indigenous capabilities. Under this scheme, the coastal States/UTs interalia are provided with 131 coastal police stations, 10 Marine Operation Police Centres (MOCPs), 60 jetties, 225 boats of various categories and a lump sum assistance of Rs. 15 lakhs per coastal police station to develop its infrastructure. 

Linking up the National Automatic Identification System Network (AIS) and Vessel Traffic System (VTS) off Gulf of Khambat with the Coastal Security Network would help the security forces in identifying a friend or foe in the Indian waters.

Of late, a worrisome trend is the problem of tackling the issue of Private Armed Security Guards on board Commercial ships in international waters as well as territorial waters. The urgent need to regulate these ‘floating armouries’ has assumed significance in the backdrop of two recent incidents close to Indian Coast. A high level meeting on Coastal Security convened at Delhi by the MoD recently decided to take up this issue of Private Armed Security Guards with international fora such as International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Welfare of Jawans & Ex-Servicemen

Welfare and all-round well being of ex-servicemen and war widows have been the cornerstone of our rehabilitation policy since independence.

In our ongoing effort to improve the well being of jawans, the govt has further widened the scope of ECHS (Employees Contributed Health Scheme) and established more polyclinics and regional health centres. To improve the living and working conditions of jawans, several steps have been taken to improve the quality of rations, accommodations and clothing. For soldiers deployed in high altitude areas, warm clothings, special shoes and attractive monthly compensatory allowances have been provided. To protect the officers, jawans and other ranks posted in very high altitudes from mental and physical fatigue, liberal leave facilities as well as rotation of personnel at regular intervals have been given high priority. To reduce the stress levels of jawans so as to avoid stray cases of fragging and fratricide, Counselling Centres have been established at different levels manned by professional psychologists and psychiatrists starting from unit to command level.

MAP:- To overcome the acute shortage of accommodation for serving  defence personnel, Married Accommodation  Project (MAP) was started by the Govt. in 2002. In this project, totalling two lakh dwelling units (DUs) were supposed to have been constructed. After implementation of Phase-I of the project, approximately 60,000 dwelling units have been constructed. This has enhanced the satisfaction level with regard to availability of married accommodation to 60%. In the second phase of MAP, construction of about 68,400 DUs is going on at different places and on their completion, satisfaction level will increase to 72%. In addition, construction of 71,000 DUs of Phase-III is now under planning. On completion of all the phases of the project, the satisfaction levels will reach 85%.
For ex-servicemen welfare, Govt. has taken a number of steps to further improve their pension. For this, a high level committee was constituted by the Govt. in 2012 to look after the pay and pension anomalies of armed forces personnel and family pensions etc. Acting upon the recommendations of the committee, the Govt. further liberalised the pension amount for different types of ex-servicemen pensioners last year which costs the exchequer of approximately Rs 2200 crores.


1.      To give further encouragement to promote indigenisation and developing Indian defence industrial base in the country, the Government promulgated amended Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 on 01 June, where a number of concessions and priorities have been given to ‘Buy Indian’ and ‘Buy and Make’  (Indian) categories, besides bringing further clarity in the definition of the Indigenous Content and simplifying the Buy and Make (Indian) process. Other significant changes include incorporation of the new offset policy guidelines which were promulgated in August 2012 and revision of the chapter on Ship-building which had been introduced in the DPP 2011. The Ministry has also undertaken the exercise of further simplification of the Make procedures and revision of the Fast Track Procedures which is likely to be completed in the near future.  

2.      Indian Air Force formally bade farewell to its Mig-21 (FL) fleet, after the fleet’s glorious service to the nation for more than thirty years, in December this year. Their place will be filed up by the LCA fighter version in near future.

3.      India signed the much awaited Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDC) with China during the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh’s visit to China in October. The agreement is expected to bring in a relatively peaceful and intrusion free LAC in the northern sector. The agreement lays out a protocol to prevent incidents like intrusion, when Chinese troops came and pitched tents inside Indian territories in August/September.

4.      On July 02, 2013, India unveiled the much awaited National Cyber Security Policy to create a secure cyber eco-system in the country. 

5.      Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Rajdoot’, the sixth in the series of light Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata was commissioned at Kolkata in May 2013.

6.      The Naresh Chandra Task Force constituted by the Govt. on national security and higher defence management submitted its recommendations, where among others, it has recommended to create the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) in the Indian Armed Forces.

7.      The first NCC National Games was held in Delhi in November where 1900 boys and girls athletes from 17 NCC directorates, from all the States and Union Territories took part. The eight day long Games was inaugurated by the DG, NCC Lt. Gen P.S. Bhalla amidst much grandeur and fanfare.

8.      The foundation stone for India’s first National Defence University (INDU) was laid by the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in Binola, near Gurgaon in May 23, 2013 in the presence of high dignitaries including the Defence Minister.

9.      INAS ‘HANSA’ in Goa celebrated its diamond jubilee on 11th May, 2013.

10. First Passing Out Parade at the newly established Indian Naval Academy at Ezhimala in Kerala was held on 25th May, 2013.

11. Indian Coast Guard’s Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ICGS ‘VAIBHAV’ was commissioned on May 21, 2013.

12. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony dedicated to the Nation the new Air Force Station at Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu on 27th May 2013 where a special runway has been made for the operation of Su-30 MK-I fighter aircraft.

13. Defence Minister visited Maldives in April 2013.

14. Defence Minister visited Myanmar on January 21, 2013.

15. Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship Rajkamal was held in 08 January 2013.

16. Govt. orders a CBI probe into Augusta Westland Contract for 12 VVIP Helicopters on 12 February 2013.

17. The 9th edition of Asia’s biggest air show ‘Aero-India’ -2013 took place in Bangalore in February 2013, where 44 countries took part. Defence Minister Shri AK Antony inaugurated this mega event where in the Air show vintage Tiger Moth aircraft made its flight appearance after a gap of 22 years.

18. HAL formally handed over to Army the weaponised edition of ALH-Dhruv as ‘ALH MK-IV Rudra’ on 08 February 2013 at Bangalore.

19. Commissioning of Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Rajratan’ held on 11 February 2013.

20. Chinese Defence Minister with a delegation visited India on 22nd March 2013 and India-China Talks on Defence co-operation held in Delhi.

21. Indian Navy concludes theatre level exercise Tropex-13 on 02 March 2013.


Light Combat Aircraft To Achieve Initial Operational Clearance-II (IOC-II) Tomorrow

India’s indigenously designed and developed frontline fighter aircraft, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is poised to achieve an important milestone on December 20, 2013 by achieving the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC II) and get ready for induction into IAF squadrons.  The aircraft is manufactured by the defence major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).  “The production facilities have been set up at HAL and the aircraft delivery is expected to commence from 2014.  We have plans to initially produce eight aircraft per year. Further plans are afoot to enhance the production rate to 16 aircraft per year in consultation with IAF and MOD.  HAL is fully geared up to meet the challenging production schedule and hopes to fulfil the requirements of customers in a time bound manner”, says Dr. R.K. Tyagi, Chairman, HAL.

Tejas is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, multi-role supersonic fighter.   It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws.    Extensive use of advanced composites in the airframe gives a high strength to weight ratio, long fatigue life and low radar signatures.

HAL carried-out around 500 sorties of LCA in the year 2013 which is the highest for any particular year right from the start of the programme. The previous highest was 280 sorties in the year 2009. Outstation flight trials were carried out at Leh, Jamnagar, Jaisalmer, Uttaralai Gwalior, Pathankot and Goa for cold weather, armament and weapon deliveries, multimode radar (MMR), radar warning receiver (RWR), hot weather and missile firing flight trials this year itself. Two aircraft have flown three sorties each on the same day during trials at Jamnagar in October –November 2013, demonstrating fast turnaround time capability. 

After the achievement of IOC II, HAL will go ahead with the Series Production of LCA Tejas.  The Company has already established the structural assembly hangar and the assembly jigs have been calibrated with state of the Laser Trackers to an accuracy of 80 microns (0.08 mm) to meet stringent quality standards. A state of the art CNC drilling machine has been installed to ensure repeatability and reduce the cycle time.

LCA has also successfully demonstrated weapon delivery capability during weapon trials at Jamnagar & Jaisalmer. LCA participated during IRON FIST 2013 and proved its mettle along with other platforms of IAF.

Production Line:

HAL has been working towards building up infrastructure for production. The LCA production group engaged in the production of Limited Series Production (LSP) aircraft during the last five years functioned as an extended arm of the design and development team with large scale modifications introduced into these LSP aircraft in terms of hardware, system improvements and software in a progressive manner as per concurrent development and production concept. 

With most of the aircraft system performance reaching desired levels, HAL production group would concentrate on stabilizing the production line.  All hardware improvements and software modifications as a result of trials on LSP series aircraft are now being incorporated into series production aircraft.  

The production line at HAL has been moved to new premises with a built up area of around 28,000 Sq m of Hangars, Engineering and Administrative blocks.   Upgrade and augmentation of production tooling is underway to enhance the rate of production and to expedite delivery of aircraft for two IAF squadrons in the next four to five years. 


IOC-I Accorded In January 2011

Defence Minister A K Antony Calls Upon DRDO To Foresee Emerging Defence Technologies To Meet Emerging Threats

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony called upon the DRDO to concentrate and also foresee the emerging defence technologies to meet the emerging challenges/threats from various quarters. He was speaking at a meeting of the Consultative Committee attached to his Ministry here today. Shri Antony stated that the DRDO is now spending nearly 80 % of its budget on Mission Mode Projects, with deliverables for the Armed Forces. However, in order to be able to focus the Organisation’s energies on such projects, the task of carrying out low-end research must be given away to the private sector and the industries, he said.

The Minister also informed that DRDO has already implemented major recommendations of Dr. Rama Rao Committee. He said based, on these recommendations seven Technology Clusters have been created in the new organizational set-up of DRDO at different locations, each headed by an empowered Director General.

Shri Antony also informed the members that the much awaited Initial Operational Clearance – II for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is scheduled on 20th December 2013 at Bangalore for which he on behalf of the Committee congratulated the scientists of DRDO and other stakeholders of the project.  The Defence Minister expressed hope that DRDO will continue to strive to complete all its projects on time.

On this occasion, the Committee members along with the Defence Minister congratulated Dr. Murali Manohar Joshi, a member of the Committee and Dr. Shivathanu Pillai, CEO BrahMos Aerospace who have been awarded the ‘Order of Friendship Award’, which is the highest Russian Order given to foreign citizens. They will receive the Award from the Russian President Shri Vladimir Putin.

The meeting was attended among others by Minister of State for Defence Shri Jitendra Singh, the Defence Secretary, Shri RK Mathur, Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister Shri Avinash Chander, the Secretary (Defence Production) Shri GC Pati and Secretary ESW Smt Sangita Gairola.

The Members of Parliament who attended the meeting included Shri Murli S Deora, Shri HK Dua, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shri Piyush Goyal, Shri Naveen Jindal, Shri Gajanan Dharmshi Babar, Shri Kailkesh N Singh Deo, Shri SS Ramasubbu, Shri Ram Chandra Khuntia, Shri Ishwarlal Jain, Shri DP Tripathi and Dr. Mahendra Prasad.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

First Indo-Japan Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) In Indian Waters From 19-22 Dec

The first ever Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX) to be conducted in waters off the Indian coast is scheduled in the Bay of Bengal from 19th December to 22nd December 2013. 

The Indian Navy will be represented by the indigenously built stealth frigate INS Satpura, the Guided Missile Destroyer INS Ranvijay and missile corvette INS Kuthar. From the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) two Guided Missile destroyers, JS Ariake (with Commander Escort Division – 7 embarked), and JS Setogiri will participate.

The exercise focuses on Maritime Security Cooperation. Spread over four days, the exercise will comprise harbour and sea phases of two days each. During the harbour phase, the ships crews’ will exchange experiences through professional interactions and will undertake planning for joint operations for the sea phase. The sea phase will include exercises such as VBSS ie Visit, Board, Search and Seizure drills frequently undertaken during Anti-Piracy operations, Gun firing, cross deck Helo operations and operations in anti-surface, anti-submarine and anti-air threat scenarios. The exercise will serve to enhance interoperability, thereby enabling the Navies to undertake operations in the sphere of maritime security in the future.

It may be recalled that India and Japan agreed upon conduct of bilateral naval exercises during Defence Minister AK Antony’s visit to Japan in Nov 2011. The maiden JIMEX was conducted off Japan in Jan 2012. This is the second round of the bilateral JIMEX and the first to be conducted in Indian waters.

Navy PRO : Timescale Captain PVS Satish                                                                                                                                             

Write-Up By Group Captain T K Singha On The Phasing Out Of MiG-21 FL


On Wednesday, December 11, 2013, the Indian Air Force (IAF) airbase in Kalaikunda, West Bengal is where the last deafening roars of four Mikoyan-Gurevich Mig-21 FL afterburners were heard for the last time. The iconic delta-wing fighter aircraft that heralded the 'supersonic era' in IAF is now part of military aviation history.

The iconic jets were flown by nearly 80 percent of the serving fighter aircrew in the IAF. Since its induction in 1963, nearly 90 percent of the IAF fighter pilots have also flown one or the other MiG variants at some point of time in their flying careers. The aircraft will go down in history as one of the finest IAF combat aircraft.

For the records, the last sorties were flown by Smirnoff Leader, Wg Cdr M Kumaria and his members comprising Wg Cdr D Maitra, Wg Cdr VR Rakesh and Wg Cdr AA Kanvinde, all pilots from the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU), the last abode of these venerable jets.

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne who has also flown all Mig-21 variants in his illustrious career reviewed the parade commanded by OCU Commanding Officer, Group Captain VP Singh.

Three Mig-27 ML fighters from the airbase flew twice in formations in reverence to the legend of a fighter jet that was the most widely exploited platform in IAF history that has also seen action in the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971.

Being limited in numbers,  the Mig-21s played a restricted role in the 1965 war. They, however, played a crucial role in the 1971 war giving IAF the air superiority over vital points and areas in the western theatre.

In the first ever supersonic air combat that ensued over the sub-continent in 1971, an Indian Mig-21 FL claimed a PAF F-104 Starfighter with its internal twin-barrelled guns alone.

By end of the hostilities the IAF Mig-21s had claimed four Pakistani F-104s, two F-6s, one F-86 Sabre and a Lockheed C-130 Hercules.

The pin-point accurate attack on the Governor's House at Dhaka by IAF pilots flying the Mig-21s proved to be a turning point in the war forcing the adversary to negotiate an eventual surrender.

The Mig-21 was also fielded in the Kargil war. It was often the first choice of commanders as it provided unmatched flexibility due its unique attributes of high agility, fast acceleration and quick turn-around.

The Air Chief described the (phasing-out) event as a watershed moment in IAF history. The induction of first batch of six MiG-21s way back in March-April 1963, heralded the arrival of IAF in the ‘Supersonic era’, he said.

"Its unprecedented combat versatility afforded IAF great amount of operational flexibility. Over the years, this delta wing marvel slowly evolved into the combat backbone of the IAF and close to 1000 fighters (which include all variants) have served in the IAF till date. In 1980-90s the MiG-21s constituted nearly 60 percent of our combat fleet strength," the Air Chief also said.

Ironically, it was Flight Lieutenant L Nagarajan, the youngest OCU pilot whop handed over the Form-700 of one of the retiring Mig-21 FL to the Air Chief, symbolically drawing curtains on one of the most enduring saga in IAF's aviation history.

The versatility of all the Mig-21 variants immensely shaped the IAF operational philosophy for decades. The pilots, engineers and technicians who flew and maintained the Mig-21 were strong proponents of its exceptional combat worthiness.

Besides accomplishing major operational feats, the Mig-21 also ushered a revolutionary enhancement in the technological and manufacturing capabilities of our indigenous aerospace industry.

With the phasing out of the Mig-21 FL, an era of relentless performance, precision deliverance and intimidating performance has also ended.

By Gr Capt T K Singha

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vijay Diwas Celebrated

The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and the three Service Chiefs paid homage at Amar Jawan Jyoti on the occasion of Vijay Diwas - 2013 here today.  Every year, this day is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Indian Armed Forces over Pakistan leading to the historic creation of Bangladesh.

The Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh laid the wreath along with the Defence Minister and paid tributes to the Martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice while fighting the enemy during the 1971 Operation. 
As the bugles sounded the last post, two minutes’ silence was observed.

On the occasion, the Minister of State for Defence Shri Jitendra Singh and senior officials from all the three wings of Armed Forces and Ministry of Defence were present.

On December 16 every year, Citizens, officials, students & war veterans lay wreaths and remember the sacrifices of the soldiers. The anniversary of Vijay Divas is observed across the country by paying tributes to the martyrs.

Mukti Jodhas and Indian War Veterans Recount 1971 War Tales

Accounts of the freedom struggle behind the birth of Bangladesh as a nation after its erstwhile identity of East Pakistan was completely wiped off the world map was recounted by members of the Bangladeshi delegation of Mukti Jodhas, in Fort William, today.

December 16, 1971 remains a landmark day etched in the history of Bangladesh, a day that is also celebrated as 'Vijay Diwas' in India, commemorating victory of Indian Forces allied with Mukti Bahini, over Pakistani forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

A delegation of about 80 Mukti Jodhas including their families from Bangladesh are here in Kolkata to take part in Vijay Diwas-2013 celebrations. Indian War Veterans who had participated in the 1971 War are also here for the event, which is now an annual feature.

During an interactive session held at Fort William today, a day ahead of the Vijay Diwas, Mukti Jodhas from Bangladesh and Indian War Veterans recounted their experiences during the war. The event also afforded the opportunity to the veterans from both sides to come together and share their reminiscences of a war that they had fought shoulder to shoulder.

Col (Retd) Jafar Imam, Bir Bikram, team leader of Mukti Jodhas while recounting the events leading up to and during the 1971 war, thanked the Indian Government and HQ Eastern Command for having facilitated this opportunity to come together. Four speakers from Bangladesh rendered their experiences while three officers from Indian Army also spoke on the occasion.

Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, Eastern Army Commander earlier extended a very warm welcome to the entire delegation and thanked them for having accepted the invitation to join in the celebrations.

A memorial service for the martyrs of 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War will also be held tomorrow on December 16. After the ceremonial events, public homage will be open to all from 10.30 am.

Vijay Diwas Commemorated In Eastern Command

Mukti Jodhas, Indian war veterans and serving officers of the army, navy and air force led by GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh came together on Monday at the Eastern Command War Memorial here in Kolkata, to pay homage to the martyrs of the Liberation War that heralded the birth of Bangladesh, 42 years to this day.

Although rich tributes are paid all across the nation, Vijay Diwas celebrations here in Eastern Command assume a special significance as mukti jodhas and Indian war veterans who fought together, reunite to celebrate this momentous occasion in history.

Former Governor of Punjab and Goa, Lt Gen JFR Jacob, 93, was the senior most veteran present, who besides having been the Chief of Staff (COS) in Eastern Command during the War also later became the army commander here. Six other former army commanders and a former army chief, Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury placed wreaths at the memorial.

Maj Gen Abul Kalam Md Humayun Kabir, a serving General in Bangladesh Army and Col (Retd) Jafar Imam, a decorated Bangladeshi veteran also placed wreaths on behalf of the 80-member delegation representing a grateful nation in this year's celebrations here in India.

Air Marshal Jasbir Walia, Senior Air Staff Officer, Eastern Air Command and Rear Admiral Atul Khanna, COS, Eastern Naval Command laid wreaths on behalf of the Air Force and Navy respectively.

Earlier the sombre ceremony began with invocations by a Pastor, Maulvi, Granthi and a Hindu priest. Patriotic numbers played by the army band wafted across the 'temple of the martyrs' as buglers nestled up to sound the 'Last Post' and 'Rouse', the haunting scores on such solemn occasions from a rampart behind the magnificent edifice of the war memorial as the gathering of uniformed personnel, civilians, school children and NCC Cadets observed silence in paying homage.

Later, the gathering intermingled with each other greeting and celebrating the occasion. A traditional feast, Barakhana in military parlance, was also held in the garrison ground inside Fort William where the visiting delegation members were felicitated by Lt Gen Dalbir and Mrs Namita Suhag and mementoes exchanged.

DPR & Gr Capt Tarun Kumar Singha

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Maldives Defence Minister Visits Southern Naval Command

The Defence Minister of Maldives Mr Mohamed Nazim arrived at Kochi today on the second leg of his visit to India. The official visit, at the invitation of the Defence Minister of India, had commenced at New Delhi on 11th December. At Kochi, Mr Mohamed Nazim visited establishments of the Southern Naval Command, where personnel of the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) undergo training. An important itinerary of the Defence Minister’s programme was unveiling of aircraft frame marking of the Advanced Light Helicopter being prepared for Maldives. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Nazim said that India has always stood with Maldives at the time of need and especially mentioned the assistance in capacity building across the defence sector. Vice Admiral Satish Soni, Flag officer Commanding in Chief Southern Naval Command who presided over the function said that India considers Maldives a very important neighbor and brought out the fact that that Maldives has been an outstanding contributor towards enhancing the surveillance and security in the Indian Ocean region. MNDF ships routinely contributed to anti piracy patrols as a result of which the threat of piracy has receded he said.

Earlier on arrival at Kochi, Mr Mohamed Nazim was received at the Naval airport by Vice Admiral Satish Soni, and accorded a Guard of Honour. The Minister held discussions with the Admiral on training matters. Training facilities are offered to the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) personnel in Indian Naval training establishments since 1988. MNDF personnel have been availing on an average, 35 courses every year for the past few years. Other aspects of the collaborative partnership between the two Indian Ocean neighbours include among others material assistance, and surveillance assistance for the exclusive economic zone of Maldives. Senior Officials of the Ministry of External Affairs, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Indian Navy and trainees of MNDF at Southern Naval Command witnessed the event. Mr Mohamed Nazim will conclude his visit to India tomorrow.

Cdr Roy Francis

4th Passing Out Parade At Officers Training Academy, Gaya


Friday, December 13, 2013

Passing Out Parade & Multi Activity Display At Officers Training Academy, Gaya

As a prelude to the Passing Out Parade on 14 Dec 13, a Multi Activity Display showcasing various aspects of military training imparted to the Gentlemen Cadets, coupled with interesting and awe inspiring acts of combat skills and adventure, was staged in the Rajyavardhan Stadium of Officers Training Academy, Gaya. The event was a prelude to the grand Passing Out Parade and commissioning of Gentleman Cadets as Young Officers, scheduled for 14Dec 13. The display was witnessed by a large number of spectators, which included the parents and relatives of the passing out course, NCC cadets and civilian dignitaries. Chief of Army Staff, Myanmar was the chief guest of the event. 

A key aim of training at the Academy is to inculcate a sense of adventure, in addition to developing physical fitness. The display showcased the skills that the Gentlemen Cadets learnt during the course of their training.
The event started with the arrival of the Chief Guest, welcomed by a salute by five smartly turned out cadets on horse backs who galloped into the stadium with military grace and eloquence. Thereafter, various breathtaking and awe-inspiring acts were presented by the participants which included Horse Show Jumping, Fly past by Microlight Aircrafts and Para Motors. Teams from Maratha Light Infantry Regiment and Bombay Engineers Group performed the Malkhamb, a traditional martial art form of Maharashtra. Personnel of Gorkha Training Centre performed the famous Gorkha Khukri Dance. The Gentlemen Cadets and instructors of OTA Gaya mesmerised the spectators with a professional display of agility and physical strength. The Sky Diving show was performed by the dare devil team of Army Adventure Wing followed by a Body Building Show by Signal Training Centre. The combined Pipe Band of Gorkha Regiment, Bihar Regimental Centre and OTA Gaya awed the spectators with enchanting tunes of Martial Music.  A fireworks display was the fitting culmination to a memorable evening of entertainment.  


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Second ALH, Handed Over To Maldives By India, To Be Positioned In Male By Early 2014

Defence Minister Shri AK Antony has reiterated India’s commitment to continue to strengthen bilateral defence relations with Maldives. Meeting with Maldivian Minister of Defence and National Security H.E. Mohamed Nazim here today, Shri Antony conveyed continued support to the strengthening of medical facilities and expertise for the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). During the meeting, training of Maldivian medical specialists in India, deputation of Indian Armed Forces medical specialists to Maldives and strengthening of medical infrastructure in Maldives were among the proposals discussed. Shri Antony also announced that all MNDF personnel will henceforth be eligible for treatment in Armed Forces medical institutions in India for major surgeries and for treatment of major and serious illnesses. The Maldivian Defence Minister conveyed his appreciation of the assistance being provided by India in this regard.
Both Ministers also discussed and agreed to pursue measures to enhance interactions between the Armed Forces of both countries. The continued conduct of bilateral exercise was discussed and it was agreed that the next joint exercise between both sides will be held in 2014.

During the one hour long meeting, both Defence Ministers discussed a number of issues relating to regional security and matters pertaining to bilateral defence cooperation between both countries. The Maldivian Defence Minister was accompanied by the Maldivian High Commissioner to India and senior officers of the Maldivian National Defence Force (MNDF). From the Indian side, Defence Secretary, Vice Chief of Naval Staff and senior officers of the Armed Forces, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs were present at the meeting.

Earlier, the Maldivian Defence Minister laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti and was accorded a ceremonial Guard of Honour.

The visiting dignitary will also be visiting Kochi on 14 December, 2013 and would be visiting naval facilities under the Southern Naval Command. During the visit, an Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) manufactured by HAL will also be symbolically handed over to the MNDF in the presence of the Minister. The ALH is expected to be positioned in Male by early 2014 and would be the second ALH to be provided to Maldives.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Inauguration Of Administrative Complex At Coast Guard Air Station

A new administrative building at Coast Guard Air Station (CGAS), Chennai was inaugurated by Vice Admiral Anurag G Thapliyal, Director General Indian Coast Guard in the presence of Inspector General SP Sharma, Commander Coast Guard Region (East) and other officers and civilian dignitaries here today.
The Air Station is a premium aviation unit of the Coast Guard for the Eastern Sea Board and an integral component of the coastal security matrix. It plays prominent role in discharging mandated duties of the Coast Guard in the maritime zones of India. The Coast Guard Air Station Madras was commissioned on 26 April 1991 and over the past three decades has rendered yeoman service during natural calamities like Tsunami, Cyclones and Maritime accidents ensuring safety of life and property at sea. The Director General Indian Coast Guard lauded the achievements of the Air Station and encouraged the officers to make best use of the advanced technology being made available of new generation Dornier Aircraft and Chetak helicopters to enhance vigil and presence in area of responsibility. The new state of art infrastructure with modern communication, surveillance and planning facilities will enhance the operational efficiency towards safeguarding our off-shore assets and security of
maritime borders.