The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, led a four aircraft, MiG-21 ‘Missing Man’ formation flypast on 27 May 2017, at AF Station Bathinda, to honour the valour and supreme sacrifice of Kargil martyrs.
The ‘Missing Man’ flypast is an aerial salute accorded to honour the ‘fallen comrades-in-arms’. The Arrow Formation of MiG-21 Bison, with a gap between two aircraft in the formation depicted the ‘Missing Man’.
Later, in a simple ceremony, the Air Chief laid a wreath at the Memorial to honour the martyrs who made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty.
On this day in 1999, Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja VrC (Posthumous) attained martyrdom during Kargil conflict. He was at that time the Flight Commander of the Squadron.
Mrs. Alka Ahuja wife of Late Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja, VrC (Posthumous) was also present and the CAS presented her a plaque of ‘missing man’ formation.
During his visit, the CAS also reviewed security and operational preparedness of the base. He complimented the personnel of the base for their combat readiness, and urged them to ‘learn from the past, practise in the present & Win in the Future’.
AIRCRAFT TESTING RANGE INAUGURATED An Aeronautical
An Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) in collaboration with other Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories was inaugurated on May 28, 2017 by the Raksha Mantri, Shri Arun Jaitley. The Rs 1300 crore facility located in Challakere, Chitradurga district in Karnataka, was dedicated to the nation by the Raksha Mantri and will be used for testing defence aircraft, including unmanned air vehicles. Speaking on the occasion, Shri Jaitley said that a substantial portion of the country’s budget is being spent to procure equipment from outside and the ATR facility will go a long way in helping the country in its aeronautical defence preparedness
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP FOR DEFENCE MANUFACTURING
On May 20, 2017, the Defence Acquisition Council under the Chairmanship of the Raksha Mantri, Shri Arun Jaitley approved the much awaited Chapter for Strategic Partnership. The Strategic Partnership model was considered necessary for achieving self reliance in platforms of strategic importance where competitive bidding is not feasible due to limited vendor base, high cost, technological intensive nature of the system and sporadic demand. This was an essential requirement for the country to progress towards indigenisation of defence manufacturing. The formulation of the policy is expected to give India the necessary wherewithal to gradually transit into the big league of defence equipment producing nations and shed the tag of being the biggest importer of defence systems. The policy is expected to be implemented in a few selected segments to begin with namely, fighter aircraft, submarines and armoured vehicles. In future additional segments may be added. Ammunition has for the moment not been accepted for strategic partnership, but given the deficiencies faced in this segment by the Armed Forces, and the recurring requirements for training purposes, this too needs to be done at the earliest.
NAVY TO GET ADVANCE DEFENCE SYSTEMS FROM ISRAEL
Israel will supply advanced long-range surface to air missile (LRSAM) defence systems to four Indiand control systems, launchers, and missiles with advanced radio-frequency (RF) seekers.
The system provides the ultimate protection against a variety of aerial, naval and air borne threats. It is currently operational with the Indian Air Force, the Indian Navy and the Israel Defence Forces. The Indian Army is also likely to deploy it soon.
INDIA TO BUILD LANDING PLATFORM DOCKS (LPDS)
The Defence Acquisition Councilon 21 May 2017, cleared a mega naval project worth over Rs 20,000 crore for four Landing Platform Docks (LPD). Also known as amphibious assault ships, LPDs are used to transport troops, defence equipment, helicopters and amphibious vehicle into a war zone by sea. The LPDs, weighing in the range of 30,000-40,000 tonnes, will be the biggest battle ships to be built in Indiaafter the under-construction aircraft carrier INS Vikrant and will enhance India’s ability to conduct sea-borne offensives in enemy areas. The ships have a huge lower decks that can be opened as a bridge to accommodate landing of tanks, defence cargo, as well as troops from sea to land. They do not require docking and can easily return as they can stay in sea uninterrupted for months depending upon their capacity.Currently, India has one LPD, the INS Jalashwa, bought in 2007 from the US. This 16,900-tonne warship, can transport around 5,000 soldiers besides defence equipments. Contracts for the four LPDs is likely to be finalised by the end of the year. In the fray for the contract are Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL), which has a tie up with the French firm DCNS and L&T, which has a tie up with Navantia of Spain.