ED­I­TO­RIAL

SP's NavalForces - - LEAD STORY - Jayant Baran­waL Pub­lisher & Editor-in-Chief

This is­sue of SP’s Naval Forces co­in­cided with the award on is­lands in the South China Sea (SCS) in favour of the Philip­pines. While the gen­e­sis of dis­putes in the SCS dates back to 1946 when China laid claim to al­most the en­tire sea area by draw­ing the fa­mous ‘Nine-dash Line’, SCS lit­er­ally started boil­ing with fre­quent dis­putes flar­ing up be­tween the lit­toral coun­tries. Due to con­tin­u­ous ha­rass­ment by China, Philip­pines filed pro­ceed­ings un­der An­nex VII of the United Na­tions Con­ven­tion of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) dur­ing 2013, to set­tle its out­stand­ing dis­pute with China.

China’s stand to­wards the ar­bi­tra­tion has been one of de­fi­ance and has re­fused to recog­nise the Ar­bi­tra­tion and its Award. Im­me­di­ately af­ter the ver­dict, China de­clared the Award as null and void, which will strate­gi­cally dis­ad­van­tage ad­ver­sary navies, al­low Bei­jing to ex­er­cise a whip hand over global and Asian trade, and, oth­er­wise ob­tain a mere clo­sum (closed sea) that coun­tries will be able to ac­cess only at Bei­jing’s suf­fer­ance.

China is no­tion­ally nar­row­ing SCS by cre­at­ing an ob­sta­cle course of the forcibly an­nexed ter­ri­tory be­long­ing to weak states, such as Philip­pines’ Scar­bor­ough Shoal in the Spratly Is­lands chain, and by cre­at­ing ‘ar­ti­fi­cial’ is­lands. In­dia also has a stake in it due to the pas­sage of trade and joint ven­ture with Viet­nam for ex­plo­ration of oil in their EEZ which is part of SCS. Thus the lead­ing ar­ti­cle is on SCS so that our read­ers can un­der­stand the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of SCS fol­lowed by an­other ar­ti­cle on the same sub­ject.

The ar­ti­cle on mis­siles em­bed­ded on war­ships cov­ers both AD and anti-ship. Cruise mis­siles have be­come weapons of choice at sea be­cause of their abil­ity to fly close to the sea sur­face at very high speeds (sub- sonic/su­per­sonic). Read all about in a well re­searched ar­ti­cle in this is­sue. The ar­ti­cle on Fleet AD gives out con­tours of air de­fence re­quired to de­fend a fleet from the air. It has evoked in­ter­est due the re­cent suc­cess­ful tri­als of medium-range SAM (MRSAM) and long-range SAM (LRSAM). Both these pro­jects are a joint ven­ture be­tween In­dia’s DRDO and Is­rael’s IAI. LRSAM was suc­cess­fully fired from INS Kolkata in De­cem­ber 2015. It is un­der­stood that LRSAM has a de­struc­tion range of about 70 km and de­tec­tion range of 100 km. With LRSAM, In­dia has achieved layer one and two for Fleet AD. The third layer will need mis­siles with ranges up to 400 km. We are cer­tain that the way the In­dian Navy is mod­ernising, layer three for its fleet de­fence will be achieved in the near fu­ture. Then there is a brief sta­tus re­port on In­dian Navy’s frigate in the back­drop of me­dia re­port­ing on Rus­sia’s of­fer of three fri­gates of Project 11356 class. If this pro­posal goes through then it will be a win-win sit­u­a­tion for In­dia as well as Rus­sia. Navy is a ‘hap­pen­ing’ Ser­vice with progress on mul­ti­ple fronts like the planned fu­ture in­duc­tion of Fleet Sup­port ships, LPDs, spe­cial op­er­a­tions ve­hi­cles, mine coun­ter­mea­sures ves­sels and up­grade of Kamov-28 he­li­copter. As usual, this is­sue is wrapped up with the News in Brief and naval post­ings. Happy read­ing to all you dis­cern­ing read­ers.

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