Friday, March 22, 2019

Indian Navy Continues Humanitarian Efforts in Mozambique

Indian Navy - continues Humanitarian efforts in Mozambique 

The ships of the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) are currently  undertaking Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief  operations at Port Beira, Mozambique since 18 Mar 19.  The ships were diverted from sea post Cyclone 'IDAI' hit the coast of Mozambique on 15 Mar 19 causing large scale destruction and loss of lives.  

Since arrival at Port Beira, the ships have rescued more than 150 survivors from Buzi area near Port Beira, which is cut off from the mainland. In addition two medical camps have been set up at Port Beira and Gaura-Gaurathe Island and Medical assistance has been provided to over 800 affected people from the local population.

The Chetak helicopter of Indian Navy has undertaken a number of sorties in difficult conditions for evacuation of local personnel in coordination with local authorities and the UN Mission. The helo also undertook evacuation of 03 pregnant ladies, dropping of relief materiel (food and water) including 500 Kgs provided by World Food Programme. 

INS Shardul transferred 10 Tonnes of fresh water to a water bowser on jetty using submersible pumps. About 2 Tonnes of drinking water was also provided by INS Sujata in jerry cans to the Port authorities for relief camps. 

Community services are being undertaken by the ships crew at devastated locations like schools, churches, hospitals, orphanages in coordination with the local government officials. The ships have setup a Community Kitchen kept open 24x7 for all local populace including the workers at the port. A total of about 450 people have been provided hot meals.

In addition, Media Personnel from BBC, TVM Mozambique and OXFDM visited onboard our Ships for witnessing the relief work being undertaken. The media team also visited the Medical camp site at the Port and were briefed about the various medical aid being provided by the ships.

The HADR operations are ongoing and the ships of the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy remain committed to provide all assistance to the local population till their stay in Mozambique. 

Africa- India Field Training Exercise-2019

As part of the inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise , AFINDEX-19 which commenced on 18 March 2019 at Pune, a number of activities in planning and conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance has been undertaken by all 18 participating nations. The activities includes demonstrations and training on establishing & functioning of Mine Action Center, identification and survey of contaminated areas, mechanical and manual demining, disposal of improvised explosives devices and air causality disposal.

The exercise is focusing on exchange of best practices amongst the participating nations, team building and tactical level operations in conduct of Humanitarian Mine Assistance and Peace Keeping operations based on the guidelines issued by the United Nations.  17 African nations i.e. Benin, Botswana, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, three observers African nations i.e. Rwanda, Congo and Madagascar alongwith India are participating in the inaugural Africa-India Field Training Exercise. 

AFINDEX-19 will go a long way in further cementing relationship amongst the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation while undertaking such operations under the United Nations mandate.

Indian Air Force to participate in Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA) 2019

Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA-2019) is planned in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26 March 2019 to 30 March 2019. Indian Air Force is participating in the Maritime Aero Expo for the first time, during which it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft. The team departed from Air Force Station Kalaikunda for Langkawi today i.e  22 March 2019 via Myanmar (Yangon).

Participation of IAF in LIMA-2019 will provide an opportunity to air-warriors to interact with their Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) counterparts and foster close relationship between the two services. This will serve as a foundation for any future interaction with the Malaysian Air Force. It will also provide an opportunity to RMAF to assess the capabilities of LCA. 

IAF contingent consists of 02 x LCA, 01 x C-130J and one x IL-76 ac along with 27 officers, 42 air-warriors and 11 HAL personnel.

Induction of Indigenous Bridge in Corps of Engineers

In another inspring example of indigenisation of defence equipment, 5 Metre Short Span Bridge was formally handed over to the Indian Army on 20 March 2019 in a ceremony at the Talegaon facility of Larsen & Toubro Limited. The Bridge is indigenously designed & developed and is the result of close coordination between the Corps of Engineers and the DRDO laboratory at Pune R&DE (Engineers). The equipment has been manufactured by Larsen & Toubro Limited and has been delivered three months ahead of schedule.  All stakeholders have put in concerted efforts to overcome challenges and realise the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government, which aims to ensure self sufficiency in our defence needs.

The Bridge will meet the important requirement of providing mobility to own forces by speedy establishment of bridges.  The Bridge is one of the numerous indigenous projects of Corps of Engineers which have made significant progress and are nearing induction and will soon join the units of Corps of Engineers.

Indian Navy - first Responder to Cyclone 'IDAI' in Mozambique 19 Mar 19

The ships of First Training Squadron of Indian Navy (Sujata, Sarathi and Shardul) operating in the Southern Indian Ocean were diverted to Port Beira, Mozambique based on request received from the Government of Mozambique to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to the local population post the devastation caused by cyclone 'IDAI' which struck the coast of Mozambique on 15 Mar 19. INS Sujata along with ICGS Sarathi arrived at Port Beira morning of 18 Mar 19 whilst INS Shardul arrived on 19 Mar 19 and are providing necessary support to the local administration.  Upon arrival at the port, the IN ships shifted from anchorage and berthed alongside taking advantage of the tide and commenced liaison work with local authorities immediately.

Cyclone 'IDAI' made landfall at Beira, Mozambique in early hours of 15 Mar 19 causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces of the country. Preliminary inputs indicate that city of Beira faced the maximum devastation with large scale damage to infrastructure. There are also reports of about 5000 personnel marooned at Buzi near Port Beira requiring immediate evacuation. The safe evacuation of the affected personnel by IN ships is being coordinated in consultation with local authorities. The disembarkation of HADR stores including food, medicines and clothing to the Mozambique Defence authorities has been completed. Arrangements are in progress to disembark potable water.

The Hon'ble Defence Minister of Mozambique visited IN ships to oversee the relief efforts. The Senior Officer of First Training Squadron, Capt Varun Singh, NM embarked onboard IN Ship Sujata has indicated to the Mozambique Navy that no effort would be spared by the IN ships in providing HADR/ SAR effort. The helicopter from IN Ship Shardul is operating from the local airport for reccee and SAR. The boats, Landing Craft Assault and Gemini rubberised craft with divers would be used to render assistance for evacuation of marooned personnel.

The IN ships are likely to setup medical camps and provide food, water, blankets and other necessary relief items, as required by the local authorities. The situation is being monitored closely and the Indian Navy is prepared to render all necessary assistance to the local population in Mozambique.

33rd Edition of India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (Ind-Indo Corpat) Commences at Port Blair

Indonesian Naval Ship KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 led by Cmde Dafit Santoso arrived at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India for the Opening Ceremony of the 33rd edition of the India-Indonesia Coordinated Patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) to be held from 19 Mar to 04 Apr 2019. His Excellarry Ambassador of Indonesia to India, Mr. Shidharto Raza Suryodipuro is also visiting Port Blair to attend the Opening Ceremony to be held at Port Blair from         20 - 21 Mar 19. The Indian delegation is led by the senior officer from the Indian Navy, Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command.

The ship and aircraft from both the countries would undertake patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line. The patrolling would be conducted in three phases from 22-31 March 2019. This will be followed by a Closing Ceremony at Belawan, Indonesia, which is scheduled from 01-04 April 2019.

The IND-INDO CORPAT Series of bilaterals seek to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly Maritime neighbours countries toensure good order in the maritime domain, consolidate interoperability and strengthen existing bonds of friendship between India and Indonesia. During the stay in Port Blair harbour, various activities such as official calls, formal reception onboard ship, sporting fixtures between both navies, ship open to visitors and professional interactions have been planned.           

Indian Naval assets have been increasinly deployed in the recent times to address the maritime concerns on the region. In addition, as part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue, and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities. The 33rd IND-INDO CORPAT, also coinciding with 70 years of India-Indonesia diplomatic ties, will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas.   

Curtain Raiser: Indo-Sri Lanka joint Exercise Mitra shakti-VI

Exercise MITRA SHAKTI is conducted annually as part of military diplomacy and interaction between armies of India & Sri Lanka. The joint exercise for the year 2018-19 will be conducted from 26 March to 08 April 2019 in Sri Lanka. Troops from 1st Battalion the BIHAR Regiment of the Indian Army and Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army would be jointly undertaking the exercise.

The aim of the exercise is to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and to enhance ability of joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command. The exercise will involve tactical level operations in an international Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist environment under United Nations mandate. Exercise MITRA SHAKTI-VI will go a long way in further cementing relationship between both the nations and will act as a catalyst in bringing synergy and cooperation at grassroots levels between both the armies.
President confers gallantry and distinguished service Awards

The President and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred two Kirti Chakras and fifteen Shaurya Chakras to Armed Forces Personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at a solemn ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here today. Two Kirti Chakras and two Shaurya Chakras were given posthumously.

The President also conferred thirteen Param Vishisht Seva Medals, two Uttam Yudh Seva Medals and twenty-six Ati Vishisht Seva Medals to senior officers of the Armed Forces for distinguished service of an exceptional order. 

CNS Reviews Operational Readiness Exercise in Kochi

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, arrived Kochi on 18 March 19 for the debrief of the recently concluded annual Theatre Level Readiness and Operational Exercise (TROPEX). Commanders-in-Chief of all the three naval Commands, along with a number of senior operational commanders and representatives from Indian Army, Air Force and Indian Coast Guard attended and participated in the discussions held at the Naval Base, Kochi. 

The day long review of TROPEX 2019 was undertaken to examine the conduct of exercise and to assess operational readiness of the Indian Navy. A realistic audit of the Indian Navy’s deployment philosophy and fighting capability was undertaken during the review. Lessons learnt from the exercise will provide the Indian Navy accurate assessments to fine tune combat deployments, force structuring requirements, operational logistics as also material and training imperatives.

The Chief of Naval Staff while addressing the senior leadership and officers of the Navy congratulated them on the high level of professionalism and commitment displayed during the exercise. The CNS urged one and all to maintain the high tempo of operations and keep sharp vigil including stringent security measures to ensure safer coasts and secure seas. He stated that the Navy will always remain ready to protect, promote and preserve national interests in the maritime domain.

The Annual Integrated Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise - in short TROPEX - the largest maritime exercise of the Indian Navy was conducted in the month of February in the Arabian Sea and North Indian Ocean.  TROPEX 2019 was thus far the largest in terms of geographical extent covering the IOR, and also with regard to number of units participating. The exercise was conducted from 07 Jan 19 and graduated smoothly into providing the IN a high operational readiness posture post the Pulwama attack on 14 Feb 19. About 60 ships of Indian Navy, 12 ships of Indian Coast Guard and 60 aircraft participated in TROPEX 19. The exercise also included a Tri-services Amphibious Exercise that saw the participation of Army and Air Force personnel and assets. As a prelude to  TROPEX, the largest coastal defence exercise over codenamed ‘Sea Vigil’, was conducted on 22 and 23 Jan 19 with participation of all coastal states and union territories along with all maritime stake holders.

Overall, the exercise validated the Navy’s readiness and capability to meet various mandated roles, in support of national objectives.The Admiral departed Kochi, in the evening.

Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, VSM assumes Charge as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST)

Rear Admiral Krishna Swaminathan, VSM, has assumed charge as Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST) at Kochi on 18 Mar 19.  

Rear Admiral Swaminathan, a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 Jul 87, and is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla at Pune; the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham in the United Kingdom; the College of Naval Warfare, Karanja at Mumbai, and the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, USA. He has commanded five frontline ships of the Indian Navy including the missile vessels, INS Vidyut and INS Vinash; the missile corvette, INS Kulish; the guided missile destroyer, INS Mysore; and the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

Prior to assuming charge as FOST, the Admiral was the Chief Staff Officer (Training) at Headquarters Southern Naval Command and played a key role in the conduct of all training in the Indian Navy. He was also instrumental in raising the Indian Naval Safety Team that oversees operational safety across all domains of the Navy. 

The officer has a BSc degree from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, MA in Defence Studies from King’s College, London, MPhil in Strategic Studies from the Mumbai University and a PhD in International Studies from the Mumbai University.

FOST functions under the operational and administrative jurisdiction of Flag Officer Commanding-in–Chief, Southern Naval Command. His charter includes conduct of operational sea training for ships of the Indian Navy and Coast Guard by enhancing crew proficiency in all aspects, including safe navigation practices, damage control and firefighting drills, weapon firings as well as seamanship training.

The officer has taken over the appointment from Rear Admiral Sanjay J Singh, NM, who has proceeded to Mumbai to assume his next appointment as Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF).

Naval Commanders at Kochi for OP Discussions

Admiral Sunil Lanba, Chief of the Naval Staff will be in Kochi tomorrow ( on 18 Mar) to preside over the debrief of largest War Game of the Indian Navy - the Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX 19). The exercise had commenced 07 Jan 19 and was planned to be terminated by 10 Mar 19. However, the JEM sponsored terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy in Pulwama on 14 Feb 19 led to the rapid redeployment of the Indian Navy for Operations in North Arabian sea. 

The major combat units of the Indian Navy including the Carrier Battle Group with INS Vikramaditya, nuclear submarines and scores of other ships, submarines and aircraft swiftly transited from exercise to operational deployment mode as tensions between India and Pakistan escalated. A clear and resolute message regarding the operational posture of the Indian Navy to prevent, deter and defeat any misadventure by Pakistan in the maritime domain was also issued during the tri-services press conference conducted on 28 Feb 19. 

About 60 ships of the Indian Navy, 12 ships of the Indian Coast Guard and 60 aircraft were part of TROPEX 19. Amongst the key attributes of Naval forces are the 'Versatility' to change roles, 'Mobility' and 'Poise'. Availability of such a large number of combat ready assets in the theatre of operations for TROPEX 19 allowed the Indian Navy to expeditiously respond to the developing situation in synergy with the three services. The overwhelming superiority of Indian Navy in all three dimensions forced the Pakistan Navy to remain deployed close to the Makran coast and not venture out in the open ocean.
 Earlier, TROPEX 19 had commenced with Tri-services Amphibious Exercise in the A &N islands with participation of Army and Air Force. This was followed by the largest Coastal Defence Exercise code named SEA VIGIL' on 22 Jan and 23 Jan 19 with participation of all 13 Coastal States and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders. The TROPEX itself was thus far the largest in terms of geographical spread covering the IOR and also with regard to the number of participating units.

This day long review of TROPEX 19 by the Chief of the Naval Staff with all Operational Commander's is intended to examine the conduct of the exercise and to assess the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy. A realistic audit of the Indian Navy's deployment philosophy and fighting capability would also be undertaken. The lessons learnt from the exercise will provide the planners accurate assessments to fine tune force structuring requirements, operational logistics, as also material and training imperatives.

Twin Success for Man Portable Anti Tank Guided Missile

In a major boost for Army, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired indigenously developed, low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the second time today in the ranges of Rajasthan desert. MPATGM is incorporated with advanced features including state-of-the-art Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) Seeker with integrated avionics. The first test was conducted on 13th March 2019. In both the missions, the missiles hit the designated targets precisely at different ranges. All the mission objectives have been met.

Closing ceremony: Indo-Bangladesh joint Military Exercise Sampriti - 2019

Exercise Sampriti-VIII, a joint Indo-Bangladesh military exercise which witnessed participation of a company group of 9th Battalion the Rajputana Rifles from the Indian Army and the Company of 36 East Bengal Battalion, Bangladesh Army concluded at Tangail, Bangladesh on 14 March 2019. The closing ceremony was graced by HE Mrs Riva Ganguly Das, Indian High Commissioner who highlighted the special bonds between the two nations.  

The exercise was the 8th edition in the Sampriti series, which started in 2009. Exercise Sampriti strengthens and broadens interoperability and cooperation between the Indian and Bangladesh Armies. It is the fourth Indo-Bangladesh exercise at Tangail, Bangladesh and compliments number of other exchanges and exercise between the two forces. The commanders and staff officers of both sides were exercised to work in close coordination to receive and collate intelligence and to issue suitable operational orders to the joint field training components who executed these orders on ground in simulated realistic situations.

The joint training culminated in a validation exercise conducted at Bangabandu Senanibas Cantonment, Tangail in which subunits of both armies executed the plans. The validation exercise was reviewed by senior officers from both sides. Besides training, both contingents also participated in a number of activities including friendly volleyball and basketball matches. A magnificent parade and the customary exchange of mementos marked the successful completion of Indo-Bangladesh joint exercise. 

INDO-OMAN Joint Ex Al Nagah 2019

Indo Oman Joint Exercise Al Nagah III 2019, a joint military exercise between Indian and Royal Army of Oman (RAO), commenced this morning at HQ Jabel Regiment, Nizwa, Oman with a brief but impressive opening ceremony that saw the unfurling of the national flags of both countries with Omani and Indian soldiers standing side by side signifying the growing cooperation, synergy and understanding between both the countries.

The Omani contingent was represented by Jabel Regiment of the RAO while the Indian side was represented by troops of Tenth Battalion The Garhwal Rifles Regiment. Lt Col Muhammed Al Saidi, Second - in- Command, Jabel Regiment welcomed the Indian soldiers, and in his inaugural remarks highlighted the common shared beliefs of freedom, equality and justice that are precious to both nations. The magnificent opening ceremony conducted today started with briefing on Army Organization and Country Presentation by both countries.

The Indian Army and RAO contingents have been specifically selected for the exercise based on expertise and professional competence and will take part in the two-week-long event that will see them hone their tactical and technical skills in joint counter insurgency and counter terrorist operations in semi-urban scenario in mountainous terrain under UN mandate. Due emphasis will be laid on increasing interoperability between forces from both countries which is crucial for success of any joint operation.  Both sides will jointly train, plan and execute a series of well-developed tactical drills for neutralization of likely threats that may be encountered in such a scenario. Experts from both sides will also hold detailed discussions to share their experience on varied topics for mutual benefit. Ex Al Nagah 2019 will contribute immensely in developing mutual understanding and respect for each other’s military as also facilitate in tackling the worldwide phenomenon of terrorism.

Third Test-Firing of Guided Pinaka Successful

Guided Pinaka developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully test fired today at Pokhran ranges after two successful trials on Monday, March 11, 2019.  All the three trials met mission objectives.

The consecutive successful missions of Guided Pinaka proves the efficacy, reliability and high precision capabilities of the weapon system.

Defence Research and Defence Organisation (DRDO) today successfully test fired the Guided PINAKA from Pokhran ranges. The weapon system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system. In both the missions, the weapon systems impacted the intended targets with high precision and achieved desired accuracies. Telemetry Systems tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight path. All the mission objectives have been met.

The indigenously developed Guided Pinaka by DRDO will significantly boost the capability of the artillery to make precision hits.

Chief of the Army Staff Visits Independent Para Brigade: 10 March 2019

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Bipin Rawat today visited Para Brigade and reviewed their operational readiness. 

The Brigade is a fully airborne brigade and is a decisive force multiplier. During 1971 operations, airborne operations by the Independent Para Brigade accelerated the momentum of operations leading to surrender of Pakistan Armed Forces at Dacca.
The COAS today, was briefed on the readiness of the Para Brigade, he interacted with all ranks, reviewed operational preparedness and specialist training. The COAS complimented them for maintaining highest standards of training, operational readiness, morale and motivation and exemplary synergy with the Indian Air Force. 

The Army Chief directed the formations to ensure readiness and be prepared to decisively deal with emerging challenges that may develop.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Bipin Rawat today visited Western Command Headquarters and reviewed the operational preparedness along our western borders. During his visit, the Western Army Commander, Lieutenant General Surender Singh briefed and updated the Army Chief on the current operational situation, prevailing security environment and preparedness of the formations, specially in Amritsar and Samba Sectors.

The COAS interacted with officers of the Command Headquarters and complimented them for maintaining highest standards of training, operational readiness and exemplary synergy with the Indian Air Force. 

The Army Chief directed the formations to ensure continued state of vigilance and alertness and be prepared to decisively deal with emerging challenges that may develop.

IAF MiG-21 Bison Crash

An Indian Air Force MiG-21 Bison aircraft airborne from Air force Station Nal for a routine sortie, crashed near Bikaner, Rajasthan on 08 Mar 19 at around 1430 hrs.  The pilot ejected safely.  Initial inputs indicate the likely cause of accident as bird hit after take off. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of accident.

Gen Raymond Thomas, Commander US Special Operations Command, Visits India

On the official visit to India, General Raymond Thomas, Commander US Special Operations Command, US Army, called on the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. Both the Generals deliberated on the developing regional security environment, issue of global terrorism and Pakistan's continued support to terrorism was also discussed. Acknowledging India's role in peace and stability in the region, Gen Raymond emphasised on the need for further military cooperation in the field of technology and military to military exchanges between the two countries.

In the current scenario, Indian Army remains fully prepared for emerging challenges. In the last three weeks, disinformation campaign by the adversary on digital media has increased. All ranks have been well sensitised of these disinformation campaigns and all ranks can see through the lie, deceit & deception of the terror sponsors.

The Indian Air Force is in a high state of preparedness, to proactively engage any perceived threat in the present security scenario. A strict vigil in the skies to detect and thwart any act of aggression from Pakistan Air Force is being maintained. As per NOTAM No. A0234/19 issued by CAA Pakistan, it has opened their airspace with Oman, Iran, Afghanistan and China only. The eleven Entry/Exit points located along Indo-Pak airspace boundary are still closed.

After visiting the forward locations along the Line of Control in J&K and International Border in Jammu region, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat visited forward areas along the International Border in Rajasthan. The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited forward location of Barmer & Suratgarh Sectors to review the operational deployment and preparedness of the forces. During the visit, the COAS was briefed and updated on the current operational situation, prevailing security scenarios and preparedness of the formations. 

The COAS expressed his complete confidence in the capabilities of the Indian Army to thwart any nefarious Pakistan design to destabilise any situation. He praised high state of morale of troops and instructed them to remain prepared for all eventualities in close coordination with the Air Force.   
Misinformation on the shooting of Pakistan Air Force F-16 by MiG-21 Bison are being spread on various social media sites. IAF during the press statement on 28 Feb 19 had clarified that one F-16 of Pakistan Air Force was shot by MiG-21 Bison and it fell across the LoC. Additionally fake accounts of Wing Commander V Abhinandan have been created in the last one week. IAF has informed on 06 March 19 that Wing Commander V Abhinandan does not have any official social media account on Twitter and Instagram and have advised all not to follow these accounts as they may contain malware.

Post our warning to the Pakistan Army “NOT to target civilian areas”, the overall situation along the Line of Control remains relatively calm. In the last 24 hours, the Pakistan Army resorted to intense & unprovoked firing with heavy caliber weapons in selected areas of Krishna Ghati and Sunderbani, targeting Indian posts & civilian areas with Mortar bombs & heavy Arty Guns. The same was effectively retaliated by the Indian Army. There have been no casualties on the Indian side.

We would reiterate that as a professional Army we are committed to avoid civil casualties, especially along the Line of Control. All actions taken by our defence forces are targeted towards counter terrorism and terrorist infrastructure, away from civilian areas, to avoid civilian casualties.

We are maintaining strict vigil along the Line of Control and IB. Any further provocation or misadventure by Pakistan will be responded in a befitting manner with dire consequences.

In the morning of 27 Feb 19, our Air Defence system was on full alert. Build up of PAF aircraft on their side of LoC was noticed in time and additional aircraft were scrambled to tackle the adversary. In their attempt to attack our ground targets, PAF aircraft were engaged effectively.  From IAF side, Mirage-2000, Su-30 and MiG-21 Bison aircraft were involved in the engagement. PAF aircraft were forced to withdraw in a hurry, which is also evident from large missed distances ofthe weapons dropped by them.  During combat, use of F-16 by PAF and multiple launches of AMRAAM were conclusively observed. Prompt and correct tactical action by Su-30 aircraft, in response to AMRAAM launch, defeated the missile. Parts of the missile fell in area East of Rajouri in J&K, injuring a civilian on ground. Detailed report in this regard has already been released by IAF.  All the Su-30 aircraft engaged in combat landed back safely.  False claim by Pakistan of shooting down a Su-30, appears to be a cover up for loss of its own aircraft..

Permanent Commission to Women

Ministry of Defence has taken steps to ensure implementation of announcement by the Prime Minister on 15th August, 2018 regarding grant of Permanent Commission to Women officers in the Armed Forces.

In so far the Indian Air Force is concerned, all Branches, including Fighter Pilots are now open for women officers.

In Indian Navy all non sea going Branches/Cadre/Specialisation have been opened for induction of women officers through Short Service Commission. In addition to education, Law & Naval Constructor branch/cadre, women SSC officers have been made eligible for grant of Permanent Commission in the Naval Armament branch, at par with the male officers.

The proposal for induction of three new training ships for the Indian Navy is underway. This will provide the requisite infrastructure for training of both men and women officers. Indian Navy will start inducting women in all branches, once the training ships are in place.

Women officers will be granted Permanent Commission in the Indian Army in all the ten branches where women are inducted for Short Service Commission. So, besides the existing two streams of Judge Advocate General (JAG) and Army Education Corps, now PC will be granted in Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence also to women officers. SSC women officers will give their option for PC before completion of four years of Commissioned Service and they will exercise option for grant of PC and their choice of specialisation.

SSC Women officers will be considered for grant of PC based on suitability, merit etc and will be employed in various staff appointment.

As was stated during the Joint Press Conference on 28 Feb 19, the Indian Navy remains deployed as necessary to protect National Maritime Interests.

Over the past several days, we have witnessed Pakistan indulging in false propaganda and spread of misinformation. The Indian Navy does not take cognizance of such propaganda. Our deployments remain undeterred.

Rescue of Five Fishermen by INS Sharda

Indian Naval Ship Sharda, based at Kochi, rescued five fishermen at sea who were floating in the water after their fishing vessel, FV Omkaram, sank, some 35 km North West of Azhikal port, on 04 Mar 19. The incident occurred at around 09:30 AM when the ship was on patrol in the area.

An alert lookout sighted a movement in the water, which turned out to be the five floating fishermen. The ship acted with alacrity and immediately altered course towards the survivors. It thereafter lowered its life boats and successfully rescued and brought on board all five fishermen within ten minutes of the initial sighting. Two of the fishermen had sustained minor injuries and were administered first aid by the Ship’s Medical Team. The ship thereafter headed for Kochi to disembark the survivors.

The rescued fishermen have indicated that they had cast off from Cheruvathur in Kasargod at 04:00 AM on 04 Mar 19. As per them, water started entering their 13 feet boat, which they were unable to control, and the heavy flooding ultimately caused the boat to sink. The fishermen had to remain afloat without any life saving devices from 06:30 AM till the time they were rescued. They were out of mobile range and were unable to swim or to seek help from other boats. They said that they had removed their clothes to wave at the ship and had almost lost hope of being rescued. All the survivors Manoharan (56) (Boat Owner), Vasav (57), Chandran (60), Suresh (42), Surendran (49) belong to Kanjanghad, Kasargod. The survivors were provided food, water and fresh clothing by the ship’s crew. Efforts are on to inform their next of kin as well as Trikkaripur local coastal police station.

INS Sharda is an offshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Navy and presently in its 26th year of commission. The ship is actively deployed for coastal surveillance and patrolling off Kerala and Lakshadweep islands and has also undertaken regular anti-piracy deployments in the Gulf of Aden. The ship was earlier too involved in rescue of 21 fishermen during Cyclone Ockhi and was also used for distribution of relief material during Op Madad, which was launched by the Southern Naval Command, at the time of the Kerala floods. The ship is presently commanded by Commander R Anoop.

Convocation Ceremony – 57th NDC Course

Graduates of the 57thNational Defence College (NDC) Course (2017 Batch) were awarded the degrees in a convocation ceremony held at the NDC, here today. The Minister of State for External Affairs General VK Singh graced the occasion and delivered the valedictory address while awarding the parchments to the officers in the presence of Commandant, NDC Vice Admiral Srikant and Head of Department (Department of Defence Strategic Studies) University of Madras Prof. (Dr.) Utham Kumar Jamadhagni. Vice Admiral Srikant, in his inaugural address asserted that on completion of the NDC course, the graduates were confident to handle complex situations, and taking a broader view of all aspects related to national security and strategy.  

The Minister in his address, congratulated the MPhil degree recipients and also exhorted them to further pursue their studies in national security and to become thinking scholar-soldiers who can further their respective nations interests. He appreciated the diverse fields of professional expertise and the global representation in the course participants that would help in enriching both knowledge and mutual understanding.

The NDC, New Delhi is the premier seat of strategic learning in India. A total of 100 officers of the rank of Brigadier and equivalent from the Armed Forces and Joint Secretary level officers from civil, police and allied services attend the prestigious NDC Course each year. Armed forces officers from about 25 friendly foreign countries also attend the course. NDC alumni have gone on to occupy the highest positions of state, the Armed Forces and the governments both in India and abroad. One-year course also qualifies the officers to receive an MPhil degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from the prestigious University of Madras, Chennai.

Admiral Sunil Lanba chairman COSC and Chief of the Naval Staff visits UK from 12-15 March 2019
Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM AVSM ADC Chairman COSC and Chief of the Naval Staff is scheduled to visit UK on an official tour from 12 to 15 March 2019. The Indian Navy has had traditional links with the Royal Navy (RN) which have come a long way since institutionalisation of various defence forums for enhancing bilateral relationship between the two countries. With the constitution of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) and the Military Sub Group (MSG) in 1995, a two-tier structure of cooperation was established to progress various areas of defence cooperation. In September 2004, the two countries inked a pact to embark upon a strategic partnership in which defence cooperation figured prominently. The ‘Service-level Staff Talks’ forum, officially referred to as ‘Executive Steering Group’ is the primary mechanism of enhancing cooperation between the two Armed Forces.

Indian Navy and Royal Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008. RN participated in the 10th anniversary celebrations of IONS at Kochi in November 2018. The bilateral naval exercise KONKAN is a significant operational link between the two navies and is held every year, alternately off the coast of India and UK. The two navies also interact on a host of issues like training, doctrinal concepts and Maritime Domain Awareness.

The upcoming visit of Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chairman COSC and the Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy to UK will consolidate existing maritime cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues. The Admiral’s visit to UK also aims to take forward the vision that was set forth during the visit of our Hon’ble PM to UK in November 2015.

During the three-day visit, Admiral Sunil Lanba is scheduled to hold discussions with the Chief of Defence Staff, UK in London and the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. Admiral Sunil Lanba is also scheduled to visit the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, RN Submarine Rescue Facility at Glasgow and interact with the organisers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh.

Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue – 2019 (05 and 06 March 2019) 

In continuation of the process of engaging the global strategic community in an annual review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the second edition of Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) - 2019 will be held on 05 and 06 March 2019 at the Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. This dialogue will build upon the foundation laid by the inaugural edition and will examine five fresh themes: (i) Practical solutions for achieving cohesion in the region through maritime connectivity; (ii) measures to attain and maintain a free-and-open Indo-Pacific; (iii) a regional approach to the region’s transition from a ‘Brown’ to a ‘Blue’ economy; (iv) opportunities and challenges arising from the maritime impact of ‘Industry 4.0’; and (v) how the twin conceptualisations of ‘SAGAR’ and ‘SAGARMALA’ might best be made mutually-reinforcing on a regional level.  These themes would be addressed in five sessions spread over two days, with three of the sessions being steered as panel-discussions, which would encourage a freer flow of ideas and views and ensure greater audience-interaction.
The response to this year’s dialogue has been highly encouraging and IPRD-2019 is likely to witness active participation of globally-renowned domain experts and policy-makers from thirteen countries of the Indo-Pacific — Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.  The Honourable Raksha Mantri, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, the Honourable Minister for Road Transport and Highways; Shipping and Water Resources; River Development; and Ganga Rejuvenation — Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari, the Honourable Minister of Commerce and Industry; and Civil Aviation — Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, are scheduled to address the audience before the conduct of the professional sessions. 

Through this annual dialogue, the Indian Navy and the National Maritime Foundation, aim to provide a platform for substantive and insightful discussions pertaining to the geopolitical developments affecting the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific, and provide policy-relevant inputs to the policy-makers and the public at large.

The idea of an Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) was first conceptualised and conducted in 2018, as the apex level conference of the Indian Navy, organised by the National Maritime Foundation as the Navy’s Knowledge Partner. The permanent theme of this annual dialogue is a review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.  The aim is to focus attention on the Indo-Pacific, as a maritime geographical-entity, while deliberating aspects of great relevance to regional geopolitics. The 2018 edition of the IPRD sought to highlight the opportunities that lay before India’s maritime policy-shapers, policy-makers, and, the practitioners of the country’s maritime policies.  This first edition dwelt upon four basic themes: (i) The growth, opportunities and vulnerabilities of maritime merchandise trade, including associated infrastructure such as ports and multi-modal connectivity, as seen from the very different perspectives of large and small littoral and island nations; (ii) Regional connectivity-models; (iii) Pan-regional challenges such as sustaining persistent surveillance at sea, the increasing digitisation of the maritime space, the dangers of cyber-malevolence that are already afflicting the maritime domain, etc.; (iv) the role of Indian industry within both, the private and the public sectors, in enhancing holistic maritime-security.  The 2018 Dialogue was a resounding success, with 15 analytical papers presented by renowned strategists and analysts from across the globe, in five sessions, spread over two days.
Air Marshal C Hari Kumar Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, WAC IAF Retires 

Air Marshal Chandrashekharan Hari Kumar PVSM AVSM VM VSM ADC, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command Indian Air Force retired on 28 February 2019 after an illustrious career spanning over 39 yrs.
The Air Marshal was commissioned in Flying Branch of Indian Air Force in the      year 1979. He has been a Qualified Flying Instructor and a Fighter Combat Leader having more than 3300 hours of flying to his credit. He graduated from Defence Services Staff College and National Defence College. During his meritorious service to the nation, he had done instructional tenures at Fighter Training Wing, Tactics and Air Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) and College of Air Warfare. He has commanded a MiG-21 Sqn, TACDE and a frontline fighter base. His staff appointments included Ops 1A, Air-1 at Headquarter Western Air Command and Deputy Director Air Staff Inspection, Director Operations (Joint Planning), Assistant Chief of the Air Staff Operations (Offensive) at Air HQ and Senior Air Staff Officer at Headquarter South Western Air Command.
The Air Marshal was the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Eastern Air Command prior to his appointment as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command. 

For his distinguished service to the Nation, he was awarded Param Vishisht  Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vayu Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and appointed Honorary Air Force ADC to President of India on 01 Jan 2017. 

The Air Marshal celebrated his sixtieth birthday on 26 February and remained a soldier till the last day of his service. He personally supervised the planning and successful execution of the IAF strikes in Balakot sector. A day prior to his retirement, the officer personally directed the fighters that repulsed the raid from PAF on forward posts of the Indian Army. Both operations received nation wide accolades and personal appreciation from the highest level of leadership.

Air Marshal R Nambiar PVSM AVSM VM & Bar Assumes the Command of Western Air Command as AOC-in-C

Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, PVSM AVSM VM & Bar took over as Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command, Indian Air Force on 01 March 2019. All the Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) of the Western Air Command along with spouses were present on the occasion. The Air Marshal is an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla. He was commissioned in the Flying Branch of Indian Air Force as a Fighter Pilot on 11 June 1981.

The Air Marshal reviewed a ceremonial Guard of Honour and outlined his vision for the Western Air Command. He exhorted all personnel to work with zeal & enthusiasm so as to enable Western Air Command to fulfill the objectives of the IAF and the Nation at large.

The Air Marshal is an Experimental Test Pilot and has flown about 42 types of aircraft. He has the distinction of having the highest number of flying hours to his credit on Mirage-2000 in the IAF, with over 2300 flying hrs on the aircraft and a total of 5100 hrs of flying experience. He is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and was the Project Test Pilot for the Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas”.

Air Marshal Nambiar has commanded the prestigious No. 1 Squadron. He was the Director of Space Applications at Air HQ, Principal Director of Offensive Operations and the Chief Operations Officer of Air Force Station Gwalior. He was posted to Embassy of India in Israel as the Defence Attache. The Air Marshal has also held the coveted appointments of Air Officer Commanding, Air Force Station Jamnagar, Commandant ASTE, Air Defence Commander Western Air Command and Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) of Southern Air Command, Training Command and Eastern Air Command. He was also the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff at Air HQ. Before taking over as AOC-in-C of the Western Air Command, he was the AOC-in-C, Eastern Air Command.

Air Marshal Nambiar was awarded Vayu Sena Medal for Gallantry by Hon'ble President of India for his prominent role in the Kargil Operations. He was awarded a Bar to the Vayu Sena Medal for flight testing the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) in 2002 during its first phase of flight. He was commended by the Chief of Air Staff in 1991 and C-in-C of Strategic Force Command in 2005. He was conferred Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2015 and Param Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 Jan 2019.

The Air Marshal is married to Mrs Luxmi Nambiar. Their son, Ashwin Nambiar is a commercial pilot. 

In a separate ceremony, Mrs Luxmi Nambiar also assumed the charge of President, Air Force Wives Welfare Association (AFWWA) – Regional. The ceremony was witnessed by all the Executive Members of AFWWA (Regional).

Statements by Indian Armed Forces on Prevailing Security Situation 

Following are the statements issued by Air Vice Marshal Ravi Kapoor of the Indian Air Force, Major General Surinder Mahal of the Indian Army and Rear Admiral D S Gujral of the Indian Navy.
Indian Air Force: 

On 27 Feb 19 at around 1000 hrs IAF radars detected a large package of  PAF aircraft heading towards the Indian territory towards general area Jhangar. They breached the Indian airspace west of Rajauri in Sunderbani Area.

The ingressing aircraft were observed to be at various levels. IAF fighters including MiG-21 Bison, Su-30 MKI, Mirage-2000 were tasked to intercept the PAF aircraft.

The PAF aircraft attempting to target military installations were intercepted by IAF fighter aircraft which thwarted their plans.  Although PAF bombs have fallen in Indian Army Formation compounds however they were unable to cause any damage to our Military Installations.

In the aerial combat that ensued one F-16 of PAF was shot down by an IAF MiG-21 Bison. The F-16 crashed and fell across the LOC in POJ&K.

The IAF lost one MiG-21 in the aerial engagement and though the Pilot ejected safely his parachute drifted into POJ&K where he was taken into custody by Pakistan Army. 

There have been many factually incorrect statements that have been made by Pakistan.

a.         The First blatant disinformation was that two IAF aircraft were shot down by Pakistan and three pilots were downed. This figure was later revised downwards to two IAF aircraft and two Pilots. The fact however, is that Indian Army units had reported sighting two parachutes falling in the POJ&K which were of two F-16 pilots shot down by the IAF MiG-21 Bison. Pakistan later in the evening changed its statement to say that one Indian pilot was in their custody. Therefore, it was only by late evening that Pakistan accepted the fact.

b.         Secondly, Pakistan claimed that they intentionally dropped weapons in open space where there was no human presence or military posts. The fact is that the PAF aircraft targeted military installations. However they were intercepted by IAF fighter aircraft that thwarted their plans.  Although PAF bombs have fallen in Indian Army Formation compounds however they were unable to cause any significant damage to our Military Installations due to swift IAF response.

c.         Pakistan also stated that no F-16s were used in the operation and no Pakistani Plane was downed by Indian Air Force. There is enough evidence to show that F-16s were used in this mission and Pakistan is trying to hide this fact. Also, parts of AMRAAM Air to Air Missile which is carried only on the F-16s in PAF were recovered East of Rajauri within the Indian territory. Therefore, the fact remains that one F-16 of PAF was shot down by an IAF MiG-21 Bison aircraft.

d.         IAF has recently learnt that Pakistan has announced that Wg Cdr Abhinandan will be returned to India tomorrow. IAF looks forward to the return of Wg Cdr Abhinandan.

Indian Army:

In response to the counter terrorist strike by the Indian Air Force, Pakistan Army first resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violations in Sundarbani, Bhimbar Gali, Naushera and Krishna Ghati Sectors on 26 Feb 19 with effect from 5 ‘O’ Clock in the evening and again during the night. This was responded to by the Indian Army in a befitting and appropriate manner. 

As my Air Force counterpart has elaborated, on 27 Feb 19, Pakistan Air Force attempted to target military establishments in J&K. Specifically, they targeted a Bde [Brigade] HQ, a Bn [Battalion] HQ, forward defences and a Lgs [Logistics] Installation. However, given the high level of preparedness along the Line of Control and the immediate and punitive response by own forces. The Pakistan Air Force’s designs were foiled. 

We continue to maintain strict vigil along the Line of Control and the IB [International Border] Sector. Our Ground Based Air Defence Weapon Systems have been put on alert on all along the Line of Control and some parts of the IB. Mechanised Formations too have been placed on Standby. I wish to assure the nation that we are fully prepared and in a heightened state of readiness to respond to any provocation by Pakistan. 

Despite the present turn of events, the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region and will continue to act against agencies who harbour inimical designs against India and citizens of our country. 

Indian Navy:

The Indian Navy is deployed in high state of readiness and remains poised in all the three dimensions – on surface, under-sea and in air to deter, prevent and defeat any misadventure by Pakistan in the maritime domain. I can assure of a resolute, swift and strong response when needed. We stand as one with the Army and Air Force to ensure the safety and security of the nation and our citizens.

Mi-17 V5 Helicopter of IAF Crashes

On 27 February 2019, one Mi-17 V5 helicopter of Indian Air Force got airborne from Srinagar airfield at 1000 hrs for a routine mission.  The helicopter crashed around 1010 hrs near Budgam, J&K.  All six air warriors on board the helicopter, suffered fatal injuries.  A court of inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident.

DAC approves Acquisition of Defence Equipment worth 2700 crores

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman met here today and accorded approval for acquisition of defence equipment for about Rs 2700 Crores

Approval was granted for procurement of three Cadet Training ships for the Indian Navy, which would be utilised to provide basic sea training for officer cadets including women officer undertrainees. The ships would be capable of undertaking Hospital Ship duties, providing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, undertaking Search and Rescue (SAR) missions and Non-Combatant Evacuation Operations.

Twin Success for Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired indigenously developed Quick Reach Surface-to-Air missiles (QRSAM) from ITRChandipur, off the Odisha Coast today. The two missiles were tested for different altitude and conditions. The test flights successfully demonstrated the robust Control, Aerodynamics, Propulsion, Structural performance and high manoeuvring capabilities thus proving the design configuration.

Radars, Electro Optical Systems, Telemetry and other stations have tracked the Missiles and monitored through the entire flights. All the mission objectives have been met. 

RakshaMantriSmt Nirmala Sitharaman congratulated DRDO on the successful test flights and said the indigenously developed state-of-the-art QRSAM will significantly boost the defence capabilities of our armed forces.

Defence Minister visits the site of fire incident

Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman today visited the site of fire incident of Aero India 2019, which is currently in progress at Yelahanka Air Force Base. Officials from Indian Air Force, State Fire Services and State police were present at the spot. She was briefed about the incident by the officials and was given account of first hand witnesses. RM enquired about the steps being taken to facilitate the insurance claims by the owners of the vehicles. RM directed officials to ensure that RTO helpdesk to have representatives from Insurance companies to facilitate the insurance claims by people. Later in the day Raksha Mantri is scheduled to have a meeting with the CM of Karnataka along with AOC in C, Commissioner of Police, DG Fire Services and other senior officials.

Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman was briefed about the quick action taken by the Operational Control Centre (OCC) of Aero India at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in controlling the rapid spread of fire at P4 parking area. The rapid spread of fire was aided by strong winds reaching in excess of 30 Kmph and the fact many vehicles were parked in direction of wind. The OCC Commander along with State Fire Department put into action together more than thirteen fire tenders, seven water bowsers and 33 Agni Varuna vehicles to douse the fire. Additionally, six Crash Fire Tenders (CFT) of IAF, which is used in case of Aircraft Crash, was used to control the rapid spread of fire and the entire fire was doused within 45 Minutes and more than 3000 litres of foam was used. These timely actions ensured that the damage was limited to a small area and larger damage was avoided. IAF also launched one helicopter immediately for aerial assessment which aided in giving effective directions to fight the fire. At the time of the incident more than 3000 vehicles were parked in the parking area. Vehicles in the line of fire were removed from the area by breaking the glass windows and releasing the parking brakes as drivers were not present and these cars were pushed to safety. This action also created a gap between the parked vehicles and stopped further spread of the fire. In total 278 cars were fully damaged, 73 cars partially damaged (16 due to fire and 57 due to breaking of glass). The OCC effectively coordinated for Quick replenishment of the Fire Tenders by regulating traffic on NH7 with the help of Traffic police. This ensured unhindered access of these Fire Tenders to Static Water Tanks for replenishing of the tenders. Alternate parking area was identified immediately for the people who were visiting the Aero India. Due to the swift action and smooth coordination among various agencies involved, afternoon show was conducted as per schedule without any hindrance. The incident resulted in no loss of life or injuries to anyone.

A RTO helpdesk was immediately setup at the site of the incident and people could file FIR on site. Food and water arrangement was done by the IAF to the people at the site of the incident. Later in the day, authorities facilitated their movement back to their homes by arranging transportation. 

On February 24, 2019, the Aero India 2019 is continuing on as per schedule and is witnessing large crowds to be part of last day of the show.

Fire at parking area of Aero India Brought Under Control

Today morning at around 1155hrs an unfortunate incident occurred, wherein fire broke out in one of the parking areas outside the venue of Aero India 2019. The parking area is located well away from the Aero India venue on the other side of the highway. All available fire fighting services, Rapid Action Force and NDRF teams were immediately mobilised. IAF immediately launched one helicopter for aerial assessment, the helicopter assisted by providing effective directions to fight the fire. The fire was brought under control by deploying more than 12 fire fighting vehicles. The cause of the fire was not immediatly known. The Air Show and Aero India venues were unaffected. There was no loss of life or injury, however, as per existing estimates around 150 vehicles were burnt / damaged in the process. Details of damage to vehicles is being ascertained. Afternoon air display continued on time. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the cause of fire. 

HAL signs MoU with CPWD

HAL signed an MoU with CPWD for the execution of the stage 2 works of Infrastructure development works at its Green Field Helicopter factory in Tumakuru at the on-going Aero India in Bengaluru, today.

The MoU was signed by Chief Executive Officer, Helicopter Complex Shri GVS Bhaskar and Chief Project Manager (CPM), HAL project zone, CPWD Shri Rajesh Jainin the presence of Chairman and Managing Director, HAL  Shri R Madhavan.

The stage 2 works include development of infrastructure for structural assembly and equipping of helicopters at Tumakuru. The project will be executed in a phased manner.

ED Helicopter Division Shri V Natarajan, GM, Helicopter DivisionShri Ambuvelan,  ADG, CPWDShri RK Soni, CE, CPWD Shri SN Raiwere also present on the occasion.

New Helicopter factory coming up in a 615 acres green field campus of Tumakuru Plantthat would be fully self-sufficient for manufacturing full range of helicopters from 3 to 12 tons category and shall comprise of state-of-the-art manufacturing, structural assembly, final assembly-line facilities, heli-runway, aerodrome, residential township for the staff, recreational facilities, a well-equipped training and development centre.

HAL hands over three ALHS to Indian Army Ahead of Schedule

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) handed over first three ALHs as part of the 22 ALH MK III contract to the Indian Army in the on-going Aero India 2019, today.

HAL had entered into a contract with the Indian Army for 40 ALH (22 ALH Mk III and 18 Mk IV Rudra) in August 2017. Of the 22 helicopters, 19 helicopters have already been produced and will be progressively delivered.

The documents were handed over to Director General Army Aviation Lt Gen Kanwal Kumar by Chief Executive Officer, Helicopter Division Shri GVS Bhaskar in the presence of Chairman and Managing Director, HAL Shri R Madhavan. Officials from the Army, HAL, DGAQA and RCMA were also present on the occasion.

The Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) is a multi-role, new generation helicopter in the 5.5-ton weight class, indigenously designed and developed by HAL. Powered by two Shakti engines, it provides superlative performance throughout its flight envelope. It is suited for a high-speed cruise for rapid deployment and to maximize the area of operations. The basic helicopter is produced in skid version and wheeled version. In the wheeled version, options for fixed and retractable undercarriages are available.

Flying of LCA Tejas by Chief of the Army Staff & Principal Scientific Adviser to GOI

Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat was flown in trainer version of DRDO’s Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas today to demonstrate the operational capabilities of the aircraft during Aero India 2019 at Bengaluru. Air Vice Marshal N Tiwari, Head of National Flight Test Centre (NFTC) at Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bengaluru piloted this aircraft. 

On this occasion, Tejas was flown at medium altitude to showcase the Pin-point attack capabilities using a Laser Designation Pod (LDP). 

The Army Chief was demonstrated the maneuvering and radar capabilities of the aircraft. After the sortie, the Army chief expressed immense satisfaction and said that Tejas is a wonderful aircraft and if it gets added to the IAF inventory, it will be a great asset.

A familiarization sortie in LCA Trainer was also conducted for the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India, Prof K Vijay Raghavan, which was flown by Group Captain S. Gunasekaran, the test pilot from NFTC. This was a handling sortie of 30 minutes duration during which Prof Vijay Raghavan experienced the controls of the aircraft and maneuvered it for some time. 

Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of LCA Tejas MK-I certificate was handed over on 20th February 2019 by Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary Department of Defence R&D, Chairman DRDO & Director General ADA to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa in presence of Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra and Chairman & Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Shri R Madhavan.

BEL Launches Atmospheric Water Generator safe Drinking Water, Straight From the Air

Navratna Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has unveiled its new product, the Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG), an innovative solution to meet the ever-increasing need for drinking water worldwide, today at Aero India 2019.

Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat, inaugurated the AWG in the presence of, Chairman and Managing Director BEL Shri MV Gowtama, Directors and other senior officers of BEL.

BEL's Atmospheric Water Generator can be used to generate water straight from the humidity present in the atmosphere. The day is not far when drinking water becomes the most precious commodity on the planet. Groundwater, currently the main source of drinking water, is being depleted at alarming and unsustainable rates even as the search for alternate water sources continues. 

BEL's Atmospheric Water Generator employs a novel technology to extract water from the humidity present in the atmosphere and purify it. It uses heat exchange for condensing the atmospheric moisture to produce pure, safe and clean potable water. The AWG comes with a Mineralisation Unit, which is used to add minerals which are required to make the water potable. The AWG is configurable in static and mobile (vehicular) versions and is available in 30 litres/day, 100 litres/day, 500 litres/day and 1,000 litres/day capacities.

The Atmospheric Water Generator can be used to provide drinking water in community centres and public places like health care centres, schools, colleges, offices, railway stations, bus stands, airports, sea ports, off-shore oil rigs, military establishments, remote field areas and remote establishments and residential complexes.

The Atmospheric Water Generator is being manufactured by BEL in collaboration with CSIR-IICT and MAITHRI, a start-up company based in Hyderabad. It is on display at the BEL stall at Hall-E at Aero India 2019. BEL has, as part of the Government of India's Start-up India Initiative, extending its support to start-up Companies.

BEL Signs Teaming Agreement With Hughes India for Helicopter SATCOM Solutions

Navratna Defence PSU, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hughes India have entered into a Teaming Agreement for design, development, supply, installation, integration and commissioning of Satellite Communication solutions for helicopters under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India at Aero India 2019, Bengaluru. 

Director (Marketing), BEL, Ms Anandi Ramalingam and President, Hughes India Shri Partho Banerjeesigned the MoU in the presence of Director (Other Units), BEL, Shri Nataraj Krishnappa, on February 20, 2019.

The Teaming Agreement will enable MoD’s strategic users to get enabled with helicopter-based Satellite Communication links for real-time and assured communications using ISRO's Ku band satellites. Through this agreement, BEL and Hughes India are collaborating using their respective state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities in developing these integrated and sophisticated helicopter solutions.

BEL is a Navratna defence PSU with expertise in the design, development, engineering and manufacture of Radar & Weapon Systems, Network Centric Systems and Communications systems, Electronic Warfare & Avionics, Naval Systems, Electro-optics products, Tank Electronics & Gun Systems, Satcom Systems, Homeland Security & Smart City solutions, Strategic Components and select civilian products.

Hughes India is a majority owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, LLC, USA (Hughes). Hughes is the world’s largest provider of broadband satellite networks and services. Hughes India is the largest satellite service operator in India providing a comprehensive range of broadband networking technologies, solutions, and services for businesses and governments.

Final Operational Clearance of LCA Tejas MK I for Indian Air Force

20thFebruary 2019 is a significant day in the journey of Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK I for Indian Air Force (IAF), when the formal declaration of Final Operational Clearance (FOC) of the aircraft was made by Secretary Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy. The day also witnessed the handing over of FOC Certificate and Release to Service Document (RSD) to the Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, in the presence of Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra and Chairman and Managing Director of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Shri R Madhavan.

FOC involves addition of key capabilities to the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) aircraft which are Beyond Visual Range Missile capabilities. Air-to-Air Refuelling, Air-to-Ground FOC earmarked weapons and general flight envelope expansion. 

The RSD provides the capabilities, features and technologies that FOC standard Aircraft will have on Induction into IAF. The FOC standard Aircraft drawings have already been handed over to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to start production after incorporating key changes over the IOC standard Aircraft.

Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of the aircraft took place in the year 2013 and IOC standard Aircraft were inducted into IAF No. 45 Squadron, in July 2016. The IAF Squadron has since flown over 1500 sorties successfully on the Aircraft. It is a proud day for all the agencies involved in the design, development and production of the aircraft i.e., Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO as the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer. Many other DRDO laboratories like ADE, GTRE, LRDE, CEMILAC etc., as well as other agencies such as BEL, CSIR, DG-AQA, and Private sector agencies have contributed in the journey of LCA.

'Runway to a Billion Opportunities’ - Raksha Mantri Inaugurates Aeroindia 2019

Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 12th biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition and declared the Aero India 2019 open today amidst a lot of fanfare at Air Force Station Yelahanka in Bengaluru. This edition of Aero India, for the first time, combines the defence and civil aviation segments into a holistic event with the co-involvement of the defence and civil aviation ministries in the event. More than 600 Indian Companies and 200 Foreign Companies are participating and witnessing the largest Air show of Asia.

Present at the occasion were Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri HD Kumaraswamy, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Shri Suresh Prabhu, Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr Subhash Bhamre, Minister of Statistics and Programme ImplementationShri Sadananda Gowda, the three Service Chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra, Secretary Defence Production Dr Ajay Kumar, Chairman and Secretary DRDO Dr Satheesh Reddy, delegates from several foreign countries, senior serving officers from the three Services, veterans, and senior executives from defence industries. 

During her inaugural address Smt Nirmala Sitharaman welcomed a host of Foreign Ministers and Deputy Ministers along with their delegations who were representing various countries from all around the world. She said that this edition of Aero India intended and endeavoured to put India on the Global map and intended metaphorically to be a “Runway to a billion opportunities”!

She said that lately India had established itself as the hub of manufacturing and export of various world class avionics equipment and she added that the country now had the potential for “Nose to tail production”. She hailed the “Make in India” initiative of the Government that had provided the impetus for increased self-reliance in Defence and stressed on the need for instituting provisions for creating the ecosystem for utilisation and consolidation of design and manufacturing facilities to create a ‘robust supply chain system’.

Talking about Defence procurements, Raksha Mantri added that during the last four years, 150 contracts worth Rs 1,27,500 Cr had been signed with Indian vendors for procurement of defence equipment for the Armed forces. She also mentioned that the Government had accorded AoN to 164 proposals worth Rs 2,79,950 Cr under ‘Buy and Make” categories only to the Indian vendors. She also mentioned that the VoP in respect of OFB and DPSUs had grown from 43,746 Cr in 2013-14 to Rs 58,163 Cr in 2017-18, out of which 40% of the production had been outsourced to the Private Sector and that the Government had also issued RFP for the manufacture of seven identified types of ammunition in private sector.

During her address, Raksha Mantri hailed several policy initiatives of the Government under the ‘Make in India’ viz. 100% FDI in Defence Manufacturing, Defence Offset Policy 2016, Delicensing of Defence items, iDEX and the Defence Investor’s cell. She quoted S 92 Helicopter cabin, Advance Aircraft Cockpit, Glass Cockpit for Dornier and CH-47 Pylon for Boeing as some recent successes displayed at the Indian Pavilion. She also hailed Indian PSUs for manufacturing more than 4000 aircraft including LCA, LCH, ALH, C295 etc.

She applauded the 10,000 MSMEs which made 80% of components, aggregates and assemblies of complex weapon systems and aircrafts. She also informed that more than 424 companies had obtained the licence for Defence production which was almost double the number in last four years. Raksha Mantri mentioned the ‘Defence Investor cell’ which was set up in Jan 2018, to enhance the ‘Ease of doing Business’ and informed that over 350 industries had been facilitated till date. She also mentioned that 275 Ordnance Factory items had been de-notified and also that testing facilities of DPSUs and OFs had been opened up for private industry.

She told that 34 projects relating to Army, Navy and Air Force had already been accorded ‘Approval in Principle’ under the ‘Make-II’ category. The Raksha Mantri mentioned that the FDI policy had been revised and now foreign investments upto 49% were allowed through the automatic route and above 49% under Government route. She also mentioned that in last four years, six companies in Defence and Aerospace sectors had obtained government approval for FDI of Rs 237 Cr while FDI of over Rs 200 Cr had been received through the automatic route.

The Raksha Mantri informed the audience about the iDEX scheme which was launched on 12th April 2018, to create a network of Defence Innovation hubs throughout the country and to resolve Defence and Aerospace related issues. She also informed about the first innovation hub that had already started at Coimbatore and setting up of the two defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the latest one being in Tiruchirappalli on 20 Jan 2019 wherein investments of more than Rs 3200 Cr were committed by the Defence Industry. She also mentioned the ‘Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti’, launched by the Ministry of Defence, to create greater capacity development and encourage greater filing of patents in defence and aerospace sectors.      

Smt Nirmala Sitharaman further stated that the government was committed to create an enabling environment for a domestic ecosystem of defence manufacturing, the results of which were already visible. She said, “With the policy initiatives and the procedural reforms, I am confident that India will emerge as a key player in the global defence arena. We will create an ecosystem in which there would be enhanced technological collaborations of the public as well as private sectors with the foreign Defence OEMs. Strategic partnerships will be forged with increased integration of skills, systems, technologies and manufacturing capabilities.” 

Chief Minister of Karnataka Shri HD Kumaraswamy welcomed the ministers and other delegates. Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Suresh Prabhu and Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr Subhash Bhamre also spoke on the occasion.

The inaugural address was followed by three Mi-17 V-5 helicopters flying past the dais in ‘Vic’ formation carrying the Indian tricolour, the Air Force ensign and the Aero India flag. The air display commenced with a solitary vintage Dakota flying by the stands. Thereafter a host of indigenously manufactured helicopters including the LUH, ALH Mk III and IV and LCH filled the skies with their jet wash. This followed by three ALH Mk IV (Rudra) in a ‘Vic’ formation. Following the fly past by the indigenous Dornier 228 flanked by the Hawk-i and HTT-40, came the Sukhoi flanked by LCA Tejas and Jaguar in the Missing man Formation as a homage to Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi who lost his life in a fatal air collision yesterday during a practice sortie of the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team. This was followed by the fighters thundering over the grandstand through the skies displaying a host of aerobatic manoeuvres – the Su 30 MKI followed by indigenous Tejas LCA, the American F-16 Falcon and the French Rafale. A host of helicopters including the LUH, LCH, ALH Mk-IV and the Sarang helicopter display team enthralled the spectators with their performance. The finale started with an air display by Airbus 330 Neo followed by a grand flyby by the majestic B-52 Bombers of 1950 vintage.

A total of 61 aircraft are participating in the event out of which 31 are flying. The total area of the show has grown from 27,678 sq m to 28,398 sq m this year.

OFB Gets Bulk Production Clearance for 'Dhanush' Artillery Gun

Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) has received the bulk production clearance (BPC) from the Indian Army and the Ministry of Defence on February 18, 2018 for production of 114 nos of 'Dhanush', the first ever indigenous 155mm x 45 calibre artillery gun. The weapon is the first long rang artillery gun  to  be produced in India and it is a major success story of the 'Make in India' initiative.

The gun is equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and  night direct firing system.  The self-propulsion unit allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease.

'Dhanush' has been mechanically upgraded to fire standard NATO 155 mm ammunition and can accommodate both boll bags and the bi-modular charge system (BMCS) which have resulted in increasing the range . 'Dhanush' has also been electronically upgraded to enhance the firing accuracies, laying speeds of the existing gun and to provide compatibility with various kinds of ammo as well.

The performance of 'Dhanush' has been evaluated under arduous conditions in several phases. The guns travelled extensively in towed and self-propelled mode in all terrains viz desert and high altitude with each gun clocking over 1600 km. Such an extensive exercise was carried out by the  user for the first time for any gun system under the process of induction.

The manufacture of a 155 mm modern artillery gun was initially a challenge for OFB. This was due to change in the vision parameters from 155x39 calibre to 155x45 calibre. OFB received the Transfer of Technology (ToT) documents pertaining to 155x39 calibre and then converted it to 155x45 calibre successfully.

'Dhanush' is the product of joint efforts by the OFB and the Indian Army with contributions from DRDO, DGQA, DPSUs such as BEL, PSUs such as SAIL and several private enterprises.

Surya Kiran Aircraft Crash

Today morning around 1150 hrs, two Hawk aircraft of Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team crashed close to Yelahanka Air Force base.  These aircraft were carrying out practice for the forthcoming Aero India 2019 air show.  Out of the three aircrew of the aircraft, WgCdr VT Shelke and SqnLdr TJ Singh ejected.  However, Wg Cdr Sahil Gandhi sustained fatal injuries.  The two aircrew have been airlifted toAir Force Command Hospital, Bengaluru.  A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate the accident.

Visit of Raksha Mantri to Germany

Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman concluded an official bilateral visit (12-13 February 2019) to Germany, at the invitation of her counterpart, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany, Dr Ursula von der Leyen.

During the visit, the two Ministers comprehensively reviewed the gamut of bilateral defence cooperation which is emerging as an important facet of India-Germany Strategic Partnership. They noted with satisfaction the steady growth in bilateral defence ties. The two Ministers signed an Implementing Arrangement on Enhanced Defence and Defence Industry Cooperation which would further strengthen military to military engagement as well as defence industry and R & D linkages. They also exchanged views on regional and international developments of mutual interest.

Raksha Mantri addressed a select audience at the prestigious  German think tank DGAP (German Council on Foreign Relations), on ‘India’s Defence Engagement in a Disordered World: Principles, Priorities and Partnerships’. RM highlighted India’s defence priorities and engagements with the aim to contribute towards a secure, stable and peaceful environment and enable greater prosperity for all. RM emphasised the need for like-minded liberal democracies with common values and common interests, such as India and Germany, to build on the commonality of assessments on strategic issues and work together to strengthen the rules-based world order.

During her visit, RM also interacted with CEOs of German and Indian defence industry. The Minister urged them to expand their collaboration in defence manufacturing in India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative as well as promote defence technology and R&D cooperation with Indian companies.

Procurement of Assault Rifles and LMGS

The weapons in category of Assault Rifle, Close Quarter Battle (CQB) Carbine and Light Machine Gun (LMG) are the basic weapons of a soldier.  Over a period of time owing to the dynamic nature of warfare, enhanced transparency in battlefield, latest technological advancement and capabilities of adversaries, operational requirements for these Small Arms have undergone a change.

During 2018, Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for procurement of Assault Rifles, LMGs and CQB carbines through Fast Track Procedure (FTP) under ‘Buy-Global’ category as well as AoNs for procurement of LMG and CQB carbine under ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ category have been accorded by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).  AoN has also been accorded for Inter Government Agreement (IGA) with Government of Russia for production of Assault Rifles in India through a joint venture. The cases are at various stages of procurement.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Dharmendra Yadav and others in Lok Sabha today.

Facilities to Children of Martyrs

Prior to 7th pay commission children of martyrs were eligible to receive full tuition and hostel fee till they get their degree.

The details of the tuition fee and hostel charges till they get their degree prior to 7thpay commission notified vide letter No. 6(1)2009/Edu.  Concession/D(Res-II), dated 25th October, 2010 are as under:-
Tuition Fee:-  Full reimbursement of tuition fee (capitation fee and caution money not included) levied by the educational institutions concerned (including charges levied for the school bus maintained by the school or actual fares paid for railway pass for students or bus fare certified by the Head of institutes).

Hostel charges:-  Full reimbursement of Hostel Charges for those studying in boarding schools and colleges. After the 7th pay commission Government had restricted the said fee to Rs.10,000/- per month vide order No.6(1)/2009/Edu.Concession/D(Res-II), dated 13th September, 2017.

The decision was taken by the Government on the recommendations made by the Seventh Central Pay Commission (7th CPC) in Para 8.17.42 and 8.17.45 regarding Educational Concessions to the Children of Armed Forces Officers / Personnel Below Officer Ranks (PBORs) Missing / Disabled / Killed in action vide order No. 6 (1) / 2009 / Edu. Concession /D(Res-II), dated 13th September, 2017.

The case was taken up with MoD vide TRIPAS letter No.C/7026/VII CPC/73/Allce, dated 10th October, 2017.

In continuation of this Department’s letter vide order No.6(1)/2009/Edu.Concession/D(Res-II), dated 23rd March 2018, it has been decided with the approval of competent authority that the cap of Rs.10,000/- per month imposed on the combined amount of Tuition Fees and Hostel Charges vide para-5 of the order dated 13th September, 2017 stands deleted and all other provisions remain unchanged and the Educational Concession will continue to be admissible without the cap of Rs.10,000/- per month.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Asaduddin Owaisi in Lok Sabha today.

Employment in Defence Corridor Project

The Government has decided to develop defence industrial corridor in the state of Uttar Pradesh.  It has earmarked six nodal points for setting up of Defence industrial corridor in Uttar Pradesh.  These are Kanpur, Lucknow, Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi and Chitrakoot.  Five stakeholders meetings were also organized.  Setting up of this corridor would catalyse indigenous production of defence and aerospace related items, thereby reducing our reliance on imports and promotion of export of these items to other countries.  This will lead to generation of employment opportunities and growth of private domestic manufacturers, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and start-ups.

This information was given by Raksha Rajya Mantri Dr. Subhash Bhamre in a written reply to Shri Bharat Singh in Lok Sabha today.

Expression of Interest (EOI) for 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for Indian Navy

In a first of its kind, Ministry of Defence has issued Expression of Interest (s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners and foreign OEMs for the ‘Procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH) for the Indian Navy on 12 Feb 19. These helicopters will replace Chetak Helicopters and will be utilised for albeit SAR, CASEVAC, LIMO, passenger roles and torpedo drops. 95 helicopters out of 111 will be manufactured in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner.  The case was approved by DAC on 25 Aug 18. The project is likely to provide major boost to Govt’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and fillip to manufacturing capability for helicopters in India.

The Request for EoI from Indian private companies for participating in the project has been hosted on the MoD/Indian Navy website on 12 Feb 19. However, the Request for EoI from foreign OEMs has been forwarded to companies that participated in the RFI deliberations. The OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing line, including design, integration and manufacturing processes for NUH in India and make Indian Manufacturing Line as a global exclusive facility for the NUH platform being offered.

Whilst Indian companies have been given two months to respond to the EoI, the foreign OEMs have been given three months for responding due to the nature of inputs required.  High level of indigenisation i.e about 60% of the helicopter is desired through the NUH project. The RFP for procurement is likely to be issued towards the end of third quarter of this year to the shortlisted Indian companies.

Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, AVSM, NM takes over as Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command

Vice Admiral SN Ghormade, AVSM, NM assumed the charge as  Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command, Visakhapatnam today 14 Feb 19.  The Flag Officer was commissioned into the Indian Navy on 01 Jan 1984. He is a graduate of National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Pune, United States Naval Staff College at Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island and the Naval War College, Mumbai. In addition to a specialisation in Navigation and Direction within the Navy, the Admiral holds a M Phil in Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Mumbai, MSc Defence and Strategic Studies from University of Madras and Master Degree in Personnel Management from Symbiosis Institute of Business Management (University of Pune).  

During his career spanning over 35 years, he has been through a myriad of operational and staff appointments. His operational appointments include commands of the Guided Missile Frigate INS Brahmaputra, Submarine Rescue Vessel INS Nireekshak and Minesweeper INS Allepey and second in command Guided Missile Frigate INS Ganga. His important staff appointments ashore include Principal Director of Personnel, Director Naval Plans and Joint Director Naval Plans at Naval Headquarters as separate assignments, Director (Military Affairs) at the Ministry of External Affairs, Local Work Up Team (West), Instructor at Navigation Direction School and National Defence Academy. Upon promotion to the Flag Rank in 2012, the Flag officer assumed the appointment of Assistant Chief of Personnel (Human Resources Development). Later he took over the appointment of Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area and then was appointed as Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area.  Prior taking over as Chief of Staff he held the prestigious appointment of Director General Naval Operations. 

The Flag officer was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 Jan 2017 and Nau Sena Medal in 2007 by the President of India and Commendation by Chief of Naval Staff in 2000.

The Flag Officer is happily married and blessed with a daughter and a son.  He enjoys reading, trekking, water sports, horse riding and golf.  

Parallel Taxi Track Operation by all women crew

In a first for the IAF,the “OTTERS” squadron of Western Air Command has undertaken Parallel Taxi Track (PTT) Operations with a full women crew in the Dornier 228 aircraft. The pilots, Sqn Ldr Kamaljeet Kaur and her co-pilot Sqn Ldr Rakhi Bhandari carried out successful parallel taxi track landing and take-off operations at Sirsa. This achievement highlights the theme of Aero India 2019 which is earmarked on 23 February as the day to highlight the Achievements of Women in Aviation Sector.

Parallel Taxi Track Operations are carried out to enable unhindered operations even when the runway is not available due to enemy action or any other reasons. 

PTT Operations is a challenging task as the crew is required to land and take off from the taxi track, which is considerably smaller in width than the runway, with proximity to obstructions as compared to the main runway. There is no of error during the most critical phases of flight, landing and take-off. 

108th Anniversary Celebrations: Corps of Signals

Raised in 1911, the Corps of Signals celebrated its 108th Anniversary on 15 February 2019. On this occasion, Lt Gen Rajeev Sabherwal, Signal Officer-in-Chief alongwith senior serving officers laid wreaths and paid homage to the braves in a solemn ceremony at Amar Jawan Jyoti.
The Corps of Signals has kept pace with rapid modernisation and contemporary communication challenges for robust, secure Pan-Indian Army communication reaching out into the tactical battle area and hinterland. Impetus has been provided for immaculate execution of next generation strategic networks and enhancing electronic warfare capabilities.
Addressing the Signalers posted at Delhi, Lt Gen Rajeev Sabherwal reminded all ranks that “The Corps has stood the test of time and has been a beacon of excellence in the field of information and communication technology, cyber and electronic warfare.
As part of an Army wide initiative, the Corps also reached out to renew associations with disabled soldiers, widows, veer naris and aged, needy veterans.


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