Defence News – August
Sri Lankan Navy commissions India-built AOPV
Sri Lankan Navy has commissioned an India-built state-of-the-art Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) announced on 5th of August 2017.
i. It is the first-ever purchase from a foreign ship builder, to boost its search and rescue capabilities.
ii. It is the largest vessel built by an Indian ship builder for a foreign navy.
iii. Sri Lankan President and Armed Forces commander-in-chief Maithripala Sirisena commissioned the new patrol vessel “SLNS Sayurala” at a ceremony at the Eastern Container Terminal of the Port of Colombo.
iv. SLNS Sayurala is the first-ever brand new platform purchased from a foreign ship builder and tailored for the specific requirements of the SriLanka Navy (SLN). It is built at the Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL) in India.
Indian Coast Guard ship ‘Shaurya’ commissioned in Goa
On August 12, 2017, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan commissioned Indian Coast Guard ship ‘Shaurya’ in Goa. Features of Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) ‘Shaurya’:
First tri-service “Indra” exercise to be conducted by India and Russia in Oct 2017
India and Russia will hold a major bilateral military exercise in October 2017 involving their armies, navies and the air forces for the first time to further ramp up defense ties. The exercise ‘Indra’, which will be held in Russia
IMMSAREX: India, China to join Indian Ocean exercise in November
Despite growing tensions with China, the Indian Navy would join the Chinese Navy in the maiden International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) to be chaired by Bangladesh at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in November 2017.
i. International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) will be held in Bay of Bengal.
ii. In addition, Bangladesh is also scheduling an “extraordinary conclave of Chiefs,” a meeting of chiefs of Navy before it hands over the Chair to Iran next year.
Army to Get 6 Apache Attack Helicopters in Deal worth Rs 4,168 Crore
On August 17, 2017, India’s Defence acquisition council (DAC) gave the green light to a proposal to buy six Apache AH64E attack helicopters for the army from the United States. The approval was given at a meeting of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
i.The six Apache AH64E attack helicopters along with weapons systems from American giant Boeing at a cost of Rs 4,168 crore will be Indian Army’s first fleet of attack choppers.
ii.It will be a follow on order to the deal India had signed with Boeing and the US government for 22 Apache helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers in September 2015.
Central govt approves nearly Rs.32k crore plan for boosting Coast Guard capabilities
Central Government has approved a nearly Rs 32,000 crore “definitive five-year action programme” for the Indian Coast Guard to enhance its capability in maintaining vigil on coastal waters.
Salient Features of Action Plan for Indian Coast Guard:
i.The action plan to give a boost to the Coast Guard in terms of infrastructure and equipment like offshore patrol vessels, interceptor boats, helicopters, aircraft and critical operational infrastructure was cleared at a meeting chaired by Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra earlier this month.
ii.Coast Guard currently has 130 “surface units” in the shape of 60 ships (offshore patrol vessels, fast patrol vessels and pollution-control vessels), 18 hovercrafts, and 52 smaller interceptor boats/crafts. The “air units”, in turn, are limited to 39 Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft, 19 Chetak choppers and four Dhruv advanced light helicopters.
Ministry of Defence approves delegation of Powers to Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
On August 20 2017,The Ministry of Defence has decided to delegate administrative and financial powers to the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to overcome delays in the construction of strategic roads along the India-China border.
Reason for transformational change :-
i.A Chief Engineer in the BRO has improved the limit from Rs. 10 crore to Rs. 50 crore` for administrative approval and departmental work
ii.The Additional Director General Border Roads (ADGBR) had enhanced the powers from Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 75 crore for departmental works.
Dr. Jagdish Mukhi commissioned IN LCU L52, Second Ship of Landing Craft Utility into the Indian Navy at Port Blair
On August 21, 2017 Dr. Jagdish Mukhi, Lieutenant Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, commissioned IN LCU L52 into the Indian Navy at Port Blair. IN LCU L52 is the second Landing Craft Utility (LCU) Mk-IV class .
i.This ship has been designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata. LCU MK-IV ship is used to transport and deploy Main Battle Tanks, Armoured Vehicles, troops and equipment from ship to shore.
ii.Commander Kaushik Chatterjee, will be commanded with 05 officers, 46 sailors and is capable of carrying 160 troops
iii .The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment and advanced systems like Integrated Bridge System (IBS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS).
The remaining of six ships with the same class at M/S GRSE, Kolkata are expected to be inducted in the next two years. The induction of these ships will contribute to the nation’s maritime security needs and is in consonance with ‘Make in India’.
US-South Korea begin annual “The Ulchi Freedom Guardian “military drills
The Ulchi-Freedom Guardian is a military drill which sees the US and South Korea join forces in a string of exercises.
i.The annual drill involves huge land, air and sea exercises, with tens of thousands of troops involved from both countries.
ii.The exercises, designed to improve South Korea’s defence, are carried out to recognise the treaty between the Republic of Korea and the United States signed in 1953.
iii.They are named after a famous Korean general, Munduk Ulchi, who lived in the early seventh century and was a successful army leader.
Indian student develops Nano Missile for Indian Army
A student of Chennai’s SRM University, Dacharla Panduranga Rohith developed a Nano Missile on 21 August 2017 recognised by World Records of India.
i.The basic prototype of the missile was tested in the presence of Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramapuram in Chennai.
ii.The video was submitted to World Records of India for recognition in July 2017.
iii.He developed the missile for the Indian Army and local police in fighting terrorism.
iv.This 1 cm nano missile can fly by burning the red phosphorus, and hit the target of three metres distance.
Arun Jaitley hands over LRSAM to Indian Navy
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley handed over the Long-Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) jointly developed by India and Israel, to the Indian Navy at Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) at Kanchanbagh, Hyderabad. The first batch of LRSAM, being inducted into the Navy, was symbolically handed over to Vice Admiral Karambir Singh, the vice-chief of naval staff.
i. The Rocket Motor Static Test Facility was dedicated to the nation by Arun Jaitley at BDL’s Ibrahimpatnam Complex located near Hyderabad. An amount of 48 Crores spent on this facility.
ii. The Union Minister inaugurated ASTRA Manufacturing Facility. Astra weapon system is an indigenously developed Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile developed by DRDO. It comprises of Astra Launcher and Astra Missile. It is designed as a BVR missile with a range of 110 Km in head-on mode and 20 Km in tail-chase mode. BVR missiles are the latest in air to air combat.
Coast Guard ship ‘Varuna’ decommissioned
‘Varuna’ Indian Coast Guard Ship which was part of the First Training Squadron of the Navy was decommissioned.
After honourable service spanning about 30 years, in a traditional military ceremony the ship was decommissioned with full armed forces at a ceremony held at the south jetty of the Southern Naval Command On August 23 2017.
Highlights of the ceremony
i.ICGS Varuna was fourth of its series, known as Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) and built by Mazagaon Dock, Mumbai.
ii.ICGS Varuna has now been replaced by ICGS Sarathi in the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy.
American Ship USS Pearl Harbor arrived India as part of Defense cooperation
American Navy’s amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor arrived in Goa on 24th Aug 2017 as part of defense cooperation between the two countries. It is the American Ship USS Pearl Harbor first visit to India.
i.USS Pearl Harbor is a Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship with a crew of over 700 sailors and marines.
ii.The 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), which is one of seven marine expeditionary units of the US Marine Corps, has also come to Goa as part of the trip.
iii.The sailors and marines of Pearl Harbor were looking to strengthen the US Navy’s longstanding partnership with the Indian Navy.
iv.As per the US embassy in Goa, the ship’s sailors and marines will conduct exchanges with the Indian Navy’s marine commandos relating to amphibious warfare.
Government approves first phase of Army reforms
On 30th august ,2017, The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) approved implementation of the first phase of recommendations of Shekatkar Committee. This committee was formed to recommend measures to enhance combat capability and rebalancing Defence Expenditure of the Armed Forces with an aim to increase “teeth to tail ratio”,
1) Redeployment and restructuring of approximately 57,000 posts of officers.
2) The government will do away 39 military farms and several Army postal departments in peace
3) There will be optimisation of signal establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
4) Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include base workshops, advance base workshops and station workshops in the field Army.
5) Redeployment of ordnance echelons to include vehicle depots, ordnance depots and central ordnance depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
The first phase of these reforms will be completed in all respects by December 31, 2019