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

We start the edi­to­rial by wel­com­ing our new De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man who took charge on Septem­ber 7. Sithara­man is the first full-time woman De­fence Min­is­ter of In­dia. Her first act as De­fence Min­is­ter was ap­prov­ing a grant of over ` 13 crore which will be re­leased for 8,685 ex-ser­vice­men, wid­ows and de­pen­dants out of the Armed Forces Flag Day Fund. She also ap­proved fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance out of Rak­sha Mantri Ex-Ser­vice­men Fund. Start­ing on a hu­man­i­tar­ian note speaks im­mensely of her ap­proach to the wel­fare of the De­fence Forces. She has taken a hands on ap­proach by im­me­di­ately vis­it­ing var­i­ous events and sta­tions of the de­fence forces in­clud­ing tri­als at Pokha­ran Fir­ing Range to get a sense of all the com­po­nents of the Min­istry of De­fence (MoD). With her fi­nance back­ground, we are cer­tain that she will ex­pe­dite and stream­line the fi­nan­cial man­age­ment and ac­qui­si­tion process at the MoD. We all at SP’s Naval Forces wish her best of luck in all her fu­ture en­deav­ours. An ap­pro­pri­ate write up on her is in­cluded in this is­sue.

Air­craft car­rier is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of force pro­jec­tion and thus in­dia de­cided to de­sign and make its own air­craft car­ri­ers with indigenous Air­craft car­rier (Ac) Project 71. INS Vikrant is the first ship of the Vikrant class of air­craft car­ri­ers be­ing built by Cochin Ship­yard. Indo-US Joint Work­ing Group on Air­craft Car­rier Tech­nol­ogy Co­op­er­a­tion has been formed to as­sist In­dia in the de­sign and con­struc­tion of mod­ern air­craft car­ri­ers. Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, while ded­i­cat­ing INS Vikra­ma­ditya to the na­tion on June 14, 2014, said that, For me, it is a mat­ter of pride and hap­pi­ness that INS Vikra­ma­ditya is join­ing the Navy. It is a his­toric step. Imag­ine the pride and hap­pi­ness which will be gen­er­ated when the first Indigenous Air­craft Car­rier INS Vikrant will be ded­i­cated to the na­tion. China has al­ready done it.

Ad­di­tional air­craft car­ri­ers will need car­rier borne air­craft thus as part of the for­ward plan­ning In­dia has floated Re­quest for In­for­ma­tion (RFI) for 57 multi-role car­rier borne fighters (MRCBF) with a pro­vi­sion to en­hance the fu­ture or­der for a larger quan­tity to meet fu­ture re­quire­ments of MRCBF. De­tails of the RFI and the pos­si­ble op­tions with lu­cid anal­y­sis has been in­cluded in this is­sue.

In­dia was look­ing for a naval as­pect of the and Strate­gic Nu­clear Triad and chose nu­cle­ar­pow­ered bal­lis­tic mis­sile sub­marines, com­monly known as Ship Sub­mersible Bal­lis­tic Nu­clear (SSBN). The ob­jec­tive from the be­gin­ning was fo­cused on de­vel­op­ment of indigenous ca­pa­bil­ity for a po­tent Nu­clear Triad and thus Ad­vanced Tech­nol­ogy Ve­hi­cle Pro­gramme was born. The first SSBN in the se­ries is INS Ari­hant de­tails of which are in­cluded in this is­sue.

The 21st edi­tion of Ex­er­cise Mal­abar 2017 be­tween the navies of In­dia, United States and Ja­pan was held dur­ing July and tac­itly left in its wake a mes­sage, who the dom­i­neer­ing mar­itime pow­ers of the In­dian Ocean are!!

Navika Sa­gar Parikrama is the first-ever In­dian cir­cum­nav­i­ga­tion of the globe by an all-women crew in INSV Tarini and was flagged of by De­fence Min­is­ter Nir­mala Sithara­man on Septem­ber 10, 2017. The Navy has thus taken the lead in pro­jec­tion of Nari Shakti which is one of the key thrusts of the Gov­ern­ment. We at SP’s Naval Forces wish them suc­cess­ful sail­ing.

As usual we sign off with the News Digest and wish you read­ers a very happy Dusshera and Di­wali.

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