Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar handed over the indigenously built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in Bengaluru on 17th Jan 2015. The LCA has finally been handed over to the Air Force after Initial Operational Clearance-II, which signifies that the Tejas is airworthy in different conditions.
TEJAS – AN INTRODUCTION
Tejas is a single-seat, single-engine, multi-role light fighter being jointly developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for India. It is a tailless, compound delta wing design powered by a single engine. It came from the LCA programme, which began in the 1983 to replace India’s ageing MiG-21 fighters. It is supersonic and highly manoeuvrable, and is the smallest and lightest in its class of contemporary combat aircraft. Features like latest electronic warfare suite (tested few weeks back), mid-air refuelling among others will be fielded in the FOC aircraft.
OPERATIONAL CLEARANCES OF TEJAS
The Tejas was given Initial Operational Clearance-I in January 2011. It received the second of three levels of operational clearance on 20 December 2013. The Final Operational Clearance (FOC) is expected by the year-end and the first squadron of 20 aircraft is likely to be scheduled to enter service by 2017-2018. The entire project till induction is estimated at Rs. 30,000 crore.
TEJAS IN IAF STRIKE PACKAGE
LCA falls in the lower tier of the evolving conventional force structure of the IAF. At the upper end is the Su-30MKI, a heavy fighter. The middle rung will be formed by the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft likely to be the Dassault Rafale which India is currently negotiating with France. Tejas will form the lower end of the strike package complimenting the heavy Sukhoi’s and the medium Rafale’s. It is ideal for point defence and strikes at low to medium ranges.
INDIGENOUS CONTENTS & CONCERNS
Analysts say that despite 65 percent indigenous content, the scrapping of the indigenous Kaveri engine development and the critical dependence on the US-made GE engines to power the plane is a matter of concern. Presently, the LCA-I is flying with an underpowered GE-404 engine. Air Force officials said the Air Force was banking on advanced LCA Mk-II and equipped with greater thrust generated by GE-414 engines. But this also means critical dependence of one of the mainstays of the future IAF on the US.
Panchi, the wheeled version of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Nishant, capable of taking off from and landing on small airstrips, had its maiden flight on December 24 from an airfield at Kolar in Karnataka. The flight lasted 25 minutes. The aim of the flight was to demonstrate that Panchi can take off and land on its wheels.
DEVELOPMENT OF PANCHI
Panchi was designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) facility at Bengaluru. Since the Army wanted a wheeled version of Nishant, the ADE quickly developed it with modifications to the hardware and software.
NISHANT Vs PANCHI
Nishant, which has an underbelly airbag, is launched by a catapult i.e. Tatra-truck based Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) and can be recovered by a Parachute System, thus eliminating the need for a runway.
Panchi is capable of taking off from and landing on small airstrips. It has all the surveillance capabilities of Nishant, but it can stay in the air longer because it does not have to carry the airbag and the parachute systems. It is also a light vehicle with its body made of composite materials, and has a high degree of stealth because it has a low radar cross-section signature.
Nishant which had already been with the Army, was designed for battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance, tracking of targets and artillery fire correction. A sophisticated image processing system was used for analysing the images transmitted by it.
RELATED ARTICLE: CRPF TO USE UAV NISHANT IN NAXAL-HIT AREAS
An advanced version of the indigenously developed Pinaka Mark-II rocket was successfully test-fired on Tuesday, 9 Dec 2014 from a defence base in Odisha using a multi-barrel launcher. The advanced version Mark-II rocket with a range of more than 60-km and capable of acting as a force-multiplier, was developed to supplement artillery guns.
VITAL STATS OF PINAKA
Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Army. The system has a maximum range of 40 km for Mark-I and 65 km for mark-II. With a battery of six launchers, the Pinaka system can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds and can neutralise a target area of 3.9 sq. km. The system’s capability for incorporating several types of warheads makes it deadly for the enemy as it can destroy solid structures and bunkers.
The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system would give the army an edge in low-intensity conflict situations. The system is mounted on a Tatra truck for mobility. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralizing enemy positions on the mountain tops. It has since been inducted into the Indian Army in large numbers.
This unguided rocket system has undergone several tough tests since 1995. Eralier this year in May, 40 km-range Pinaka mark-I with rapid salvos successfully test-fired thrice from a multi-barrel launcher at an armament base near Balasore in Odisha. According to defence sources, some more rounds of test will be conducted in the next four days.
The Supreme Court ordered maintenance of status quo on India’s first aircraft carrier ‘INS Vikrant’ which is on the verge of being converted into scrap. The ship was due at the scrap yard on May 17 after it was sold for Rs.60 crore through an e-auction to the Mumbai-based IB Commercials Pvt Ltd.
A bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen issued notices to Ministry of Defence and other authorities concerned on the petition challenging the Bombay High Court decision rejecting the plea to preserve ‘INS Vikrant’ by converting it into a maritime museum.
Through the ‘Save Vikrant Committee’, Mr. Paigankar and other activists last month moved the apex court in a bid to save the vessel which saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The imposing vessel, commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1961, was decommissioned in 1997 and has been kept anchored at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
The 70-year-old vessel, purchased as HMS Hercules from Britain in 1957 and rechristened as ‘INS Vikrant’, helped enforce a naval blockade of East Pakistan — now Bangladesh — during the 1971 war.
India on May 4, 2014 successfully test-fired its first indigenously developed beyond visual range (BVR) Astra missile from a Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet, joining a select group of countries such as the US, France, Russia and Israel that developed this capability. The term beyond-visual-range missile (BVR) usually refers to an air-to-air missile that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nmi (37 km) or beyond.
Astra has been designed and developed indigenously by the DRDO. The 60-km plus range missile possesses high Single Shot Kill Probability (SSKP) making it highly reliable. Astra’s project director, S. Venugopal said the missile was comparable with the best in the world. He said the Mk-II variant of Astra with a range of 100 km is planned to be tested by this year end.
In its maiden flight test, Astra was not fired against any target, which would be tested subsequently. It can arm all four of India’s current generation fighters – the Su-30MKI, MiG-29, Mirage 2000 and the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft.
Astra is an all-weather missile with active radar terminal guidance, excellent ECM (electronic counter-measure) features, rocket/ramjet propulsion and improved effectiveness in a multi-target scenario making it a highly advanced, state-of the-art missile capable of destroying highly-agile supersonic fighters.
At 15 km from the target, the Astra’s on-board seeker picks up the target and homes in on it. Reaching near the target, a radio proximity fuse detonates the Astra warhead metres from the target, shooting it down. However the key component of the Astra missile – the seeker head – remain imported. A seeker is being developed, but will take a decade to be usable.
The project was first sanctioned in March 2004 at an initial cost of Rs 955 crore. After decade long of development saga, DRDO is now confident it will be able to meet the revised project completion date of December 2016.
INS ‘Sumedha’, an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) indigenously designed and built by Goa Shipyard Ltd. (GSL), for the Indian Navy, will be formally commissioned by Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, Flag Officer, Commander-In-Chief, East on Friday 7 March 2014 at GSL in South Goa.
This warship is the culmination of many years of in-house design development and ship build techniques. The commissioning of this ship marks a significant milestone in GSL’s and country’s march towards indigenization and self reliance.
Sumedha is 200th ship indigenously built by GSL. GSL is the only yard which has delivered four classes of OPVs to both Navy and Coast Guard. INS ‘Sumedha’ is the third of the new 105 meter class of NOPV and the largest ship constructed by GSL for the Indian Navy. This state-of-the- art ship will help meet the increasing requirement of the Indian Navy for undertaking ocean surveillance and surface warfare operations in order to prevent infiltration and transgression of maritime sovereignty, said the spokesperson.
[Credit – The Hindu]
For the third time in a span of five days, India successfully test-fired the indigenously developed surface-to-air missile Akash missile system from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Odisha on February 26, 2014. Like the trials of the surface-to-air missile conducted on February 22 and 24, Wednesday’s test fire of Akash was successful.
These were part of a series of tests being conducted in various engagement modes from the first of Production Model system produced to equip two regiments of the Army. Earlier tests flights, destroying a target in receding floating mode, as well as the one destroying an approaching target, fully met the mission objectives, a senior defence scientist said.
Akash is India’s first indigenously designed, developed and produced air defence system missile capable of engaging aerial threats up to a distance of approximately 25 km. The multi-target, multi-directional, all-weather air-defence system consisting of surveillance and tracking radars is designed to enable integration with other air defence command and control networks through secured communication links.
Developed by DRDO, Akash is being produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) as the nodal production agency with the involvement of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and a large number of other industries.
Related Reading : Akash Missile Test-fired again
For a second time in a span of four days, Indian Army successfully test-fired the medium range, surface-to-air missile, Akash, from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha on Monday, 24th Feb 2014.
It engaged and destroyed a receding flying target at a distance of 19 km. The target was a tow body and supported by pilotless aircraft Lakshya. The missile was test-fired as part of pre-induction trials by the Army. According to DRDO, the mission went off fantastically as planned.
The DRDO officials called the Akash project “a great success story because it is going to be inducted in large numbers in the Army and the Air Force.” The Army and the Indian Air Force have already placed orders for Rs. 23,000 crore for the defence system.
Related Reading : Akash Missile Test-fired
The Army on 21th Feb 2014 successfully flight-tested Akash, the medium range surface-to-air missile developed by the DRDO under IGMDP (Integrated Guided Missile Development Program), from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Odisha. The missile targeted a floating object supported by Lakshya-PTA (Pilotless Target Aircraft). It was a user-trial done by the Army, which turned out highly successful.
Akash has a strike range of 25 km and can carry a warhead of 60 kgs. It could be launched to engage and destroy fighter aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters and other targets. Supported by phased array Rajendra radar, which can track 64 targets, Akash missiles are guided towards their targets.
The warhead of the missile gets triggered by radio proximity fuze, while the onboard digital autopilot helps in stability and manoeuvring capability.
It uses high-energy solid propellant for the booster and ramjet propulsion for the sustainer phase. The ramjet propulsion system provides higher level of energy with minimum fuel mass, enable it to fly at supersonic speed reaching a maximum of 2.5 Mach.
It can be transported by rail, road and air; and it boasts of C4I, that is, command, control, communication, computers and intelligence. The entire system includes not only the missiles but the command and control system, the radars, the launch platforms and so on.
The last trial was conducted on June 6, 2012 from the same base.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is developing Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) Nishant for the Central Reserve Police Force for use in the Naxal-hit areas of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand.
Giving details of the UAV project during a media interaction at Defexpo 2014 here, DRDO chief Avinash Chander said the vehicles being developed for CRPF would be able to help the forces trace and track down the operatives in even thick forests. The scientists of DRDO have worked closely with CRPF in developing the UAVs.
CRPF had expressed the desire to procure 16 such UAVs for its operations. The force was earlier using the UAVs of National Technical Research Organisation and Indian Air Force, which were not as effective in operations in thick forests. DRDO is working on lower frequency radars that will be able to penetrate foliage. The DRDO chief said the Army is also procuring Nishant for operations but its requirement was much different.
The Nishant UAV is being developed for primarily task of intelligence gathering over enemy territory and also for reconnaissance, training, surveillance, target designation, artillery fire correction, damage assessment, etc. This 380 kg UAV has an endurance of 4 h 30 min and can cruise with the speed of 185 km/h.
It can be launched by Tatra-truck based Mobile Hydro-Pneumatic Launcher (MHPL) and can be recovered by a Parachute System, thus eliminating the need for a runway as in case of conventional take-off and landing with wheels. Nishant has completed development phase and user trials.