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.