NEWS

NCC GIRLS SCALE MOUNT TRISHUL

Lt Gen. A Chakravarty, VSM, DGNCC flagged-in the NCC Girls Expedition to Mt Trishul on 05 October, 2015 at New Delhi. He congratulated the girl cadets and the support staff for their splendid effort and demonstration of courage to overcome the challenges of rugged terrain and hostile conditions in their bid to

summit the peak.This expedition, led by Col G. Karki, which scaled Mount Trishul at an altitude above 7120m, gave the NCC cadets an excellent exposure to high altitude and extreme weather conditions that will assist them for their forthcoming Mount Everest Expedition in May 2016.

IACCCS APPROVED FOR THE IAF

Speaking in a press conference in New Delhion 3 October 2015, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief MarshalArup Raha, stated that the government has approved the IACCCS (Integrated Air Command, Control and Communications System). The system envisages the interlinking of all ground bases, radars, planes and sensors, through a satellitebased information gathering system, aided by “network centric” operations to enable pan- India real-time transmission of imagery and enemy targets. When fully operational, it would represent a significant technological leap for the IAF. As of now, the IACCS (Integrated Air Command and Control System)is functioning on thewestern front.

The CAS stated that the IAF would soon cover the air space over the entire country and island territories by integrating all resources, adding that enough satellites for communication, navigation, targeting and imagery are available and that of the seven IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System) satellites, four have been launched. The IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system run by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and will provide encrypted service.The space-based system will be implemented in phases and all are running concurrently. The CAS further added that, “In 2-3 years time, we will be fully networked”. The system is a combination of surveillance platforms that integrated the ability to use data and images in real-time across many battlefields. This is an IAFowned, operated, fully secure, reliable network that will use the AF-Net – an optic-fibre based network created in collaboration with US-based Cisco Systems, HCL Infosystems Ltd and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.The IACCS, by using the AFNet, will receive at a central place, direct real-time feeds from existing spacebased overhead reconnaissance satellites.

BOOST FOR ARTILLERY

The contract to supply up to 100 self¬propelled howitzers (SPHs) worth approximately USD750 million to the Indian Army, has been awarded to Larsen & Toubro (L&T), an Indian conglomerate, which is headquartered in Mumbai. As per media reports, the company will indigenously manufacture and deliver the tracked 155/52¬calibre mm K9 Vajra¬T SPH system, which is based on the South Korean K9 Thunder SPH system produced by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA). The K9 Thunder has also been exported to Turkey as the Firtina self¬propelled gun.The K9 Vajra¬T SPH was chosen over its competitor, an upgraded version of the Russian 152 mm/39¬calibre MSTA¬S gun modified to 155 mm/52¬calibre standard and mounted on a T¬72 main battle tank chassis.

The artillery modernisation plan of 1999, envisages import and the subsequent indigenous production of 155 mm artillery weapons, of various calibre’s and platform types (wheeled and tracked). The projected requirement is of 814 mounted guns, 1580 towed guns, 100 tracked self propelled guns,180 wheeled self propelled guns and 145 ultra light howitzers, estimated to cost about Rs one lakh crore. The 155 mm/52¬calibre SPH programme is part of the above rationalisation plan, which seeks to import and subsequently indigenously produce the above weapons.

The K9 has a crew of five that includes the commander, driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and ammunition loader. The SPH has a maximum speed of 67 km/h and range of 360 km, with internal storage capacity for up to 48 155 mm projectiles. The main gun is capable of sustained fire of up to 3 rds/min as well as rapid fire capability of up to 8 rds/min. The locally produced K9 Vajra¬T system is expected to incorporate at least 50 percent indigenous content, including communications, fire control, and life support systems, the auxiliary power unit (APU), as well as parts of the hull and turret structure.L&T is likely to build the K9 Vajra¬T SPHs at its Talegaon facility in Maharashtra, where it will also set up a new integration and test facility specifically for the SPH.

AUSINDEX-2015

In mid-September 2015, Australia and India held their first-ever bilateral naval exercise, AUSINDEX-2015. The week-long exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal, and involved five warships, an Australian submarine and two long-range anti-submarine aircraft (Australian P3C and Indian P8I). A “pronounced emphasis” of the exercise was on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Beyond merely being ‘just another combined exercise’, it bears a far-reaching import, and highlights Australia’s nationalstrategic reorientation in recent years.

The exercise commenced with a harbour phase involving briefings and practical demonstrations ashore, before progressing to sea. Sea-phase serials included a coordinated anti-submarine exercise, surface firing exercises, air defence exercises, seamanship evolutions (including replenishment at sea serials) and aviation operations with embarked helicopter flights.

EXERCISE MALABAR 2015

Exercise Malabar, which initially began as a bilateral naval exercise between the United States and India back in 1992, has at times been expanded to include other partners as well. Now, in a major shift, New Delhi has indicated that this hitherto bilateral event will be permanently designated a trilateral USJapan- India exercise.

The trilateral naval exercises held over six days from 14 October to 19 October 2015, featured advanced naval war fighting submarines, guided missile cruisers, destroyers and frigates. The exercises conducted were all encompassing, to include the full spectrum of operations. These included scenarios for destroying hostile submarines, surface warships and aircraft, and also included anti-piracy operations, board, search and seize and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. The United States deployed its aircraft carrier, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and a nuclear-powered submarine. The Indian navy deployed a submarine along with surface ships and maritime surveillance aircraft, but neither of its two aircraft carriers took part. Japan participated with a lone destroyer.The exercises followed the first-ever U.S.-Japan-India ministerial level trilateral, in New York in September 2015, between India’s Foreign Minister, Smt Sushma Swaraj, Japans Foreign Minister, Mr Kishida and US Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry. The first trilateral meeting was held at the the level of joint secretary in 2011 an since then, officials of the three countries have been meeting twice a year. Australia has also expressed its readiness to participate in quadrilateral defence dialogue and naval drills with the three other countries, raising the possibility that the event may now become a quad.

In 2007, Beijing had objected to a five-nation Exercise Malabar, with Japan, Australia and Singapore as invitees. New Delhi thereafter soothed Chinese feelings by reverting to a bilateral format. This years exercise is now another overt step that India has taken towards the western Pacific. It is also noteworthy that Malabar is held on alternate years in the western Pacific.

INDIA CHINA JOINT EXERCISE ‘HAND IN HAND’- 2015

The fifth joint exercise between India and China, named ‘Hand-in- Hand 2015’, took place at Kunming Military Academy, Yunnan Province, China from 12 to 21 October. The twelve day exercise laid emphasis on joint handling of counter terrorism and ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief’.

The opening ceremony commenced with an impressive parade by both contingents, which was commanded by Lt Col Ruchir Pant of Indian Army. A ‘Weapon and Equipment Display’ was organised to familiarise with each others weapon systems at sub unit level. This was followed by a demonstration of skills by the Indian contingent, which enthralled the audience with a spectacular display of Yoga training, energetic tribal dances of Nagaland and unarmed combat skills. The Chinese contingent displayed combat shooting and obstacle negotiation skills within the Military Academy premises.

Lt Gen. Zhou Xiaozhou, head of the Chinese Observer Delegation stated that the joint exercise will play an important role in deepening mutual cooperation and forging a closer development partnership. Shri Ashok Kantha, the Indian Ambassador to China emphasised the need to tackle terrorism jointly and stressed on expanding defence cooperation at all levels.Lt Gen. Surinder Singh, head of the Indian Observer Delegation expressed confidence that the exercise will become a landmark in the history of bilateral relations of both countries and stated that both countries shared common perspective regarding countering terrorism in all its manifestations. He then declared the Exercise Hand in Hand open. Last year, the exercise was held in Aundh in November.

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