Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yea-End Review – 2009 Indian Ministry of Defence

The country’s march towards indigenization and strengthening of the Armed Forces through modernization and state-of-the-art weapons acquisitions were the highlights of the Ministry of Defence during the year 2009. The Navy took a giant leap with the launching of the first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’ in July. The Indian Navy is well on its way to acquire a lethal punch in the years ahead when it gets the first indigenous aircraft carrier. The keel for the carrier was laid in Kochi in February. The Navy also received the first batch of three MiG-29K fighter jets. The Air Force got a big boost when the first of the three AWACS, the IAF’s eye in the sky, joined its fleet in May. The Army’s focus during the year was on indigenization with the induction of locally built MBT Arjun and T-90 Bhishma tanks.

To facilitate the indigenous defence industry and fast track acquisitions by transfer of technology from foreign vendors, the Ministry of Defence issued an updated Defence Procurement Procedure-2009 in October. The year also fulfilled a longstanding aspiration of the Armed Forces personnel when the President inaugurated the Armed Forces Tribunal in August. The other significant events during the year include Rescue and Relief during cyclone Aila that hit West Bengal and humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Sri Lanka and the participation by a 400-member tri-service contingent in the French National Day Parade for the first time.


India’s first indigenously built nuclear propelled strategic submarine named ‘Arihant’, meaning ‘Destroyer of the Enemies’, was launched on July 26 at the Ship Building Center, Visakhapatnam. India thus joined a select group of nations which have the technological capability to build and operate nuclear propelled submarines. Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, while congratulating the Director General of the ATV (Advanced Technology Vehicle) Programme, Vice Admiral (Retd) DSP Verma and all personnel associated with it for achieving this historic milestone in the country’s defence preparedness, noted that they overcame several hurdles and barriers to enable the country to acquire self-reliance in the most advanced areas of defence technology. The Prime Minister made a special mention of the cooperation extended by Russia.The 6,000 ton ‘Arihant’ is undergoing trials for two years before its commissioning.


In February the keel was laid in Kochi for the first indigenous aircraft carrier, making India the fourth nation to join a select club of designers and builders of over 40,000 tonne Aircraft Carriers. The ship that will carry 30 aircraft including Mig-29Klub, LCA Tejas and Kamov Ka-31 helicopters and include a complement of 1,600 crew, is expected to add punch to the Navy’s capability when it joins the fleet in 2014. The carrier is the largest vessel for which construction has been undertaken at any Indian shipyard.


INS Airavat, the third Landing Ship Tank (Large) of the Shardul class was commissioned in May. As a platform designed for amphibious operations the ship can carry 10 Main Battle Tanks, 11 Combat Trucks and 500 Troops and has a considerable range and endurance at sea. With its weapon package, control systems and habitability conditions significantly enhanced from the earlier Magar class, Airavat delivers considerable punch and amphibious capabilities to the fighting prowess of the Indian Navy.Four Fast Attack Craft namely INS Cora Divh, Cheriyam, Carnicobar and Chetlat were also commissioned over the year.


The first batch of three MiG-29K aircraft were received on December 04, 2009 at INS Hansa Goa. A total of 16 aircraft have been contracted from MiG RAC. These aircraft will be flown intensively after their acceptance.


A contract was signed in January with Boeing Industries for eight P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft worth $2.137 Billion. Delivery of aircraft is scheduled between 2013-15.


The Naval Academy at Ezhimala, Kerala was commissioned on January 08, 2009. This Academy named INS Zamorin will be the largest officer-training Naval Academy in Asia. The Academy, spread over an area of 2452 acres along the North Malabar coastline, would be conducting a four year 'B Tech' programme in 'Electronics and Communications' and 'Mechanical Engineering' for naval cadets.


Two lady officers were inducted as the first women Observers of the Indian Navy. Sub Lieutenant Seema Rani Sharma and Sub Lieutenant Ambica Hooda were awarded ‘Wings’ on November 20, 2009.


In June a meeting chaired by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony decided to set up a high level committee under the Chairmanship of the Cabinet Secretary to review the measures taken for coastal security at regular intervals. The other members of the committee will include the Chief of Naval Staff, Secretaries of all concerned Ministries such as Defence, Home, Petroleum and Chief Secretaries of Coastal States.

One significant achievement of the year has been the integration of all maritime stakeholders, including the several State and Central agencies into the coastal security matrix. Intelligence and information sharing has undergone a transformational change. The Indian Navy has established four Joint Operation Centres in all Naval Commands. All coastal security operations are now coordinated from the Joint Operations Centre, which are manned round the clock by Naval and Coast Guard teams. In addition, the state Marine Police and other agencies such as Customs, Intelligence Bureau, Ports etc are also networked with these centers. Besides the four Joint Operation Centers at Mumbai, Visakhapatnam, Kochi and Port Blair, each coastal district also has its own Operation Center for coordinating activity in their districts. The Coast Guard set up a station at Gandhinagar, Gujarat in December to strengthen maritime and coastal security in the northwestern region.

In a focused drive to enlist the support of fishermen for their role, awareness campaigns targeting coastal and fishing communities were conducted.

Recognizing that the Marine Police and CISF are not fully trained in maritime tasks, the Indian Navy has provided training assistance to all coastal states and CISF personnel. 263 CISF personnel have already undergone training at INS Chilka, the premier training establishment for sailors in the Indian Navy. Local Naval and Coast Guard elements in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Maharashtra have also taken up similar training for the Marine Police. Nearly 1600 marine police personnel have been trained. This effort continues during joint patrols, in which the Navy and Coast Guard participate along with the Marine Police, CISF and Customs.


The Indian Navy maintained one ship on anti-piracy patrol duties in the Gulf of Aden throughout the year. During the year the Indian Naval warships escorted over 700 merchant vessels through the treacherous Gulf of Aden. About 14 piracy attempts were successfully thwarted by the Indian Navy.

From early November an additional ship has been deployed to patrol the maritime areas of Seychelles and Mauritius to counter the increasing cases of piracy in these areas.


The first of the three Indian Air Force AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) platform arrived in India from Israel in May. Three Mig-29 and Jaguar aircraft escorted the giant IL-76 configured in its new avatar, each that took off from an advanced fighter airbase of South Western Air Command (SWAC). Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, SWAC, Air Marshal KD Singh, Air Defence Commander Air Vice Marshal P Singh and the AOC Jamnagar, Air Commodore C Hari Kumar and air warriors of the airbase welcomed the crew of the AWACS aircraft that included the Commanding Officer of the first AWACS squadron, Group Captain B Saju. Their maiden touchdown on Indian soil also marked the first landing of the AWACS in an IAF airbase.


On September 18, 2009 an IAF AN-32 aircraft landed at Nyoma Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in eastern Ladakh. Though helicopters have been landing at this ALG, this was for the first time that a fixed-wing aircraft has landed at the compacted airstrip of Nyoma, located 23 kms from the Line of Actual Control at an altitude of 13,300 feet. It marked the culmination of joint effort by the IAF and Indian Army to enable the IAF to operate in the inhospitable terrain of Leh-Ladakh region in support of the Army.

The landing came 15 months after an AN-32 landed at Daulat-Beg-Oldie (DBO), the highest airfield in the world situated at an altitude of 16,200 feet.


The Su-30 aircraft was formally inducted at Air Force Station Tezpur on 15 June 15, following the upgrade of the airbase in the northeast.


President Pratibha Patil inducted the new state-of-the-art VVIP jet into the IAF on April 1, 2009. The President later undertook a flight to Assam aboard the new Boeing 747/700, christened as ‘Rajdoot’. The sparkling white 60-passenger-capacity aircraft, designed on the lines of the US President’s Air Force One and equipped with a wide range of security cover and latest communication devices, replaces the Boeing 737.


The President of India, Smt Pratibha Devisingh Patil became the first woman President anywhere across the world to fly a fighter jet. She undertook the historic half-hour sortie on the Sukhoi-30 MKI fighter aircraft at the Lohegaon airbase, Pune on November 25. Next month the President boarded the INS Viraat, India’s only aircraft carrier, and witnessed the operation of Sea Harrier Vertical Take-Off and Landing fighter jets from its decks. The 50-year-old 28,000 tonnes aircraft carrier rejoined the Indian Navy in August after a year-long refit at the Cochin Shipyard.


The Indian Air Force began flight evaluation tests for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) in August. US' Boeing and Lockheed Martin, French d'Assault, Swedish SAAB, European consortium EADS and Russian MiG are vying for the deal worth around Rs. 48,000 crore ($10.2 billion). The IAF hopes to complete the tests by April, 2010.


The Indian Air Force successfully undertook sorties to help Indian scientists study the total solar eclipse that took place on July 23. Two separate missions from Agra and Gwalior were flown along the path of the moon’s shadow, a mission that was deemed hugely successful by scientists associated with the experiment. While one AN-32 transport aircraft carrying scientific equipment, cameras and scientists that took off from Agra landed back after a three-hour flight, a Mirage-2000 trainer from Gwalior took spectacular images of the celestial spectacle from 40,000 feet. With weather being clear at the altitudes and coordinates planned by the IAF pilots, both AN-32 and Mirage-2000 pilots were able to accomplish the mission successfully.


History of sorts was made on May 25 when the Indian Army proudly equipped itself with the first Armoured Regiment of the indigenously built Main Battle Tank, Arjun. The development marked the fruition of 35 years of research in self-reliance by dedicated Indian scientists against all odds. 16 tanks (cumulative 45 Arjun tanks) were handed over to Lt.Gen.D.Bhardwaj, DGMF, towards formation of the 1st Arjun regiment at a function in Avadi, Tamil Nadu. MBT Arjun is the state-of-art main battle tank designed and developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE), Avadi along with other DRDO and industrial partners. MBT Arjun is provided with excellent mobility, superior firepower and protection and its features are comparable to contemporary tanks operated by cavalries around the world.


India rolled out its first batch of the indigenous, Russian-designed T-90 tanks in August, which will be the country’s main battle tank over the next three decades. The successor to the T-72 tanks, the T-90 - renamed Bhishma after the Mahabharat stalwart - is the one of the most advanced tanks in the world. It has night-fighting capability and can fire guided missiles from its turret. It is also designed to ensure protection of crew from radioactivity in the event of a nuclear attack. The Heavy Vehicles Factory at Avadi in Tamil Nadu will make 100 T-90 tanks annually over the next 10 years. The tank will be the spearhead of India's armoured corps and the mainstay of its offensive operations.


India inched closer towards its endeavour to put in place its own home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence System by successfully carrying out the third Interceptor test on March 06, 2009 from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheeler Island in Orissa. The two-stage Interceptor Missile fitted with advanced systems hit the target enemy missile at 75 kms altitude. This third consecutive interception of Ballistic Missiles once again demonstrated the robustness of the Indian Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system.


Acting upon the request of the West Bengal government, the Ministry of Defence dispatched medical teams of the Armed Forces personnel to the devastating cyclone ‘Aila’ affected areas of North and South 24 Parganas districts of the state in June. Many columns of the Army and several divers from the Indian Navy were also engaged in providing relief and rescue. These teams provided medical aid to several thousand people in the Aila affected areas. 5,000 kgs of relief stores were also distributed in the flood affected areas, which include clothing, food items and tentage. Divers from Indian Navy and Army personnel rescued 450 marooned persons and evacuated them to safer areas. Armed Forces also pressed into service Gemini boats in cyclone affected areas to distribute relief materials. IAF also pressed the Mi-17 helicopters into service to provide aid to the affected people.

When parts of Andhra Pradesh and northern Karnataka were badly affected by floods in the first week of October, the Army, Navy and IAF carried out extensive operations, rescuing over 3,600 people. More than 4.5 tonnes of rations were distributed by the Army to the marooned people in the two flood affected states. The Air Force deployed 32 aircraft and helicopters, carrying out 340 sorties.. The Navy also deployed two Chetak helicopters and diving teams for flood rescue operations.

In February the IAF also launched Operation Humsafar to supply food and medicines to the snowbound remote areas of Doda district.


On the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, medical teams from Armed Forces were sent to war-ravaged northern Sri Lanka. Indian Air Force IL-76 transport aircraft airlifted several tones of medical aid to Colombo in March.

The Indian Army conducted the joint exercise ‘YUDH ABHYAS-09’ with the US Army at Babina near Jhansi in October, towards coordinated peacekeeping and disaster relief operation. A Mechanised Infantry Battalion of Indian Army and 2nd Squadron of 14 CAV of 254 Stryker Brigade Combat Team comprising 325 US troops participated in this exercise. The Indian and Maldivian troops conducted ‘EKUVERIN-09’ exercise in Belgaum.

Exercise COPE INDIA 2009 was held in October at Agra between IAF and US Air Force. Six IAF Jaguars participated in a joint Air Exercise with the Royal Air Force of Oman at Thumrait, Oman the same month. Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet Task Force comprising four warships carried out joint exercise ‘SIMBEX 09’ in March with the Singapore Navy. The Fleet also exercised with the US and Japanese Navies under the aegis of the MALABAR exercise. Additionally enroute, the fleet conducted exercises with the navies of Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia. On the other hand, a Western Fleet Task Force comprising four ships were deployed to Europe from May, 2009. The fleet ships touched over 15 ports and in addition to having dedicated joint operations with the Royal Navy and the French Navy under the codenames ‘Konkan’ and ‘Varuna’ the ships also conducted exercises enroute with 12 different navies viz. the Algerian Navy, Portugese Navy, German Navy, Turkish Navy, Israeli Navy, Russian Navy, Royal Netherlands Navy, Spanish Navy, Moroccon Navy, Hellenic Navy, Egyptian Navy and the Royal Navy of Oman.

Indian Naval warships and aircraft also conducted joint surveillance of the extensive Exclusive Economic Zone in the waters of Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles. Our ships conducted coordinated patrols with the navies of Thailand and Indonesia.


"India rolled out its first batch of the indigenous, Russian-designed T-90 tanks in August."

Does anyone else see a contradiction here?

its useless for coward indian army

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