New Delhi: Shortly after 10 am on Friday, while the prime minister was exhorting an annual meeting of top military commanders from the Army, Navy and Air Force to be ready for any call to arms, India’s newest missile blasted off from a canister at the Chandipur test range on the coast of Odisha.
This was the Nirbhay long-range cruise missile, which can hit a target more than 1,000 km away. Flying at treetop level and navigating its way through heavily defended enemy airspace where a manned fighter would be quickly shot down by anti-aircraft missiles and guns, the Nirbhay is better equipped to survive the flight to its target. Its relatively slow flight speed, just 1,000 km per hour, allows it to navigate its way precisely to the target.
In Friday’s test, the Nirbhay demonstrated its entire bag of tricks. Launched from a canister, it blasted off vertically like a conventional rocket, then quickly levelled off into horizontal flight, or “cruise mode”. The solid rocket motor was quickly jettisoned and its second-stage, turbofan engine started, propelling the missile forward.
Over the next 70 minutes, the missile navigated its way to 15 pre-designated “way points”, using a sophisticated inertial navigation system, which can take assistance from the GPS satellite network. Halfway through the test, the Nirbhay did a pre-programmed U-turn and headed back to Chandipur. After travelling 1,050 km, the test was terminated and the missile splashed into the Bay of Bengal.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) says the missile was monitored throughout its flight, including by an air force aircraft that flew above it.
“The missile maintained an accuracy better than 10m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1,000 km. The successful indigenous development will fill a vital gap in the war-fighting capabilities of our armed forces,” said DRDO chief Avinash Chander.
This was the second test of the Nirbhay. Its maiden flight test, conducted on March 12, 2013, had to be terminated mid-way when the missile started deviating from its intended course.
The Nirbhay cruise missile is an Indian version of the American Tomahawk, which became an icon of high-tech warfare in the 1991 Gulf War through televised CNN footage of Tomahawks flying through the streets of Baghdad and precisely entering target buildings through open windows.
The Nirbhay has equally sophisticated facilities. It can “loiter” around a target, i.e., fly in circles until it is time to strike. Further, it can precisely distinguish its specified target within a bunch of similar targets.
Defence analysts have long speculated over whether the Nirbhay can carry a nuclear warhead. The missile tested today carried a warhead of 350 kg; that is the weight of a sophisticated nuclear weapon with a modern design.
The Nirbhay tested on Friday was 7.5 m long, which allows it to be configured for launch from land, sea, underwater and air. Submarines present the greatest challenge, since a submarine launched cruise missile (SLCM) must be accommodated inside the cramped hull.
Indian submarines fitted with nuclear-tipped Nirbhay missiles would increase the versatility of the underwater leg of the nuclear triad.
A key hurdle to developing a long-range cruise missile like the Nirbhay is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which forbids signatory countries from assisting or providing technology to any other country developing a cruise missile with a range of 300 km or more. India and Russia legally collaborated in developing the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile because its range was pegged at 295 km, just below the MTCR limit. In building the Nirbhay, India has had to go it alone.
The key design challenge, which was to develop an air-breathing turbine engine that can propel the Nirbhay, was met by the Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Bangalore.
Pakistan, which has earlier tested and deployed the Babur (Hatf VII) cruise missile, is believed to have been supplied the engine by China, in violation of the MTCR.
(Source: Business Standard October 18, 2014)
INDIA TAKES ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS HAVING ITS OWN NAVIGATION SYSTEM
CHENNAI: When Pakistani troops moved to Kargil in 1999, India’s urgent request for some vital information through the US-controlled Global Positioning System was denied. India then decided to have its own navigation satellite system that would provide accurate information on terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation.
Isro to test GSLV Mark-III, its prelude to manned mission
On Thursday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) took another decisive step towards this goal by launching the third in a series of seven satellites that would form the IRNSS system. The constellation is expected to be in place by next year. PSLV-C26 carrying the satellite lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota at 1.32 am. About 20 minutes later, it injected the satellite into its orbit, evoking thunderous applause at the command centre.
Declaring the mission a success, Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan said the launch was a perfect one. “Our PSLV has done it again,” he said. “Today’s was a precise injection (of the satellite). The PSLV was integrated at Sriharikota in 60 days as promised and a team of 1,000 members worked for the last four days to make this launch a success.”
This was the seventh flight of the extended version of PSLV and the satellite was injected into an orbit with a perigee (nearest point from Earth) of 282.56km and an apogee (farthest point) of 20,670 km. The mission leaders said this is extremely close to the mission target, which was 284km perigee and 20,650 km apogee. Mission director Kunhi Krishnan attributed the success to the entire team and also the Indian industrial sector for its co-operation in developing the components of the indigenous satellite.
The IRNSS system, which will have a range of 1,500km, will be utilized for two services: standard positioning service (SPS) for all users and restricted service (RS), which will be encrypted for military use. It will have a positional accuracy of 20 metres in its primary service area.
The system can be utilized in various ways — guiding drivers on city streets, aerial navigation, disaster management, mapping, voice navigation and marine navigation. It can be used for tracking vehicular movement on roads, aerial traffic management, fleet management and as a navigational guide for hikers and travellers.
(Source: Times of India October 18, 2014)
‘DOMINATION OF CYBERSPACE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT,’ PM MODI TELLS MILITARY COMMANDERS
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged the armed forces to incorporate “new thinking” and keep pace with a changing world where domination of cyberspace will become important and full scale wars may become rare.
In his first meeting with top commanders, he said, “The threats may be known, but the enemy may be invisible. Domination of cyber space will become increasingly important.”
He said control of space may become as critical as that of land, air and sea. “Full scale wars may become rare, but force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behavior, and the duration of conflicts will be shorter,” he said.
Some 100 officers from all three forces attended the conference against the backdrop of concerns over ceasefire violations by Pakistan at the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Prime Minister said an atmosphere of peace and security is essential for India to achieve economic development. He shared that he would continue the practice he had started of meeting the three Chiefs at least once a month.
Eight civilians were killed and several injured in firing and heavy shelling from Pakistan in the past few weeks along the International Border and the Line of Control. India warned of an “unaffordable cost” to Pakistan if it continued to violate the 2003 ceasefire between the two countries.
Interacting with the officers, PM Modi mentioned the delay in modernizing defence equipment and upgrading of arsenal. He urged the forces to reform procurement processes and suggest measures to “avoid delays in domestic development and production of defence equipment.”
The Prime Minister, one of the most tech and social media savvy politicians in India, asked the military to give serious thought to upgrading technological skills for “effective projection of power” by their men.
“When we speak of Digital India, we would also like to see a Digital Armed Force,” he commented.
(Source: NDTV October 18, 2014)
WHY INDIA IS PLANNING A NEW ROAD NEAR THE CHINA BORDER ?
India has unveiled plans to build a mountain road along the disputed border with China in the country’s remote north-east. The $6.5bn (£4.06bn), 1,800km (1,118 miles) all-weather road will stretch from Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh state to where the borders of India and China meet with Myanmar.
The road will connect sparsely populated and poorly-connected hill communities living in four large frontier districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
It will also help farmers in the mountainous region to transport their organic crops and medicinal herbs to low-lying and busy markets in neighbouring Assam state.
“This road will not boost our defences but help connect far flung communities for economic development denied to them for so long,” says India’s junior home minister Khiren Rijiju, himself a resident of Arunachal Pradesh.
But Indian military officials say the road will help consolidate Indian defences.
This represents a change in Indian military thinking that has so far opposed developing roads near the border, in case it is used by the Chinese during a conflict for speedy movement inside Indian territory.
The road, however, could could ignite fresh tensions between India and China.
The world’s two most populous countries disagree over the demarcation of several Himalayan border areas and fought a brief war in 1962.
Chinese foreign office spokesperson Hong Lei has said India’s plan may “complicate” the boundary dispute which he described as a “colonial legacy”.
“Before a final settlement is reached, we hope that India will not take any actions that may further complicate the situation. We should jointly safeguard the peace and tranquillity of the border area and create favourable conditions for the final settlement of the border issue,” he told reporters in Beijing.
Chinese officials say it is not fair of India to undertake such a huge road building project in an area which is still in dispute.
“Once the dispute is resolved and the boundary is clearly demarcated, India can build such roads in its territory, but it would be unfair to build a road in a disputed territory,” says Kong Can of the Yunnan Development Research Institute.
He says India should agree to develop the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar) highway and economic corridor from Calcutta in India’s West Bengal state to Kunming in China’s Yunnan province cutting through Bangladesh, India’s north-eastern states of Assam and Manipur and Myanmar’s northern provinces.
“This highway and economic corridor will help integrate our economies and open huge opportunities for developing our under-developed frontier provinces and create a climate of trust that will help resolve the border dispute,” Kong Can said.
India is going slow on the project, so far just agreeing to “explore” its possibilities.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has responded to demands from his security establishment to develop its defences against China, which has reportedly beefed up its military infrastructure in Tibet with a string of new railway lines, roads and at least five new airports.
Also, the rail route to Lhasa is likely to be extended to Nyingchu, close to the Arunachal Pradesh border, Indian military officials say.
“China has vastly beefed up its military infrastructure in Tibet and we are only catching up. Unless we do that, China will always arm-twist us on the border and try to impose a solution on its terms,” says Lt Gen JR Mukherjee, former chief of staff in India’s eastern army.
Last month India and China pulled back troops after a two-week stand-off near their de facto border in Ladakh. Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India when India accused his country of the fresh territorial incursion.
Many believe that has added to Indian apprehensions and could have influenced the decision to build the long border road that now upsets China.
(Source: BBC October 18, 2014)
FULL SCALE WARS RARE, BE READY FOR INVISIBLE THREATS : MODI TO TOP COMMANDERS
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday saw a “rare” possibility of a full scale war but said that “force” will influence behavior of others as he asked the armed forces to be ready for “invisible” enemy and challenges which will be “less predictable” in a changing world.
In his first interaction collectively with top commanders of the three defence services, he emphasized that an atmosphere of peace and security was essential to enable India to achieve its goals of economic development and that his government has focused on creating a favourable external environment and on strengthening India`s security.
Outlining his strategic vision, he observed that in addition to the familiar challenges, India has to be prepared for a changing world, which demanded new thinking on our part with regard to economic, diplomatic and security policies.
“Full scale wars may become rare, but force will remain an instrument of deterrence and influencing behavior, and the duration of conflicts will be shorter,” he said.
His observation came against the backdrop of recent escalation of cross-border firing and shelling by Pakistan on the Line of Control and International Border as well as Chinese incursions in Ladakh.
“Beyond the immediate, we are facing a future where security challenges will be less predictable; situations will evolve and change swiftly; and, technological changes will make responses more difficult to keep pace with,” Modi said, adding, “The threats may be known, but the enemy may be invisible.”
He underlined that domination of cyber space will become increasingly important and control of space may become as critical as that of land, air and sea.
Feeling the need for transforming India’s defence forces, he assured them of his commitment to provide adequate resources to ensure full defence preparedness, overcome shortages and meet modernization needs.
“We should remember that what matters is capability of the force,” he said.
(Source: India Today October 18, 2014)
FOUR NAVY SHIPS DEPLOYED TO SEAS OF EAST AFRICA, INDIAN OCEAN
New Delhi: In a bid to enhance bilateral engagements and engage in friendly naval exercises, four frontline ships of Indian Navy have been deployed to seas of East Africa and South Indian Ocean, marking stepped up maritime cooperation with the countries of the region.
Naval ships INS Mumbai, INS Talwar, INS Yamuna and INS Deepak that reached Mombasa on October 15 and leave tomorrow, have been part of the goodwill visit aimed at further bolstering bilateral ties and reinforcing cooperation in maritime security with Kenya and East Africa, officials in Ministry of External Affairs said.
They said the visit seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with the friendly countries of the East African region and to strengthen existing bonds of friendship.
India has maritime cooperation with countries of East Africa. India and Kenya also have maintained historical maritime trading links.
Involvement of Indian naval ships in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia since October 2008 has further strengthened bilateral engagement.
India and Kenya are also members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and cooperative initiative among 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region which has served as a useful forum for sharing of information and pursuing cooperation on maritime issues.
Indian Navy has close and friendly ties with all navies of the region and has been regularly making goodwill port calls on them besides providing training and hydrographic support.
(Source: Zee News October 18, 2014)
IAF RESCUES SIX SERIOUSLY INJURED ITBP PERSONNEL NEAR CHINA BORDER
In a swift operation, three helicopters of the ‘Siachen Pioneers’, a unit of the Indian Air Force, flew in just metres away from the border with China amidst rough weather conditions and rescued six seriously injured ITBP personnel involved in an accident.
The accident spot was just 200 meters from the Line of Actual Control under enemy observation, fast deteriorating weather and lack of any conventional helipad.
An ITBP patrol vehicle with 15 soldiers, carrying out regular patrolling along the Indo-Chinese border near Hot Spring post met with an accident yesterday when the driver lost control due to brake failure after which the vehicle tumbled into a ravine and fell in the dry river bed.
Six occupants were seriously injured. The casualties required immediate medical intervention and the only mode of rescue available in this terrain and remote region was by helicopters of the Indian Air Force at Leh.
On receiving the distress call, pilots obtained relevant information and planned their mission. Within minutes, three helicopters of the unit were launched in marginal weather conditions, led by Wg Cdr BS Sehrawat, the Commanding Officer of the Unit.
Hot Spring and en route valley are narrow and the treacherous terrain has virtually no forced landing fields. For a single engine helicopter it increases the risk manifold.
In addition, the prevailing inclement weather in the area left the pilots with no margin for error, it called for extraordinary skill and courage to go ahead with the mission in such conditions, a statement released by the Air Force said.
Keeping an eye on the fast deteriorating weather, the crew went ahead with the evacuation.
En route near Tsogtsalu helipad, 32 km short of the accident spot, weather deteriorated further forcing the pilots to land and wait for 30 minutes before it improved.
The moment they found a small opening in weather, the crew took off without any further delay. The casualties were swiftly accommodated inside the helicopter.
On return, the pilots again encountered bad weather forcing them to land at Tangste helipad this time.
The pilots ensured that the casualties were administered first aid at Tangste while waiting for weather to improve, the statement said.
As soon as the weather improved, the formation immediately took off for Leh.
Once the helicopter landed at Leh, the injured underwent a quick medical check up and were sent to 153 GH, Leh.
Siachen Pioneers is a premier helicopter unit of the Indian Air Force that carries out extensive operations in the entire Ladakh region especially the Siachen Glacier.
Siachen Pioneers have so far saved more than 6,300 lives under the most challenging flying conditions found anywhere in the globe. It has a rare distiction of being the only Unit that is constantly engaged in Operations for the past 30 years.
(Source: DNA India October 18, 2014)