AGUS­TAWEST­LAND DEMON­STRATES SW-4 SOLO HE­LI­COPTER TO ITAL­IAN MOD

SP's LandForces - - NEWS IN BRIEF -

head­quar­ters. Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cers, the Army Head­quar­ters has sought at least 50 per cent hike in the fi­nan­cial pow­ers of its key for­ma­tions such as the Ud­ham­pur head­quar­tered North­ern Army Com­mand in the state of Jammu and Kash­mir and the Kolkata head­quar­tered East­ern Army Com­mand, re­spon­si­ble for the se­cu­rity of the North-east­ern states, to let them buy weapons and am­mu­ni­tion.

At present, un­der the fi­nan­cial pow­ers ac­corded to them in 2006 by the pre­vi­ous UPA Gov­ern­ment, the com­man­ders from the North and the East can buy weapons and am­mu­ni­tion worth only up to ` 50 lakh with­out the ap­provals of higher-ups. This amount could fetch only bare min­i­mum am­mu­ni­tion for the nearly five lakh troop­ers cu­mu­la­tively posted in both Jammu and Kash­mir and the North­east, ac­cord­ing to Army of­fi­cers. In con­cur­rence with the In­te­grated Fi­nan­cial Ad­vis­ers (IFA), a sys­tem in­tro­duced in 2006, the Army com­man­ders—who are all in the rank of a Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment sec­re­tary—can at present buy ord­nance stores up to ` 10 crore. It is this fi­nan­cial power, in con­cur­rence with the IFAs, that the Army wants hiked by at least 50 per cent. That is, in­stead of ` 10 crore, the Army com­man­ders should be able to buy weapons up to ` 15 crore. This would though only help in off­set­ting the in­fla­tion­ary fac­tors,” an of­fi­cer told The Sun­day Stan­dard.

“Most of the amount pre­scribed at present is pit­tance com­pared to the cost of weapons and equip­ment. Even if the hike pro­posed by the Army Head­quar­ters is ac­cepted by the gov­ern­ment, it would only help ward off the in­fla­tion­ary ef­fects on the de­fence bud­get,” a Lt Gen­eral-rank of­fi­cer said, re­quest­ing anonymity. Agus­taWest­land has suc­cess­fully demon­strated the ground-sta­tion-based re­mote con­trolled ca­pa­bil­i­ties of its mod­i­fied SW-4 Solo ro­tor­craft un­manned aerial sys­tem / op­tion­ally pi­loted he­li­copter (RUAS/OPH) to the Ital­ian Min­istry of De­fence (MoD). Un­der­taken in Italy and Poland, the ninemonth flight test­ing pro­gramme val­i­dated the he­li­copter and its po­ten­tial to of­fer en­hanced ca­pa­bil­i­ties for the Ital­ian armed forces in future. The tri­als were car­ried out as part of the re­search and devel­op­ment con­tract in­cluded in the Na­tional Mil­i­tary Re­search Plan and signed with the MoD’s Di­rec­torate for Air Ar­ma­ments.

Dur­ing the devel­op­ment phase and flight tri­als, the he­li­copter suc­cess­fully com­pleted the planned mis­sions in OPH con­fig­u­ra­tion with a safety pilot on board. Spe­cific test ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded sys­tem mon­i­tor­ing, hands off and re­mote con­trolled ma­noeu­vres, as well as hov­er­ing and a range of mis­sion pro­files. De­rived from the proven SW-4 light sin­gle-en­gine he­li­copter, the SW-4 Solo has been de­signed for both un­manned and pi­loted op­er­a­tions, pro­vid­ing users with max­i­mum op­er­a­tional flex­i­bil­ity. Jointly de­vel­oped by Agus­taWest­land and PZLSwid­nik in Poland, the he­li­copter can per­form a range of mis­sions, in­clud­ing in­tel­li­gence, sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance (ISR), as well as cargo re-sup­ply in RUAS con­fig­u­ra­tion. The pi­loted vari­ant can also un­der­take per­son­nel trans­port, sur­veil­lance and in­ter­ven­tion, and can be fit­ted with a com­pre­hen­sive mis­sion equip­ment pack­age, in­clud­ing search and com­mu­ni­ca­tions / in­tel­li­gence sys­tems.

SHORT­AGE OF OF­FI­CERS AND PER­SON­NEL IN ARMY

Short­age of of­fi­cers in Army as on Jan­uary 1, 2014 is 8,455 (17.77 per cent). In Other Ranks, there is a nom­i­nal short­fall of 16,597 (1.44 per cent) as on April 1, 2014. To mit­i­gate any ad­verse im­pact on the func­tion­ing of the Army, ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures have been un­der­taken in­clud­ing in­ter­nal ad­just­ments. Var­i­ous mea­sures have been taken on an on­go­ing ba­sis to re­duce short­ages in the of­fi­cers’ cadre. Vig­or­ous cam­paigns have been launched to at­tract the talented youth to join the armed forces. The ser­vice con­di­tions of the of­fi­cers join­ing through Short Ser­vice Com­mis­sion (SSC) have been made at­trac­tive. The ten­ure of SSC of­fi­cers has been in­creased from 10 to 14 years. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of rec­om­men­da­tions of the VI Cen­tral Pay Com­mis­sion with sub­stan­tial im­prove­ment in the pay struc­ture of of­fi­cers of armed forces has also made the ser­vices more at­trac­tive. Army has un­der­taken sus­tained im­age pro­jec­tion campaign to cre­ate aware­ness among the youth on the ad­van­tages of tak­ing up a chal­leng­ing and sat­is­fy­ing ca­reer. Aware­ness cam­paigns, par­tic­i­pa­tion in ca­reer fairs and ex­hi­bi­tions, ad­ver­tise­ments in print and elec­tronic me­dia, mo­ti­va­tional lec­tures in schools, col­leges are some of the mea­sures in this di­rec­tion. All the above men­tioned mea­sures have re­sulted in grad­ual im­prove­ment in the last five years with short­age of of­fi­cers re­duc­ing from 26 per cent in 2010 to 17.77 per cent in 2014. This in­for­ma­tion was given by De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley in a writ­ten re­ply to Naresh Agrawal in Ra­jya Sabha to­day.

FDI IN THE DE­FENCE SEC­TOR

In May 2001, the De­fence in­dus­try sec­tor, which was hith­erto re­served for the public sec­tor, was opened up to 100 per cent for In­dian pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion with FDI per­mis­si­ble upto 26 per cent, both sub­ject to li­cens­ing to en­able pri­vate sec­tor in­dus­try to par­tic­i­pate in de­fence pro­duc­tion within the coun­try. How­ever, wher­ever FDI be­yond 26 per cent is likely to re­sult in ac­cess to mod­ern and state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy in the coun­try, de­ci­sions can be taken to al­low higher FDI on a case-to-case ba­sis with the ap­proval of Cabi­net Com­mit­tee on Se­cu­rity. In the Union Bud­get 2014-15, it has been an­nounced that the com­pos­ite cap of for­eign ex­change is be­ing raised to 49 per cent with full In­dian man­age­ment and con­trol through the FIPB route for de­fence sec­tor. FDI is one of the route through which the do­mes­tic in­dus­try can strengthen its ca­pa­bil­i­ties required to pro­duce within the coun­try dif­fer­ent equip­ment / weapon sys­tems / plat­forms required for de­fence. As per the FDI pol­icy, the FDI in de­fence sec­tor is through FIPB route and / or with ap­proval of Gov­ern­ment. Fur­ther, there are ad­e­quate pro­vi­sions in Gov­ern­ment’s pol­icy to en­sure that the role of DRDO and In­dia’s in­dige­nous de­fence pro­duc­tion pro­gramme are not com­pro­mised and / or min­i­mized. This in­for­ma­tion was given by De­fence Min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley in a writ­ten re­ply to Sukhendu Sekhar Roy in Ra­jya Sabha re­cently.

US ARMY SCI­EN­TISTS DE­VELOP NEW BAL­LIS­TIC PRO­TEC­TION SYS­TEM

Sci­en­tists from the US Army Nat­ick Sol­dier Re­search, Devel­op­ment and En­gi­neer­ing Cen­ter (NSRDEC) have de­vel­oped an im­proved mo­du­lar bal­lis­tic pro­tec­tion sys­tem (MBPS-X).

De­vel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Ad­vanced Struc­tures and Com­pos­ites Cen­ter at the Univer­sity of Maine, the sys­tem of­fers in­creased ar­moured pro­tec­tion com­pared with the ex­ist­ing MBPS. NSRDEC team lead pro­gramme en­gi­neer Karen Ho­rak said: It’s a re­ward­ing pro­gramme to work on be­cause we’re pro­tect­ing sol­diers in places where some­times they don’t have pro­tec­tion. “The MBPS has been per­fected with the MBPS X, which has a lot more pro­tec­tion.

MBPS tech­nol­ogy has been lever­aged to pro­tect em­bassies and con­sulates around the world. The MBPS-X con­sists of a panel with a strut be­hind it that can be strapped to other pan­els, and can be used with any type of shel­ter to pro­tect per­son­nel and equip­ment, as pan­els do not at­tach to the shel­ter. The MBPS-X in­cludes all the ben­e­fits of the MBPS, which was also de­vel­oped by NSRDEC and the Univer­sity of Maine. Com­pris­ing mo­bile, re-de­ploy­able, re­us­able, quickly erectable and light­weight pan­els, both sys­tems pro­vide pro­tec­tion for per­son­nel and equip­ment in ex­pe­di­tionary base camps and an ar­ray of shel­ters, and do not re­quire spe­cial tools for assem­bly. MBPS tech­nol­ogy has al­ready been used to safe­guard em­bassies and con­sulates world­wide, and also in the devel­op­ment of the elab­o­rate over­head pro­tec­tion sys­tem for the roofs of shel­ters. The MBPS-X is ex­pected to be de­ployed in 2016.

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