defNEW DELHI: DRDO is developing an air-launched version of the 1,500-km-range Nirbhay sub-sonic cruise missile which would be capable of being fired from the Air Force’s frontline Su-30MKI combat aircraft.


“This Nirbhay missile would be capable of being used from air, land and ships and submarines. An air-launched version of the missile is also being planned,” DRDO chief Avinash Chander told PTI here.


He said the air-launched version of the missile is being developed and it would be capable of being fired from fighter aircraft such as Su-30MKI.


The DRDO chief was commenting on the Nirbhay cruise missile programme ahead of the second test-firing of its land attack version scheduled to take place tomorrow from a firing range in Balasore in Odisha.


Chander said the “size of the Nirbhay’s air launched version would be smaller as it will be without booster.”


He said all the versions of the missile are being developed parallely but the success of tomorrow’s planned mission for the missile would be very important for the project.


On the test-firing, he said, “We are carrying out the planned mission… So, the basic mission will be executed maintaining a basic height. It will be a full range test. ”


Chander refused to give out the exact striking-range of the missile but DRDO sources said the missile is being developed to hit targets at 1,500 km.


He said the experience of integrating BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Astra air-to-air missile would be very useful for DRDO while integrating Nirbhay on to the aircraft.


India is integrating the 290km-range BrahMos with Su-30MKI and it is expected to first test-fired by early next year.


It would be the second developmental trial of the missile. The first test was conducted on March 12, 2013 from the same base.


Nirbhay with long-range capability is being developed by the Aeronautical development Establishment (ADE) and is designed to have good loitering capability, good control and guidance, high degree of accuracy in terms of impact and stealth features.

(Source: Economic Times October 17, 2014)





New Delhi: India will begin production of components for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in 2015, eight years before the completion of the project in which Indian scientists are collaborating with counterparts from Canada, China, Japan and the US.


The 30m diameter primary mirror of the telescope, being built at the summit of the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii, will consist of 492 smaller, hexagonal mirrors, 100 of which will be delivered by India. Japan, China and the US will supply the remainder and Canada will be responsible for construction of the dome.


“We have to make the system so that the segments align in a way that they form a single mirror as gravity may not allow them to align perfectly,” B. Eswar Reddy, TMT’s India programme director, said in an interview. “We have to put (in place) a support system so all segments form one single mirror. The entire 492 segments have to be aligned so that they are within a few nanometres’ accuracy. That is the key aspect and makes it challenging because only then can we get the sharpest image.”


The giant instrument, billed as the world’s most advanced and powerful optical telescope, will enable astronomers to study objects in the solar system and stars throughout the Milky Way and its neighbouring galaxies, and forming galaxies “at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time”, according to the TMT website. It will help promote the understanding of fundamental issues such as the possible existence of life beyond the solar system.


“This is an exciting moment as we begin construction of TMT. Its giant mirror, nearly 100ft across, promises the highest definition views of planets orbiting nearby stars and the first stars and galaxies in the distant universe,” said Edward Stone, executive director, TMT International Observatory, at the start of on-site construction in Hawaii.


From the Indian side, this will be a joint project of the department of science and technology and the department of atomic energy. India will be a 10% partner in the project and 70% of its contributions will be in kind.


This will mean 25 to 30 observing nights on the telescope for Indian scientists per year. “The design phase of the project is over, and now will begin the construction and production phase,” said Reddy.


India will also provide the complete primary mirror support system consisting of 492 supports, control system, actuators, edge sensors, mirror coating system and software, hoping to acquire the key technologies needed for the project and help plan such projects within India.


Scientific institutes and industries in the country have been involved in prototyping and demonstrating the technologies needed for TMT for the last few years.


India has to deliver 3,444 edge sensors that will guide the actuators in aligning the segments. The technology demonstration for the sensors, developed with the help of General Optics (Asia) Ltd (GOAL), Puducherry, has already been performed and these are ready for the production phase.


The frames for the segments are being prepared by Godrej Industries Ltd and the prototypes should be completed in a few months, while a major part of the software for the telescope is being developed at the Centre of Development of Advanced Computing.

“Assembly of segment support will begin in December. Production of segment support and actuators will begin in 2015, while mirrors will be produced in 2017 at a production plant that has to be set up for the purpose,” said Reddy.


The national project will be anchored in the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore, and led by IIA; Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital; and Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.

(Source: Mint October 17, 2014)




New Delhi: India took another step towards self-sufficiency in providing location and time information in all weather conditions when the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) successfully launched the country’s third navigational satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in the early hours on Thursday.


“Our PSLV (polar satellite launch vehicle) has done it again. This is the 28th flight of the PSLV,” Isro chairman K. Radhakrishnan said in a statement. “Injection has been very precise.”


After a flight of about 20 minutes and 18 seconds, IRNSS-1C was placed in an elliptical orbit. Its solar panels were deployed automatically, and Isro’s master control facility at Hassan, Karnataka, took control of the satellite. In the coming days, four orbit manoeuvres will be conducted from Hassan to position the satellite in a geostationary orbit.


It is the third satellite in the Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System, which will ultimately have seven satellites designed to provide accurate positional information to users in India as well as a region extending up to 1,500km from India’s boundary.


Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Isro scientists on Twitter: “Congrats to the scientists at Isro for the successful launch of navigation satellite IRNSS 1C. It is a matter of immense pride & joy.”


Science minister Jitendra Singh was present at Sriharikota to witness the launch.


The navigational system aims to reduce India’s dependence on foreign systems such as the US global positioning system and the Russian global navigation satellite system.


Although the entire system will become functional next year, a new feature becomes available to users with each successful launch. The launch of the satellite, which will have a mission life of 10 years, was done in less than six months of the launch of the second navigational satellite as a team of 1,000 scientists worked on it.


The 1,432kg orbiter carries navigational payloads that will transmit signals to users, while ranging payloads will help establish the range of the satellite accurately. The system is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20m in the primary service area.


The second satellite in the series, IRNSS-1B, was launched in April; the first in July 2013. Both are functioning from their designated geosynchronous orbital positions. The fourth satellite in the series, IRNSS-1D, is expected to be launched by end of the year.


The navigational system will provide two types of services: standard positioning service, which will be provided to all users; and restricted service, an encrypted service provided to authorized users.


Once the navigational system is operational, it can be used for terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation and disaster management, and used for mobile applications. Ground stations responsible for the generation and transmission of navigation parameters, satellite control and satellite ranging and monitoring have been established in 15 locations across the country.


Isro scientists are already working on the next launch, which will be the experimental flight of geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) Mark III capable of launching a four-tonne satellite. “We promise to be back in the next 45 days with the launch of the GSLV Mark III with a human crew module,” said Radhakrishnan.


Isro scientists also announced that it will be launching a communications satellite called GSAT-16, which was approved at a cost of `865 crore, in the first week of December. The agency also said it has repositioned the Mars Orbiter spacecraft so that it could avoid damage during the Comet Sliding Spring fly-by on 19 October.

(Source: Mint October 17, 2014)




Washington: Lockheed Martin Corp. says it has made a technological breakthrough in developing a power source based on nuclear fusion, with reactors small enough to fit on the back of a truck.


The aerospace and security firm, which made the announcement on Wednesday, says it expects its first operational reactor to be ready in as little as 10 years.


And thanks to the reactor’s smaller size, the company based just outside Washington in Bethesda, Maryland, said it can design, build and test the new compact fusion reactor in less than a year.


After completing several of these cycles, Lockheed’s team said it plans on being able to produce a prototype in five years.


“Our compact fusion concept combines several alternative magnetic confinement approaches, taking the best parts of each, and offers a 90% size reduction over previous concepts,” said Tom McGuire, compact fusion lead for the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works’ Revolutionary Technology Programs.


The Skunk Works team also plans to search for partners to help further the technology.


Roger Dargaville, a research fellow and leader of the MEI Energy Futures Group at the University of Melbourne, Australia, stressed that nuclear energy will be an important part of power generation in countries where other low carbon alternatives are not viable.


“The potential for the use of fusion reactors over fission is exciting news as the dangerous by-products of fission reactors are a major disadvantage of the technology,” said Dargaville.


But, he added, “The lack of political will to address the general resistance to nuclear power within the population means the option for using nuclear will come too late.”


Lockheed’s announcement is still a “long way” from a working prototype or commercially viable power generator, said Joel Gilmore of Australia-based ROAM Consulting.


“Fusion requires incredibly high temperatures and pressures, which is challenging, and a lot of people have been working on fusion for a long time. So I won’t get too excited yet,” he said.


“Even if successful, the big question is what will fusion power cost? It will be challenging to compete with the falling costs of conventional renewable energy sources, especially in Australia with our world class wind and solar resources.”

(Source: Mint October 17, 2014)




The Indo-Russian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, whose Block-III variant has perfected a surgical strike capability, is set to further expand its target engagement envelope by attaining a ‘near vertical dive capability’ to shock the enemy hidden behind mountains.


“We want to demonstrate a ‘near vertical dive and surround’ capability to take the enemy by surprise. While radars do not have 360 degree coverage in the mountains, we would like to show the missile taking a turn in the horizontal axis and decimating the target around the hill. We hope to do this in a year’s time,” Sudhir Mishra, chief executive officer and managing director of the company, told The Hindu.


The capability, he said, would allow the Army to inventively approach their operational plans.


On the air version of the universal missile now under development, Mr. Mishra said a dummy BrahMos would be test-dropped from a modified Su-30 MKI fighter early next year. By March, the actual missile would be test-fired from the aircraft.


The BrahMos-II, the planned hypersonic version of the missile, was at a very nascent stage of design, owing to the technological challenges involved in its development. “A preliminary design is being done in the lab and the complete missile may take nearly five years to fructify. But we are at it, nevertheless,” said Mr. Mishra. “It is a complex thing to develop, given the fact that as we overshoot the sound of speed, a lot of aerodynamic changes take place. We need new material, as stability and heat-resistance of the missile at these speeds are extremely important. How the propellant behaves at these speeds is a critical question. The avionics has to be properly secured to withstand high temperatures. Data-linking is another key area.” Mr. Mishra said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the BrahMos Aerospace had together invested some $50 million for the development.


Mr. Mishra said while a few friendly nations in the ‘distant neighbourhood’ had been shortlisted for sale of the potent missile, it was up to the Russian and Indian governments to take a call on the export of BrahMos. “It can happen anytime soon as the new government has made its intent to export weapons clear.”


Mr. Mishra said Russia, too, would add the missile to its naval inventory when it inducted a new ship.

(Source: Hindu October 17, 2014)




Indian Space Research Organisation Chairman K. Radhakrishnan on Thursday said the agency is likely to launch GSLV Mark III, one of the biggest project this year, within 45 days.


Addressing from the Mission Control Room after the successful launch of IRNSS 1C, he said the next launch was the most awaited launch of GSLV Mark III.


While another communication satellites GSAT 16 with 48 transponders was to be launched on board Ariane 5 from the French Guyana in December, ISRO would launch the next in the IRNSS series IRNSS 1D in the same month, he said.


GSLV Mk—III will facilitate launching of four ton class of communication satellites to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, benefiting all sections of the society, including remote and far-flung areas of the country.

(Source: Hindu October 17, 2014)





Former Pakistan president General Pervez Musharraf on Thursday said Pakistan needs to incite those fighting in Kashmir.


“We have source (in Kashmir) besides the (Pakistan) army…People in Kashmir are fighting against (India). We just need to incite them,” the 71-year-old retired general, who is currently on bail in a treason case, told a TV channel.


Musharraf, who had grabbed power in 1999 soon after the Kargil conflict, said the army is ready for war (with India) and lakhs of people in Pakistan are willing to go and fight for Kashmir. India should not be under the illusion that Pakistan will not hit back, he added. “In Kashmir, we can fight with the (Indian) army from both the front and back…We are Muslims. We will not show the other cheek when we are slapped. We can respond tit for tat,” he said, while commenting on the recent firing along the Line of Control and International Border.


He said external aggression happens only when the country remains internally weak.


“If we remain strong internally, no one can dare to target us.” Musharraf also said (Narendra) “Modi is anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan. He has not changed. The problem is with us… We are running to attend his (Modi) inauguration, we should keep our dignity.”


The former president also termed the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) granted to Pakistan by India as “a joke”.


Musharraf, who was forced to resign in 2008 after his supporters lost, returned to Pakistan in 2013 after over four years of self-exile but faces a slew of cases.


Currently, he is on bail in four criminal cases while the treason case is going on in a special tribunal.

(Source: India Today October 17, 2014)




ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday said India cannot afford to carry out “surgical strikes” inside the country as it is aware of Pakistan’s response to any such action.


National security adviser Sartaj Aziz claimed that the current border tension was part of a bigger conspiracy by Indian government to blame Pakistan as well as exploit the border issue to attract voters in the state elections.


He said that India cannot carry out “surgical strikes” inside Pakistan as it would result in a “response”.


Aziz’s comments came during a briefing to the National Assembly Committee on Foreign Relations.


“Our army is fully alert and capable to appropriate response,” he said amid tensions between India and Pakistan along the line of control and International Border.


The adviser said that Kashmir was a core issue and Pakistan would like the international community to play its role in its resolution.


He did not rule out talks and said Pakistan will use all channels to defuse the tension as it wants good ties with India.


He also said that better relations between the two neighbours were only possible if Kashmir issue is resolved.

(Source: Times of India October 17, 2014)




NEW DELHI: No one can give a warning to India, Union home minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday, a day after China objected to India building road along the border.


“No one can give a warning to India. India is a powerful nation now,” the home minister said on the sidelines of the 30th Raising Day ceremony of the National Security Guards (NSG) in Manesar, on the outskirts Delhi.


“As far as China is concerned, both countries should sit together and discuss the issues,” he said.


China on Wednesday said India should not take any action that may complicate the situation in disputed border areas.


The remarks come in the wake of comments made on Tuesday by India’s minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju that there were plans to construct a 2,000-km-long road along the international border between Mago-Thingbu in Tawang district and Vijaynagar in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh.


India’s concerns arise out of extensive road, rail air network developed by China in Tibet which could play pivotal in moving the troops and equipment at a greater speed in the rugged Himalayan region.


Besides extensive highways, China’s rail network came close to Sikkim border and Beijing has announced plans to build a new rail network up to Nyingchi which is close to the border of Arunachal Pradesh.


China has build about five airports in the Tibet region. Beijing asserts that the infrastructure development is part of efforts to develop remote parts of Tibet.


China claims Arunachal Pradesh as a part of Southern Tibet and disputes McMohan line.


Chinese position is that the border dispute is confined to 2,000km mostly on Arunachal Pradesh where as India asserts that the dispute covered the western side of the border spanning to about 4,000 km.


The two countries have held 17 rounds of special representative talks so far to resolve the boundary dispute.


The issue also figured during last month’s talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to India.


The two leaders agreed to make efforts to resolve the border dispute at the earliest.

(Source: Times of India October 17, 2014)

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