With the launch on 28 April 2016 of IRNSS-1G,the country’s seventh navigation satellite, India entered the exclusive club of five nations that have their own satellite navigation and positioning systems. IRNSS is similar to the global positioning system (GPS) of the US (24 satellites), Glonass of Russia, and Galileo of Europe, as well as China’s Beidou. With this indigenous capability, the country no longer has to depend on any foreign power for military navigation. The system called NAVIC, consists of a constellation of seven satellites and a support ground segment. Three of the satellites in the constellation are located in geostationary orbit (GEO). The other four are inclined geosynchronous orbit (GSO). In addition, various ground-based systems will control, track orbits, check integration and send radio signals to the satellites. The land based Master Control Centre (MCC) will run navigational software.

The system has an accuracy of 20 meters and an extended range of 1500 km across Indian borders. This assumes significance as India will have the capability to target enemy positions in depth, with reasonable accuracy, once the complete system is in place.

With a life of 12 years, the system can also be used for civilian navigation — aircraft, ships, railways – and as a terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers, along with visual and voice navigation for drivers. It can also be integrated into phones. Other civilian applications include mapping, disaster management, and vehicle and fleet management

In 1999, the then NDA government sanctioned a 30 year plan to build 24 submarines in a phased manner. On May 1, 2016, after 16 years, the first of these submarines, INS Kalvari (meaning Sea Shark), splashed into the sea for trials, under her own propulsion system. Kalvari is the first of six such conventional Scorpene class submarines being built at MDL (Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd Mumbai). During the trials, INS Kalvari will undergo various preliminary tests on the propulsion system, auxiliary equipment and systems, navigation aids, communication equipment and steering gear. Trials will include surface trials, diving trials, weapon trials and noise trials before the submarine is commissioned in the Indian Navy by the end of this year.

This diesel-electric submarine is designated to perform anti surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering, mine laying and area surveillance, using stealth technology and precision guided munitions. Being made form special steel, it can withstand high-yield stress and high hydrostatic force, which allow them to augment stealth. The submarine, built with French collaboration, with transfer of technology from the French defence firm DCNS (French Naval Defence and Energy) allows parallel building of its various sections due to its modular construction. It is also equipped with weapon launching tubes (WLT), which lets sailors carry weapons on board that can be reloaded at sea without any hitch. It also features complex sensors managed by a high-technology Combat Management System and is expected to provide a significant boost to Indian Navy’s submarine operations.

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