INS Vikra­ma­ditya ar­rives in In­dia

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Aviation & Defence In India -

The In­dian Navy’s new ac­qui­si­tion, the air­craft car­rier INS Vikra­ma­ditya, sailed into the In­dian Ocean Re­gion in early Jan­uary 2014, a unique oc­ca­sion for the In­dian Navy as this was only the first time since 1992 that the Navy has op­er­ated two air­craft car­ri­ers to­gether.

The 44,500-tonne car­rier reached the end of its 8500 nau­ti­cal mile voy­age, with­out en­ter­ing any other port en­route, ar­riv­ing at INS Kadamba in Kar­war on the night of 7 Jan­uary 2014. INS Vikra­ma­ditya, un­der com­mand of Cap­tain (Com­modore) Su­raj Berry, had ear­lier been re­ceived at sea by a flotilla from the In­dian Navy’s Western Fleet, led by the fleet com­man­der Rear Ad­mi­ral Anil Chawla. The flotilla con­sisted of the air­craft car­rier INS Vi­raat, two Delhi- class de­stroy­ers in­clud­ing INS Mum­bai, three Tal­war- class frigates INS Teg, INS Tal­war and INS Trikand, a Go­davari- class frigate INS Go­davari, plus a num­ber of off­shore pa­trol ves­sels in­clud­ing the INS Sub­hadra.

The Vikra­ma­ditya, which trans­lates as ‘Strong as the Sun’, will now un­dergo a four-month in­te­gra­tion phase with its air wing com­pris­ing MiG-29Ks and Kamov Ka-31 he­li­copters. The Vikra­ma­ditya is also to be equipped with Sur­face to Air Mis­siles and Close-In Weapon Sys­tems in the com­ing months, and is ex­pected to be fully op­er­a­tional by May, 2014.

XVII (Moun­tain Strike) Corps raised at Ranchi

On 1 Jan­uary 2014, the In­dian Army’s new XVII (Moun­tain Strike) Corps was for­mally raised at its tem­po­rary head­quar­ters in Ranchi, Jhark­hand. Ma­jor Gen­eral Ray­mond Joseph Noronha hoisted the new colours of the XVII Corps, which is to be op­er­a­tional­lised at a re­ported cost of Rs. 64,000 crore over the next seven years and will even­tu­ally com­prise some 80,000 troops to give the In­dian Army an abil­ity to launch counter-of­fen­sives into the Ti­bet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion (TAR) in the event of hos­til­i­ties with China.

The Army al­ready has three Strike Corps: I Corps at Mathura, II Corps at Am­bala and XXI Corps at Bhopal, but these are tasked for of­fen­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties to­wards the western land borders with Pak­istan. XVII Corps will be the first Strike Corps tasked with op­er­a­tions along the high moun­tain borders with China-Ti­bet. Two Moun­tain Di­vi­sions, (in­clud­ing the 59th and 72nd) two In­de­pen­dent In­fantry Bri­gades and two Ar­moured Bri­gades, two Para-Spe­cial Forces bat­tal­ions, apart from in­te­gral units, will con­sti­tute the XVII Moun­tain Strike Corps whose des­ig­nated head­quar­ters will be Pana­garh in West Ben­gal, to be es­tab­lished by 2015. Pana­garh is also where the In­dian Air Force plan to de­ploy its new squadron of C-130J Su­per Her­cules re­cently or­dered from the United States, these pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial air­lift sup­port to the XVII Corps with their abil­ity to op­er­ate from high al­ti­tude and aus­tere airstrips.

Six more C-130Js or­dered for IAF

Asec­ond batch of six C-130J Su­per Her­cules tac­ti­cal trans­port air­craft have been or­dered for the In­dian Air Force, the ‘let­ter of of­fer and ac­cep­tance’ signed at New Delhi on 27 De­cem­ber 2013. The con­tract which is un­der the US Govern­ment for­eign mil­i­tary sales (FMS) pro­gramme, stip­u­lates de­liv­ery of the air­craft within three years. The new C-130Js will equip a sec­ond such squadron, the first be­ing No.77 at Hin­dan, with the new for­ma­tion to be based at Pana­garh in West Ben­gal, also des­ig­nated lo­ca­tion for the Army’s new XVII Moun­tain Strike Corps.

Pana­garh air­field was con­structed dur­ing World War II and used as a sup­ply trans­port air­field from 1942-1945 by the United States Army Air Force’s 10th Air Force and as a re­pair and main­te­nance de­pot for B-24 Lib­er­a­tor heavy bombers by the Air Tech­ni­cal Ser­vice Com­mand.

First Ru­dra squadron formed

No.251 (Armed) Squadron of the In­dian Army Avi­a­tion Corps was for­mally raised with the HAL Ru­dra (Ad­vanced Light He­li­copter Mark IV–Weapons Sys­tems In­te­grated) in De­cem­ber 2013 and tem­po­rar­ily based at HAL Air­port, Ban­ga­lore. Named Ru­dra by the In­dian Army, this stands for the ‘em­bod­i­ment of a storm god and un­pre­dictable dan­ger’.

The HAL Ru­dra is equipped with a self-pro­tec­tion suite, ad­vanced elec­tro-op­ti­cal sen­sors, a 20mm chin-mounted au­to­can­non, 70mm rocket pods, anti-tank guided mis­siles and IR hom­ing air-to-air mis­siles.

De­vel­op­ment of an armed vari­ant of the ALH was sanc­tioned in De­cem­ber 1998, some six years af­ter first flight of the TM 333 2B2 - pow­ered ALH pro­to­type. The ALH-WSI made its maiden flight in Au­gust 2007, and is equipped with the Shakti (Ar­di­den 1H1) en­gine ( see Vayu Is­sue II/2013).

LCA scores ‘bulls­eye’

Fly­ing Te­jas LSP-7 (KH2017), Gp Capt Suneet Kr­ishna, test pi­lot with NFTC launched a R-73 in­frared heat seek­ing close com­bat air mis­sile against a towed tar­get over the Ara­bian Sea range off Goa on 8 De­cem­ber 2013, scor­ing a ‘bulls­eye’. This marked vir­tual cul­mi­na­tion of LCA weapon tri­als be­fore achieve­ment of the ini­tial oper­a­tion clear­ance (IOC). Two LCAs had been de­tached to INS Hansa at Dabolim, Goa for these tri­als, which in­volved crit­i­cal co-or­di­na­tion with naval ships, with the Lak­shya pi­lot­less tar­get air­craft, tow­ing the heat-emit­ting tar­get be­ing launched from the frigate INS Betwa.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial state­ment, “a team from the Na­tional Flight Test Cen­tre ( NFTC), ADA, HAL, ADE ( DRDO), CEMILAC, DGAQA and the In­dian Navy worked in per­fect uni­son to achieve this feat. PS Subra­manyam, Pro­gramme Di­rec­tor LCA, Di­rec­tor ADA and Air Cmde KA Muthana, Project Di­rec­tor, Flight Test su­per­vised op­er­a­tions from the Na­tional Flight Test Cen­tre (NFTC). K Tamil Mani, S. DG (Aero­nau­ti­cal Sys­tems) re­viewed the flight trial”.

Te­jas LCA gets IOC (II)

On 20 De­cem­ber 2013, at a well-pub­li­cised cer­e­mony in Ban­ga­lore, the Te­jas Light Com­bat Air­craft was given its Ini­tial Op­er­a­tional Clear­ance–II, which was marked by the De­fence Min­is­ter AK Antony hand­ing over ‘Re­lease to Ser­vice’ Cer­tifi­cate to then Air Chief NAK Browne. In his ad­dress, the De­fence Min­is­ter con­fessed that he had had his “share of anx­i­eties re­gard­ing the fu­ture of LCA when he had taken over as the De­fence Min­is­ter in 2006 but to­day, we are putting be­hind the mo­ments of self-doubt,

frus­tra­tions and set­backs which we as a na­tion have gone through in the last 30 years.”

In his ad­dress, Av­inash Chan­der, Sci­en­tific Ad­vi­sor to the De­fence Min­is­ter stated that “those who per­form will be asked to per­form more. The Team Te­jas will have have to now sprint the last lap to­wards FOC. The FOC team will equip Te­jas with in­flight re­fu­el­ing, Be­yond Vis­ual Range Mis­siles, new Close Com­bat Mis­siles, the GSh-23 gun, additional weapons and new drop tanks for su­per­sonic flight. The teams are also work­ing on a higher vari­ant the Te­jas Mk-2 with a higher thrust en­gine. Te­jas Mk.2 will have im­proved per­for­mance and up­graded avion­ics.”

It will be re­called that the Te­jas LCA had first re­ceived its ‘Cer­tifi­cate of Re­lease to Ser­vice’ on 10 Jan­uary 2011, the cer­e­mony presided by De­fence Min­is­ter AK Antony, Air Chief Mar­shal PV Naik and Dr VK Saraswat, SA to RM. That event is now re­called as IOC-I ( see Vayu Is­sue I/2011).

500 flights by Te­jas in 2013

On 27 De­cem­ber 2013, eve of the new year, a Te­jas LCA flew the 500th sor­tie by this type in a cal­en­dar year. The high­est num­ber of flight sor­ties at­tained ear­lier was less than 300. Con­grat­u­lat­ing the Te­jas team, Av­inash Chan­der, SA to RM lauded “the syn­ergy of teamed ef­forts by ADA, DRDO, CEMILAC, HAL and IAF”.

The Te­jas LCA has achieved sev­eral key mile­stones in 2013, with var­i­ous air­craft de­tached to seven lo­ca­tions through­out In­dia for var­i­ous flight, sys­tems and ar­ma­ment tri­als. These in­cluded tri­als for in-flight re­light (shut­ting off and then reignit­ing the sin­gle en­gine), high en­ergy brake test­ing, flight en­ve­lope ex­pan­sion, R-73E mis­sile fir­ing with radar guid­ance, air to ground weapon tests, emer­gency jet­ti­son­ing of en­tire stores, air­craft in wake tests, wet run­way tri­als and demon­stra­tion of its ‘swing role’ ca­pa­bil­ity dur­ing ex­er­cise ‘Iron Fist’ in Fe­bru­ary 2013 ( see Vayu Is­sue II/2013).

Gen­eral Bikram Singh ap­pointed new COSC

Gen­eral Bikram Singh, the COAS, took over as Chair­man, Chiefs of Staff Com­mit­tee (COSC) on 31 De­cem­ber 2013. Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, Gen­eral Bikram Singh’s main chal­lenge would be “the suc­cess­ful in­duc­tion and in­te­gra­tion of the large num­ber of weapon sys­tems that In­dia is ei­ther man­u­fac­tur­ing or procur­ing at present”.

Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha is Chief of the Air Staff

Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha took over com­mand of the In­dian Air Force as the 24th Chief of the Air Staff on 31 De­cem­ber 2013. Com­mis­sioned into the Fly­ing Branch in De­cem­ber 1974,( about the time the Vayu was launched) Air Chief Mar­shal Raha had grad­u­ated from the Na­tional De­fence Academy (NDA), Poona with the Pres­i­dent’s Gold Medal in 1973. An ex­pe­ri­enced Qual­i­fied Fly­ing In­struc­tor (QFI) hold­ing ‘A2’ in­struc­tional cat­e­gory, Air Chief Mar­shal Raha, has served as Di­rect­ing Staff at the Fly­ing In­struc­tors School (FIS), Tam­baram as well as at the Tac­tics and Com­bat De­vel­op­ment Es­tab­lish­ment (TACDE) and has nearly 3,400 hours of fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, mainly on fighter air­craft.

An alum­nus of the De­fence Ser­vices Staff Col­lege (DSSC) and the Na­tional De­fence Col­lege, New Delhi, he was an in­spec­tor in the Direc­torate of Air Staff In­spec­tion at Air Head­quar­ters and Staff Of­fi­cer to the Chief of the Air Staff. He was de­puted as the Mil­i­tary and Air At­tache in the Em­bassy of In­dia, Kiev, Ukraine from 1999 to 2001 and has held many op­er­a­tional as­sign­ments in­clud­ing com­mand of No.47 Squadron with MiG-29s, and was AOC Ad­vance Head­quar­ters Western Com­mand at Chandi­mandir. He later took over as Se­nior Air Staff Of­fi­cer (SASO) at Head­quar­ters

Western Air Com­mand and be­came Air Of­fi­cer Com­mandin­gin-Chief, Cen­tral Air Com­mand be­fore tak­ing over Western Air Com­mand, fol­low­ing which he be­came Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) on 1 July 2013.

In his first out­sta­tion visit af­ter tak­ing over as the new CAS, Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha vis­ited Leh in the Ladakh sec­tor, where he was briefed on the pre­vail­ing sit­u­a­tion in the re­gion by Lt Gen Rakesh Sharma, XIV Corps Com­man­der and in­ter­acted with Army per­son­nel to pro­vide an im­pe­tus to joint­ness with the Army. Air Cmde R Isser, the AOC at Leh, up­dated the CAS on the progress of sig­nif­i­cant on­go­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects in the Ladakh Sec­tor, where the aver­age tem­per­a­tures in win­ter are -20°C.

New IAF chief’s pri­or­ity

Air Chief Mar­shal Arup Raha has the in­duc­tion of new fighters, he­li­copters and mid-air re­fu­el­ing air­craft as his “pri­or­ity”. The new Chief will have to squarely face up to the re­al­ity of an age­ing and de­plet­ing com­bat air­craft in­ven­tory, with some dozen squadrons of MiG-21s and MiG-27s ear­marked for phase­out over the next three years, dur­ing his ten­ure. That the new Air Chief re­alises this fact, is ev­i­dent by his state­ment that “ac­cre­tion through new ac­qui­si­tions, re­place­ment of ob­so­lete equip­ment and up­grade of vin­tage weapon plat­forms will bol­ster our ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

Lt Gen Dal­bir Singh takes over as VCOAS

Lt Gen Dal­bir Singh took over as Vice Chief of Army Staff on 31 De­cem­ber 2013 af­ter hand­ing over reins of East­ern Army Com­mand to Lt Gen MMS Rai.

He was com­mis­sioned into the 4th Bat­tal­ion 5 Gorkha Ri­fles ( FF) in June 1974 and possesses tremen­dous op­er­a­tional ex­pe­ri­ence which in­cludes ten­ure as a Com­pany Com­man­der in ‘Op Pawan’ in Sri Lanka. He raised and com­manded 33 RR (58 GR) in Na­ga­land from Oc­to­ber 1994 to June 1997 as well as com­manded 53 In­fantry Bri­gade which was com­mit­ted on Counter In­sur­gency Op­er­a­tions in the Kash­mir Val­ley from July 2003 to March 2005. He was GOC 8th Moun­tain Di­vi­sion in J&K de­ployed on the LoC in High Al­ti­tude Area from Oc­to­ber 2007 to De­cem­ber 2008. The Gen­eral Of­fi­cer then took over III Corps look­ing af­ter the dual re­spon­si­bil­ity of CI Ops in the North East­ern States, as well as con­ven­tional op­er­a­tional tasks along the Indo-China bor­der from March 2011 to June 2012. He was GOC –in-C East­ern Com­mand till De­cem­ber 2013.

He has ear­lier held the key ap­point­ment of In­spec­tor Gen­eral SFF, Cab­i­net Sec­re­tariat from April 2009 to March 2011. Lt Gen Dal­bir Singh is Colonel of the 5th Gorkha Ri­fles (Fron­tier Force).

Lt Gen Arun Ku­mar Sahni is GOC-in-C South Western om­mand

Lt Gen Arun Ku­mar Sahni has taken over as GOC-in-C South Western Com­mand. An alum­nus of the Na­tional De­fence Academy and In­dian Mil­i­tary Academy, he was com­mis­sioned into the Reg­i­ment of Ar­tillery, be­ing awarded ‘Sword of Hon­our’ for and the best all round Gen­tle­man Cadet and the ‘Pres­i­dent’s Gold Medal’ for stand­ing first in his course.

The Gen­eral Of­fi­cer has had an ex­cel­lent pro­fes­sional ca­reer and has at­tended pres­ti­gious cour­ses in­clud­ing ‘Long Gun­nery Staff Course’, ‘De­fence Ser­vices Staff Col­lege’, ‘Higher Com­mand’ and ‘Na­tional De­fence Col­lege’. His ca­reer high­lights in­clude com­mand of a Self Pro­pelled Ar­tillery Reg­i­ment in the desert sec­tor, a Moun­tain Ar­tillery Bri­gade em­ployed in Counter In­sur­gency Op­er­a­tions in the North East, an In­de­pen­dent In­fantry Bri­gade

in Jammu & Kash­mir and the fa­mous 4th In­fantry Di­vi­sion (‘Red Ea­gles’) as part of a Strike Corps. He later com­manded III Corps in the North East, re­spon­si­ble for se­cu­rity along a large part of the north­ern borders with China, Myan­mar in the east and Counter Ter­ror­ist Op­er­a­tions in four of the NE States.

Lt Gen MMS Rai is GOC-in-C East­ern Com­mand

Lt Gen MMS Rai has as­sumed of­fice as GOC-in-C East­ern Com­mand. Com­mis­sioned into the Corps of En­gi­neers on 15 De­cem­ber 1976, he has ex­celled in aca­demics as well as in the sports arena, com­manded an Ar­moured En­gi­neer Reg­i­ment in the plains, a Moun­tain Bri­gade in the North East and a Rashtriya Ri­fles Force in Jammu and Kash­mir. Af­ter com­mand­ing a Corps in Ra­jasthan, he was Chief of Staff of South Western Com­mand. He is presently Colonel Com­man­dant of the Bom­bay En­gi­neer­ing Group.

Air Mar­shal R K Sharma be­comes Vice Chief of Air Staff

Air Mar­shal Ravi Kant Sharma took over as Vice Chief of the Air Staff (VCAS) on 1 De­cem­ber 2013. A Qual­i­fied Fly­ing In­struc­tor, he is an Ex­per­i­men­tal Test pi­lot who has flown around 3,300 hrs on sev­eral dif­fer­ent types of air­craft in­clud­ing the LCA. In his op­er­a­tional ca­reer, he com­manded No. 6 Mar­itime Strike Squadron (‘Drag­ons’) with Jaguars. He later com­manded the Test Pi­lots School and Pro­to­type Test Squadron at Air­craft Sys­tem Test­ing Es­tab­lish­ment (ASTE), Ban­ga­lore and has also func­tioned as the Project Di­rec­tor (Flight Test) of the on­go­ing LCA Project. He was As­sis­tant Chief of the In­te­grated De­fence Staff (Fi­nan­cial Plan­ning) at HQ IDS, As­sis­tant Chief of the Air Staff (Plans) at Air HQ, and Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (DCAS), be­fore tak­ing over as AOC-in-C East­ern Air Com­mand at Shil­long.

Air Mar­shal RK Jolly now AOC-in-C East­ern Air Com­mand

On 1 Jan­uary 2014, Air Mar­shal Ra­jesh Ku­mar Jolly took over as the new AOC- in- C, East­ern Air Com­mand at Shil­long. He was for­merly AOC-in-C, South­ern Air Com­mand and has the distinc­tion of head­ing two IAF op­er­a­tional com­mands con­sec­u­tively.

He was com­mis­sioned in the fighter stream of the IAF on 11 July 1975, has flown var­i­ous air­craft types, which in­clude the Hunter, HF-24 Marut and all MiG-21 vari­ants and has over 3800 hrs of fly­ing. A qual­i­fied fly­ing in­struc­tor, he has held many im­por­tant field and staff ap­point­ments. He com­manded a pre­mier for­ward fighter air­base and was the Air At­taché at Em­bassy of In­dia in Wash­ing­ton DC from 2005 to 2008.

HAL Dhruv ALH for the Mal­dives

An ex­am­ple of the HAL Dhruv ad­vanced light he­li­copter was handed over to the Mal­di­vian De­fence Forces at a func­tion or­gan­ised by the South­ern Naval Com­mand at INS Garuda, Cochin on 14 De­cem­ber 2013. The Mal­di­vian De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Nazim ac­cepted, what he called “pre­cious gift from In­dia” in pres­ence of Vice Ad­mi­ral Satish Soni, C-in-C South­ern Naval Com­mand and T. Su­varna Raju, Di­rec­tor (De­sign and De­vel­op­ment), HAL.

A HAL tech­ni­cal sup­port team will be po­si­tioned on Gan Is­land in the Mal­dives to pro­vide main­te­nance and lo­gis­tic sup­port. HAL has so far ex­ported the Dhruv ALH to Ecuador, Mau­ri­tius and Nepal.

INS Arihant on sea tri­als in early-2014

It is learnt that INS Arihant, the first indige­nous nu­clear sub­ma­rine, will head to sea for ex­ten­sive user tri­als in Fe­bru­ary-March 2014. Dur­ing a Navy Day press con­fer­ence, Chief of Naval Staff Adm DK Joshi stated that the Arihant’s re­ac­tor, which had gone ‘crit­i­cal’ last Au­gust, is grad­u­ally be­ing mon­i­tored to pro­duce full power. Com­pre­hen­sive and metic­u­lous check­ing is re­quired as the re­ac­tor power is slowly ramped up (5-10% at a time), and fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of this cru­cial ac­tiv­ity, the sub­ma­rine will be ready for user tri­als. The tri­als are ex­pected to last a year, fol­low­ing which the Navy will be in a po­si­tion to de­cide whether to op­er­a­tionalise the sub­ma­rine or make fur­ther changes. The tri­als could in­clude test fir­ings of K-15 SLBMs.

Fast Pa­trol Ves­sels for ICG

Cochin Ship­yard Limited (CSL) launched the fifth and sixth Fast Pa­trol Ves­sels (FPVs) be­ing built for the In­dian Coast Guard (ICG) on 29 Novem­ber 2013 where present were se­nior of­fi­cials of the Coast Guard and ship­yard. The ves­sels were named Achook and Agrim at the cer­e­mony.

20 FPVs have been con­tracted by CSL for the ICG, the con­tract signed in 2010 with the de­liv­ery of the last ves­sel sched­uled for 2017. These ves­sels have a de­sign speed of 33 knots, their pri­mary role be­ing fish­eries pro­tec­tion and mon­i­tor­ing, pa­trol within the exclusive eco­nomic zone (EEZ) and coastal pa­trol, anti smug­gling, search and res­cue op­er­a­tions and anti piracy op­er­a­tions.

ICGS Ra­jd­hwaj and Ab­heek com­mis­sioned

In­dian Coast Guard Ship Ra­jd­hwaj an In­shore Pa­trol Ves­sel (IPV), 8th in the se­ries of eight IPVs, was com­mis­sioned on 11 De­cem­ber 2013 at Chen­nai by GK Vasan, Min­is­ter of Ship­ping in the pres­ence of Vice Ad­mi­ral Anurag G Thap­liyal, DG Coast Guard and other dig­ni­taries. The IPV is equipped with ad­vanced and so­phis­ti­cated nav­i­ga­tional and com­mu­ni­ca­tion sen­sors and equip­ment, is pro­pelled to a max­i­mum speed of 31.5 knots by three MTU 4000 se­ries diesel en­gines of 2720 KW ca­pac­ity each, cou­pled with three 71S2 Rolls Royce Kamewa Jets.

Shortly there­after, the In­dian Coast Guard Ship Ab­heek, sec­ond in the se­ries of twenty fast pa­trol ves­sels (FPVs), was com­mis­sioned on 31 De­cem­ber 2013 at Kochi by De­fence Min­is­ter AK Antony, in the pres­ence of Vice Ad­mi­ral Anurag G Thap­liyal, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Coast Guard.

‘Stan­dard’ pre­sented to 89 Ar­moured Reg­i­ment

The In­dian Army’s 89 Ar­moured Reg­i­ment was pre­sented its ‘ Stan­dard’ by the COAS Gen­eral Bikram Singh at a cer­e­mo­nial mounted pa­rade at Namkum, Ranchi on 30 Novem­ber 2013. This hon­our has been be­stowed upon 89 Ar­moured Reg­i­ment “in due recog­ni­tion of the ded­i­cated and mer­i­to­ri­ous ser­vice ren­dered by the Reg­i­ment since its rais­ing on 1 Fe­bru­ary 1980”.

The cer­e­mony in­volved both the march­past and mounted col­umns where a pha­lanx of 25 T-72s moved on the pa­rade ground even as mil­i­tary bands played mar­tial mu­sic. The pa­rade was com­manded by Colonel Ja­gat Singh, Com­man­dant 89 Ar­moured Reg­i­ment.

The In­dian Fu­ture Main Bat­tle Tank (FMBT)

In an in­ter­view ( see this Is­sue), Gen­eral Bikram Singh the COAS has stated that the en­vis­aged FMBT for the In­dian Army will be “com­pa­ra­ble to any other ad­vanced ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cle (AFV) in the world and ca­pa­ble of op­er­at­ing in high in­ten­sity, high tech­nol­ogy, net­work en­abled digi­tised bat­tle­field of the 21st century.” The ‘Qual­i­ta­tive Re­quire­ments’ are be­ing presently de­lib­er­ated upon and “we hope to achieve a ma­jor tech­no­log­i­cal break­through with ref­er­ence to the FMBT in the next two to three 5-year plan pe­ri­ods”.

DAC ‘clears’ Barak mis­sile deal

The De­fence Ac­qui­si­tions Coun­cil (DAC), chaired by De­fence Min­is­ter A K Antony, has fi­nally cleared the pro­cure­ment of 262 Barak-I air de­fence mis­siles from Is­rael for Rs. 880 crore. The deal was put on hold pend­ing ‘in­ves­ti­ga­tions’ and has now been given the go-ahead. The Barak-I mis­sile sys­tem is fit­ted on 14 front­line war­ships, in­clud­ing the air­craft car­rier INS Vi­raat.

Pri­vate Sec­tor in FICV project

The pri­vate sec­tor is an­tic­i­pat­ing in­volve­ment in the In­dian Army’s $10-bil­lion fu­tur­is­tic in­fantry com­bat ve­hi­cle (FICV) project, which had been in sus­pense since last 18 months. Amongst the com­pa­nies are Tata, Mahin­dra, L&T and Ashok Ley­land, all of whom have suit­able cre­den­tials for the same and could pos­si­bly be joined by a con­sor­tium led by Bharat Forge and Punj Loyd. FICV is a project for the pro­duc­tion of an ar­moured off-road ve­hi­cle with high ma­neou­ver­abil­ity and strike power, but in mid-2012, the MoD in­stead de­cided to go for an up­graded ver­sion of the BMP-2 in­fantry fight­ing ve­hi­cle. How­ever, there is now strong sup­port for an indige­nous FICV, with the In­dian pri­vate sec­tor hav­ing al­ready in­vested sub­stan­tially in the project.

GSLV-D5 with indige­nous cryo­genic en­gine

On 5 Jan­uary 2014, the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion marked a ma­jor suc­cess with the launch of its GSLV-D5, pow­ered by an indige­nous cryo­genic en­gine which in­jected a telecommunication satel­lite, the GSAT- 14 into or­bit. With pre­ci­sion, the satel­lite reached its tar­geted peri­gree (near­est point from Earth) of 179 km and 36,000 km apogee (far­thest point from Earth). As the GSLV-D5 mis­sion di­rec­tor later ob­served, “be­hind the 1,000 won­der­ful sec­onds of GSLV-D5’s flight were more than a thou­sand days of ded­i­ca­tion of our sci­en­tists.”

In­dia’s quest to ac­quire cryo­genic tech­nol­ogy had faced not just tech­no­log­i­cal chal­lenges but was also mired in geopo­lit­i­cal sanc­tions. In fact, the USA had at one point tried to ‘scut­tle’ In­dia’s Geosyn­chronous Satel­lite Launch Ve­hi­cle project. A decade be­fore that, in De­cem­ber 1982, In­dia had formed a cryo­genic study team to fo­cus on the de­vel­op­ment of an en­gine which could gen­er­ate a thrust of 10 tonnes.

Ex­er­cise ‘Shah­baaz Ajay’

Shah­baaz Ajay, mounted by the 36th Re­or­gan­ised Army Plains Di­vi­sion (RAPID) was held in the western deserts of Ra­jasthan dur­ing De­cem­ber 2013. 36 RAPID, part of the Bhopal-based XXI Strike Corps, “val­i­dated new con­cepts and re­fined ex­ist­ing bat­tle pro­ce­dures as preva­lent in the 21st century bat­tle­field mi­lieu”. 15,000 troops of the Di­vi­sion par­tic­i­pated in the ex­er­cise which in­cluded more than 100 ar­moured fight­ing ve­hi­cles among the other ad­vanced ar­tillery and air de­fence equip­ment. “A high de­gree of in­te­gra­tion was achieved with the In­dian Air Force while un­der­tak­ing spe­cialised op­er­a­tions which in­cluded an air­borne as­sault and spe­cial he­li­copter borne op­er­a­tions.”

Army Chief awarded ‘Legion of Merit’ in USA

Gen­eral Bikram Singh, Chief of Army Staff, has re­ceived the Legion of Merit, a US mil­i­tary award that is given for “ex­cep­tion­ally mer­i­to­ri­ous con­duct in the per­for­mance of out­stand­ing ser­vices and achieve­ments.” The award was given by US Army Chief Gen­eral Ray­mond Odierno dur­ing the for­mer’s visit to the USA in De­cem­ber 2013, to dis­cuss In­dia-USA mil­i­tary ties. A ‘full hon­our’ cer­e­mony ac­com­pa­nied the award, with the 3rd In­fantry Reg­i­ment of the US Army on pa­rade in cer­e­mo­nial at­tire. The Legion of Merit has ear­lier been be­stowed on some In­dian Ser­vice Chiefs, in­clud­ing Field Mar­shal KM Cari­appa, Gen­eral SM Sri­nagesh and Ad­mi­ral JL Cursetji.

IAF con­sid­er­ing pri­vate firms for main­te­nance work

The In­dian Air Force are con­sid­er­ing in­volve­ment of In­dian pri­vate sec­tor firms for main­te­nance of var­i­ous Rus­sian-ori­gin air­craft, in­clud­ing An- 32 medium tac­ti­cal trans­port air­craft, amongst these be­ing the Tata Group, Max Aero­space and Taneja Avi­a­tion.

The IAF, which is faced with a num­ber of prob­lems re­lat­ing to for­eign OEMs, ap­pears to have de­cided to en­er­gise more main­te­nance ac­tiv­i­ties in-coun­try and bol­ster do­mes­tic in­dus­try at the same time. RFIs for the main­te­nance agree­ments were cir­cu­lated in late-2013 with seven com­pa­nies re­port­edly re­spond­ing to the same. Bids are now to be in­vited, with the IAF hope­ful of sign­ing a con­tract by March 2014. Ini­tially, the IAF will as­sist the pri­vate com­pa­nies in build­ing their ex­per­tise, af­ter which the com­pa­nies will take over all the main­te­nance work.

US re­port: “In­dia in­creas­ing nu­clear ar­se­nal”

The In­sti­tute for Sci­ence and In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity (ISIS), a US-based think tank, has re­ported that the Rare Ma­te­ri­als Plant (RMP) Mysore could be pro­duc­ing highly-en­riched ura­nium for mil­i­tary pur­poses, thus greatly bol­ster­ing In­dia’s abil­ity to in­crease the size of its nu­clear weapons stock­pile or pro­duce more pow­er­ful nu­clear weapons. The re­port was based on the pace and scale of con­struc­tion ac­tiv­i­ties noted at the Mysore plant, be­lieved to house a gas cen­trifuge en­rich­ment fa­cil­ity. Nonethe­less, in­tel­li­gence sources in the US, both cur­rent and for­mer, con­tinue to view Pak­istan as “a greater threat to nu­clear non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, not­ing that nei­ther Iran nor North Korea would be nu­clear states to­day with­out Pak­istani as­sis­tance”.

Com­bined ex­er­cises be­tween In­dian and Ja­panese Coast Guard

Ahigh level del­e­ga­tion led by Ad­mi­ral Yuji Sato, Com­man­dant of the Ja­pan Coast Guard (JCG), made an of­fi­cial visit to In­dia from 12-15 Jan­uary 2014 for high level dis­cus­sions in­clud­ing those on com­bined ex­er­cises with the In­dian Coast Guard (ICG). The visit was in pur­suance of the Me­moran­dum of Co­op­er­a­tion (MoC), signed be­tween the two Coast Guards on 24 Novem­ber 2006, which stip­u­lates that heads of the two or­gan­i­sa­tions meet ev­ery year to dis­cuss mar­itime is­sues of mu­tual con­cern and for­mu­late a co­op­er­a­tive ap­proach to ad­dress these. The Me­moran­dum of Co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two Coast Guards en­com­passes is­sues of mar­itime search and res­cue, com­bat­ing ma­rine pol­lu­tion, tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance for re­spond­ing to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters and ex­change of in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing crimes at sea, in­clud­ing smug­gling and il­licit traf­fick­ing. The In­dian del­e­ga­tion in this in­ter­ac­tion was headed by Vice Ad­mi­ral Anurag G Thap­liyal, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral In­dian Coast Guard.

Mean­while, ‘Sa­hayog- Kai­jin 2014’, 13th edi­tion of the Indo-Ja­pan Coast Guard joint ex­er­cise was held off the Kochi coast on 14 Jan­uary 2014, as part of the con­tin­u­ing bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. JCG (Ja­pan Coast Guard Ship) Mizuho and its in­te­gral he­li­copter, In­dian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sam­rat, plus Chetak he­li­copter, Dornier 228 air­craft and ICGS C-404 took part in the ex­er­cise held about 20 nau­ti­cal miles off Kochi. The ex­er­cises in­cluded cross deck land­ings, anti-piracy drills, search and res­cue demon­stra­tion and a fire fight­ing demon­stra­tion.

Ad­mi­ral Yuji Sato, Com­man­dant of Ja­pan Coast Guard and Vice Ad­mi­ral Anurag G Thap­liyal, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of In­dian Coast Guard who were on­board In­dian Coast Guard ves­sel Sam­rat wit­nessed the ex­er­cise along with In­spec­tor Gen­eral SPS Basra, Com­man­der Coast Guard Re­gion West and se­nior of­fi­cials of Ja­pan Coast Guard del­e­ga­tion.

Air In­dia to join Star Al­liance

Air In­dia’s long-planned en­try into Star Al­liance, the world’s largest global air­line al­liance, could fi­nally take place in 2014. Star Al­liance is a global union of 28 in­ter­na­tional car­ri­ers serv­ing nearly 200 coun­tries and, for Air In­dia, this would mean an in­crease in pas­sen­ger traf­fic as a re­sult of in­creased co­op­er­a­tion with air­lines across the world, while for Star Al­liance it would be the end of a long process aimed at se­cur­ing a foothold in the In­dian air travel mar­ket, one that is com­par­a­tively small at present but has im­mense po­ten­tial for fu­ture growth.

Air In­dia was orig­i­nally in­tended to be­come a mem­ber of Star Al­liance in 2007, but ow­ing to the com­pany’s con­tin­ued op­er­a­tional trou­bles, the in­te­gra­tion was halted in 2011 on grounds that the car­rier “had failed to meet the min­i­mum join­ing re­quire­ments agreed upon in 2007”. Fol­low­ing this, Star Al­liance un­suc­cess­fully at­tempted to bring in Jet Air­ways un­til that air­line en­tered into a strate­gic part­ner­ship with Eti­had, which is a mem­ber of the com­pet­ing OneWorld al­liance. Air In­dia’s con­certed ef­forts at re­turn­ing to prof­itabil­ity have ap­par­ently been noted, re­sult­ing in the re­newed agree­ment to join Star Al­liance. An AI state­ment said that the al­liance would grant pas­sen­gers “seam­less trans­fers across the world, more fre­quent flier mileage points, code-shar­ing and a wider choice of flights.”

In­dia to strengthen links with Afghan mil­i­tary

The gov­ern­ments of In­dia and Afghanistan will strengthen de­fence and se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion so as to in­crease ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the Afghan mil­i­tary. In De­cem­ber 2013, Afghan Pres­i­dent, Hamid Karzai said “we hope to have an army to de­fend Afghanistan through its own re­sources and cit­i­zens. To that ob­jec­tive, we are be­ing helped by In­dia.”

In­dia has al­ready been train­ing Afghan Army per­son­nel, with a batch of cadets re­cently grad­u­at­ing from IMA, Dehra Dun in De­cem­ber 2013, cap­ping off a to­tal of 574 trained till now. That num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease to swell to over a thou­sand by the end of 2014. More re­cently, the In­dian govern­ment has mooted plans to train Afghan troops in their own coun­try and es­tab­lish train­ing fa­cil­i­ties staffed by In­dian in­struc­tors within Afghanistan.

In a sig­nif­i­cant move, the GOI will sup­ply three HAL Dhruv he­li­copters to Afghanistan, with de­liv­er­ies to take place be­tween March and May 2014. Afghanistan had ear­lier sub­mit­ted a “wish list” of de­fence equip­ment to In­dia and the he­li­copters are an­tic­i­pated to be the first of many trans­fers of equip­ment to the Afghan mil­i­tary. “Both sides hope that closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the na­tions will yield strate­gic div­i­dends once US-led ISAF forces with­draw from Afghanistan in 2014”.

Amongst Afghanistan’s list of re­quire­ments are ar­tillery guns and medium bat­tle tanks, as also Mi-17 he­li­copters. The dif­fi­cul­ties en­vis­aged in ful­fill­ing the re­quire­ments is that In­dia has “no ex­cess mil­i­tary equip­ment” as also the “com­plex li­cens­ing and end use qual­i­fi­ca­tions that guide In­dia’s vir­tual im­port de­pen­dant de­fence sup­plies.”

Mean­while, on a visit to In­dian Mil­i­tary Academy on 14 De­cem­ber 2013, for­mer Afghan Army Gen­eral and now Provin­cial Gover­nor from Ghazni, Lt Gen Musa Khan vis­ited Dehra Dun to wit­ness com­mis­sion­ing of his son Ab­dul from the IMA. Gen­eral Musa Khan was amongst the Afghan cadets who were trained at the IMA in Dehra Dun dur­ing the 1970-1980s.

Agni-3 test launched

Strate­gic Forces Com­mand (SFC) test-launched the long range Agni 3 mis­sile, hav­ing a range of over 3000 kms, from Wheel­ers Is­land, off the Odisha coast on 23 De­cem­ber 2013. The tra­jec­tory of the trial was tracked by a bat­tery of radars, teleme­try ob­ser­va­tion sta­tions, elec­troop­tic in­stru­ments and naval ships from its launch till the mis­sile hit the tar­get area with “pin point ac­cu­racy”.

The Agni 3 intermediate range bal­lis­tic mis­sile is equipped with ad­vanced high ac­cu­racy nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems and guided by an in­no­va­tive guid­ance scheme. Quot­ing an SFC spokesman, “such suc­cess­ful train­ing launches clearly in­di­cate our op­er­a­tional readi­ness to meet any even­tu­al­ity as also es­tab­lishes the re­li­a­bil­ity of this de­ter­rent com­po­nent of In­dia’s strate­gic ar­se­nal”.

VVIP he­li­copter im­broglio

On New Year’s day, the MoD ter­mi­nated the ex­ist­ing con­tract with Agus­taWest­land to sup­ply 12 VVIP he­li­copters to the In­dian Air Force. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, De­fence Min­is­ter AK Antony met Prime Min­is­ter Dr Man­mo­han Singh be­fore the of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment was made. How­ever, “no de­ci­sion has been taken on black­list­ing the firm and a call will be taken af­ter the CBI fin­ishes its probe.”

SpiceJet deal with Tig­erair

Two of Asia’s leading low-cost air­lines, In­dia’s SpiceJet and Sin­ga­pore’s Tig­erair, have signed a three- year in­ter- line agree­ment to pro­vide greater con­nec­tiv­ity on flights op­er­ated by both the car­ri­ers. Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment, cus­tomers trav­el­ling on SpiceJet’s do­mes­tic net­work from 14 In­dian cities will have seam­less con­nec­tion through on to Tig­erair’s Sin­ga­pore-bound flights start­ing from 6 Jan­uary 2014. The 14 cities are Ahmed­abad, Bhopal, Chen­nai, Kolkata, Coim­bat­ore, Delhi, Goa, In­dore, Man­ga­lore, Madu­rai, Pune, Ben­galuru, Tiru­pati and Visakha­p­at­nam.

GoAir im­proves mar­ket share

Mum­bai-based low cost car­rier, GoAir has im­proved its mar­ket share, go­ing up to 8.8% in the sec­ond half of 2013 while In­diGo lost mar­ket share for the first time in the same pe­riod. Over­all pas­sen­ger traf­fic grew at a slower pace in Novem­ber with an in­crease of only 2.3 per cent to 51.4 lakh pas­sen­gers as against 50.2 lakh pas­sen­gers in the same month last year. Na­tional car­rier Air In­dia re­gained the sec­ond spot with a 19.3 per cent share of the mar­ket while SpiceJet fell to the third spot with 19 per cent. Jet Air­ways and JetLite com­bined had a mar­ket share of 24.1 per cent, but the two air­lines file data separately. Stand-alone Jet Air­ways had 18.5 per cent while JetLite had 5.6 per cent mar­ket share.

Tata-SIA se­lect Air­bus A320s

Sin­ga­pore Air­lines (SIA) have selected the Air­bus A320 for launch of its In­dian ven­ture with the Tata Group. Twenty A320s will be sourced from leas­ing com­pa­nies rather than buy­ing these di­rectly from Air­bus. “It’s go­ing to be an Air­bus A320 fleet. The air­craft will be on lease,” spokesman San­jay Singh said in a state­ment. The Tata-SIA air­line will start op­er­a­tions from July 2014, af­ter reg­u­la­tory ap­proval in In­dia. The Tata Group will hold a 51 per­cent stake and Sin­ga­pore Air­lines Ltd 49 per­cent in the new ven­ture, which will have an ini­tial com­bined in­vest­ment of $100 mil­lion from the two stake­hold­ers. This marks the third for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment in the In­dian civil air­line sec­tor since the govern­ment de­clared last year that in­ter­na­tional air­lines could buy as much as 49 per­cent of lo­cal car­ri­ers.

Cre­ation of an SPV for IRTA

The Govern­ment of In­dia has di­rected the cre­ation of a Spe­cial Pur­pose Ve­hi­cle (SPV) charged with the re­spon­si­bil­ity of de­sign­ing, de­vel­op­ing and pro­duc­ing the In­dian Re­gional Trans­port Air­craft (IRTA). Gen­e­sis of the SPV is linked to the NMCC

( Na­tional Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pet­i­tive­ness Coun­cil) meet­ing headed by V Kr­ish­na­murthy held on 30 April 2013 on the is­sue of Na­tional Civil Air­craft De­vel­op­ment. Sub­se­quently, a meet­ing of the High Level Com­mit­tee on Man­u­fac­tur­ing (HLCM), was chaired by the Prime Min­is­ter on 9 July 2013 fol­low­ing which var­i­ous key de­ci­sions were taken.

Es­sen­tially, the ded­i­cated SPV will be cre­ated with NAL and HAL in part­ner­ship for de­sign & de­vel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion of the civil air­liner, re­spec­tively, also seek­ing pos­si­ble col­lab­o­ra­tion with both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor, be­gin­ning with iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of suit­able power plants, de­tailed mar­ket anal­y­sis with se­lec­tion there­after of the air­craft con­fig­u­ra­tion con­cern­ing its size, per­for­mance and fu­ture vari­ants.

ME­HAIR to ex­pand

ME­HAIR (Mar­itime En­ergy Heli Air Ser­vice Pvt Ltd), presently the lone sea­plane op­er­a­tor in In­dia, are to shortly launch ser­vices in Mum­bai/Ma­ha­rash­tra. They are cur­rently op­er­at­ing from Port Blair in the An­damans to nearby is­lands, par­tic­u­larly Have­lock over the past three and a half years. The com­pany was launched by three en­trepreneurs and part­ners Sid­dharth Verma, SS Mann and CL Lak­sh­manan, who were re­cently awarded as the ‘In­no­va­tive Start-up of the Year’.

Unit Ci­ta­tions on Army Day 2014

The Chief of Army Staff, Gen­eral Bikram Singh, on oc­ca­sion of the Army Day 2014, awarded Unit Ci­ta­tions to a to­tal of 16 units dur­ing the pa­rade cer­e­mony held at the Delhi Can­ton­ment pa­rade ground. These units were the 262 Field Reg­i­ment, 39 (In­de­pen­dent) Re­con­nais­sance & Ob­ser­va­tion Flight, 51st En­gi­neer Reg­i­ment, 15th Bat­tal­ion Maratha Light In­fantry, 21st Bat­tal­ion Ra­jputana Ri­fles, 5th Bat­tal­ion Sikh Reg­i­ment, 18th Bat­tal­ion Sikh Reg­i­ment, 6th Bat­tal­ion Sikh Light In­fantry, 12th Bat­tal­ion Garhwal Ri­fles, 12th Bat­tal­ion Ku­maon Reg­i­ment, Garhwal Scouts, 21st Bat­tal­ion (Guards) Rashtriya Ri­fles, 29th Bat­tal­ion (Gre­nadiers) Rashtriya Ri­fles, 55th Bat­tal­ion (Gre­nadiers) Rashtriya Ri­fles, Army Hospi­tal (Re­search & Re­fer­ral) and 5th Bat­tal­ion As­sam Ri­fles.

Army Day is cel­e­brated ev­ery year on 15 Jan­uary to com­mem­o­rate the ap­point­ment of Lt Gen (later Field Mar­shal) K M Cari­appa as the first In­dian Com­man­der-in-Chief of the In­dian Army, suc­ceed­ing Sir Fran­cis Butcher, the last Bri­tish Com­man­der in 1949.

MiG-21FLs re­tired from IAF ser­vice

Vayu vis­ited Air Force sta­tion Kalaikunda on oc­ca­sion of phase out of the MiG-21FL (Type 77) on 11 De­cem­ber 2013. The MiG-21FL was in­ducted into the IAF in 1966, nearly fifty years ago and was the first su­per­sonic fighter to be built in In­dia, ush­er­ing in a new era of avi­a­tion tech­nol­ogy and man­u­fac­tur­ing. The Type-77 was in op­er­a­tional ser­vice when hos­til­i­ties broke out in late 1971, and the air­craft has distin­guished it­self in both the air-to-air and air-to-ground roles. Over time, as newer com­bat plat­forms were in­ducted, the Type-77 formed the back­bone of IAF com­bat fly­ing train­ing at the MiG Op­er­a­tional Fly­ing Train­ing Unit (MOFTU) at Tezpur and Op­er­a­tional Con­ver­sion Unit (OCU) based at Chabua, and later Kalaikunda. [ see book ‘First to the Last’ pub­lished by the So­ci­ety for Aero­space stud­ies, re­leased in April 2013]

The phase­out cer­e­mony in­volved a pa­rade by the per­son­nel of AFS Kalaikunda, as well as fly­pasts of MiG-21FLs from OCU and MiG-27MLs from No. 18 Squadron ‘Fly­ing Bul­lets,’ the other squadron based at Kalaikunda. The last air­craft to land had tail num­ber C1149 and was pi­loted by Wg Cdr M Ku­maria, a fly­ing in­struc­tor at OCU. Flight Lieu­tenant Na­gara­jan, the youngest OCU grad­u­ate, then handed over the Form-700 of one of the re­tir­ing MiG-21FLs to the Air Chief.

Artist’s de­pic­tion of tur­bo­prop and tur­bo­fan air­lin­ers be­ing con­sid­ered for de­vel­op­ment by the SPV

DG Coast Guard Vice Ad­mi­ral Anurag G Thap­liyal with Ad­mi­ral Yuji Sato, Com­man­dant of the Ja­pan Coast Guard

In­dian Cost Guard FPV and Chetak he­li­copter

(photo: An­gad Singh)

Antonov An-32 of the IAF

BMP-2 of the 33rd Ar­moured Di­vi­sion at Army Day Pa­rade

Present day main bat­tle tank of the In­dian Army is the Rus­sian-ori­gin T-90, an ex­am­ple seen here at the Army Day pa­rade on 15 Jan­uary 2014

Su­varna Raju, Di­rec­tor (D&D) with the Mal­di­vian De­fence and Na­tional Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Mo­hamed Nazim at ALH hand­ing over cer­e­mony at Kochi

(photo: An­gad Singh)

MiG-27ML at Kalaikunda

The three Chiefs as on 31 De­cem­ber 2013 morn­ing

Te­jas LCA (KH 2015) land­ing back at HAL air­port Ban­ga­lore af­ter demon­stra­tion

IAF Su­per Her­cules

Dra­matic photo of R-73 mis­sile just af­ter launch from Te­jas LSP-7

INS Vikra­ma­ditya and INS Vi­raat in the Ara­bian Sea

FH-77 how­itzer in the high Hi­malayas

(photo: An­gad Singh)

MiG-21 FL (C1149) touches down for the ‘last time’

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