Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Joint doctrine for Special Forces operations unveiled

Admiral Sureesh Mehta, the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee and the Chief of the Naval Staff, formally unveiled the 'Joint Doctrine for Special Forces Operations', here today, authored by HQ Integrated Defence Staffs, Doctrine Branch. The function was attended by the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee Lieutenant General HS Lidder and a number of distinguished inter-service officers.

The necessity for bringing out this latest doctrine has been mooted by current global trends where such integrated forces have operated jointly in numerous highly sensitive situations. The Special Forces of every nation are potent force multipliers. To recall India's own experience, during the latter part of the 80's, its Army and the Naval Special Forces were employed in operations conducted in Sri Lanka as part of the IPKF, while, to a limited extent, the Army and the IAF were also involved in the Maldives where they went in at the request of its government in distress.

Besides synergy and jointness amongst the three Services, all future wars or conflicts will demand the Special Forces to play an increasingly dominant role at all levels of war, be it strategic, operational or tactical. Therefore, the bringing. out of this Special Forces doctrine has been most timely and apt. Not only is it visually most appealing, it consists of an introductory and information packed nine chapters. The former provides the basic information of the respective Special Forces of the three Services that is the Para Special Forces of the Army, the Marine Commandos or MARCOS of the Navy and the Garuds of the Air Force.

Subsequent chapters cover the operational environment in which the Special Forces are likely to operate. They highlight the organisational set up and special characteristics of the Special Forces, which make them ideally suited for varied role across the entire spectrum of conflict, that is from strategic and operational level tasks to unconventional warfare and counter insurgency / counter terrorism tasks. The Doctrine also charts out the ideal command and control organisation necessary for Joint Special Forces tasking, joint planning aspects at theatre level, including operational, environmental and intelligence requirements. It has also briefly covered, apart from the aspects of detailed planning, conduct of rehearsals and integration of Special Forces in the overall theatre plans. The doctrine emphasises the need for providing timely, wholesome and accurate intelligence, fire support by attack helicopters, naval gunfire, artillery, precision guided munitions and rockets for the successful conduct of special operations. The Doctrine also highlights the importance of various aspects of joint training to achieve greater cohesion and understanding necessary for conducting joint special operations.

Photo ©Copyright Bharat Rakshak

Monday, September 29, 2008

HAL's Baweja: Two different prototypes of 5th Gen fighter, etc

A whole bunch of reporters sort of ambushed HAL chairman AK Baweja shortly after the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Committee meeting concluded this afternoon. He was nice enough to stick around and answer a few questions. Obviously a whole lot of questions were thrust upon him, so I'm just going to list out the updates of whatever he said:

For starters, the committee meeting yesterday has agreed to expedite the conversion of the existing Inter-governmental Agreement (IGA) on joint development of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft into a formal General Agreement (GA). Interestingly, HAL chairman AK Baweja points out that two separate prototypes with common minimum technology will be developed -- one by Russia (designated the Sukhoi T-50) and a separate one by India (designated FGFA for now). While the Russian aircraft will be a single-seater, the Indian FGFA will be a twin seater, but not a trainer version of the Russian counterpart. Baweja explained that as per IAF doctrinal inputs, they want a mix of both single and twin seaters, though they would prefer the Indian sider to develop a twin-seater platform. HAL will be contributing largely to composites, cockpits and avionics. The current AL-31FP engine will have to evolve into a more powerful turbofan -- HAL is working to enter into a joint development mechanism with Russia for the evolution of the FGFA engine as an upward derivative of the AL-31FP.

The 20-ton multirole transport aircraft (MRTA) proposal has moved forward as well. A 50:50 shareholders agreement is now awaiting approval from the Russian side.

The proposal for the HAL-built Light Observation Helicopter (LOH) being developed to replace the Cheetah/Chetak fleet will shortly be taken to the Cabinet for final approval. According to Baweja, concepts of the chopper are firmed up and in place, work has even begun. Baweja has formally committed to certification and delivery of the first 10 choppers in 6 years. Incidentally, Ecuador will soon order two more ALH Dhruvs, taking its total order to nine helicopters.

HAL will build engines for any follow-on MiG-29Ks that the Navy orders. And the Chetak naval UAV being built by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) will make its first flight in a year. A formal contract with HAL is currently pending final approval.

Illustration ©Zinatullin Rustam

Photos: Model Kolkata-class destroyer with Brahmos for Russian minister + Path cleared for hypersonic BrahMos-II project report

The first photo shows BrahMos MD Dr A Sivathanu Pillai presenting Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov with a model Kolkata-class (Project 15A) guided missile destroyer with 16 BrahMos cruise missile in the vertical configuration. All of these photos were during Serdyukov's visit to the BrahMos complex this evening.

Incidentally, the Inter Governmental Commission meeting that was held earlier today, has given clearance to constitute a working group to evolve the project report for the Hypersonic BrahMos –II missile.

Photos Courtesy Ministry of Defence

From Russia with ...

Ok, so the Russkies are here. Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov arrived yesterday for the eighth India-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on Military-Technical Cooperation that will happen from 11AM-11.55AM today. Wonder what they'll actually get to iron out in 55 minutes. The Gorshkov deal will come up at the meeting, though no formal agreement on price will be made at this sitting. A price will be mutually fixed only over the next couple of months, apparently. Other reports indicate the multirole transport aircraft (MRTA) protocol could be converted into a formal joint venture between HAL and Ilyushin, and the 80 Mi-17-IVA deal could be concluded. Other issues on the agenda include the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA), and sundry grouses -- the T-90 technology transfer issue and midway cost escalations.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Armed forces to get ad-hoc arrears asap

Keeping in view that the re-fixation of pay and allowances and consequent calculation of arrears may take some time, the government has decided to make ad-hoc payment of arrears for the current year to all ranks of the Services at the earliest. The proposal received the sanction of the President today. The amount so paid will be adjusted against the final computation of arrears on the revised pay scales. It may be recalled that 40% of the arrears are to be paid in cash in the year 2008-2009 and the remaining 60% in the year 2009-2010. The ad-hoc rates will be as follows:

Officers
Lt/Equivalent Rs 55,000
Capt./Equivalent Rs 65,000
Major/Equivalent Rs 70,000
Lt Col/Equivalent Rs 80,000
Col/Equivalent Rs 1,50,000
Brigadier/Equivalent Rs 1,60,000
Maj Gen/Equivalent Rs 1,75,000
Lt Gen/Equivalent Rs 2,25,000

PBORs
NC(E) Rs 20,000
Sepoy/Equivalent Rs 25,000
Nk/Equivalent Rs 30,000
Hav/Equivalent Rs 32,000
Nb Sub/Equivalent Rs 48,000
Sub/Equivalent Rs 48,000
Sub Major/Equivalent Rs 50,000

The above-mentioned amount would be admissible with reference to the substantive rank held as on 01.01.2006. Payment of the above ad-hoc amounts will be made only to those personnel who were in Service as on 01.01.2006 and continue to be in Service thereafter. The ranks held by the personnel as on 01.01.2006 would be reckoned for drawing the arrears. The concerned paying authorities may deduct income tax as per normal rules at the time of final computation of arrears payable during the current financial year.

Govt buys time, sets up panel to address pay commission irregularities

As a retired expert said on Headlines Today a short while ago, the government's decision to set up a three-member panel to resolve "all outstanding issues" over the 6th Pay Commission before Diwali seems principally an exercise to buy time. This isn't the first Committee that's been set up since the 6th Pay Commission recommendations were first made public earlier this year, so the general hoopla about a victory for the armed forces may not be warranted yet. I suppose "cautious optimism", one of those boring stock-analyst phrases, would apply in the circumstances. The panel, headed by Pranab Mukherjee does have to submit its recommendations by the end of October, and they're under instructions directly from the Congress chief.

Secondly, it is election time, let's not forget -- not the sort of time you want to push the disenchantment of over a million beings cleanly into the realm of all out mutiny. That would be disastrous, unless of course everyone universally recognises that the impact that the pay commission has had since March on the faith of the armed forces, has been one long, meticulously stretched out disaster. In one sense, the damage will remain even if the government buckles and makes a blanket acceptance of all outstanding demands. Words like discipline, honour, prestige have been abused into nothingness these last few months, the armed forces dehumanized to the extent of being portrayed as hard-hearted, vacuous, elitists who won't be happy with anything.

What the government has ensured beyond any reasonable doubt, is that the armed forces cannot function under the present bureaucratic system -- and they will not.

The three service chiefs did splendidly by making a calculated risk of defying gazzetted government orders -- at least for a bit. It made its point forcefully and without looking like an act of open, dangerous insolence. And it has also shown to the rank and file that their chiefs are no push-overs. They may have been failed infintely by the government over decades, but these three chiefs -- neither of them especially known for locking horns with the government -- have proved that fiddling with the livelihoods of their men and women is taking things too damn far.

Will Pranab Mukherjee deliver the goods, and stem this deeply troubling aloofness by the government to armed forces concerns? Maybe, maybe not. This is the one chance the government has to make things right. Like everyone in the armed forces quietly knows, there is no such thing is a second chance.

Meanwhile, Chief of Naval Staff and Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, Admiral Sureesh Mehta is in Leh today on a visit to the forward areas. In his interactions with troops on our frontlines, he will be assuring them that the Chiefs of Staff Committee is mounting persistent pressure on the government to accede to its from the 6th Pay Commission.

Photo ©Copyright Shiv Aroor / Livefist / Pranab Mukherjee and Gen JJ Singh at Op Desert Strike in Pokhran in 2005

Friday, September 26, 2008

Finally, Permanent Commission for women officers in select cadres

This statement from the government came in today: In a pathbreaking development, the Government has decided to grant Permanent Commission, prospectively to Short Service Commission officers, both men and women in branches and cadres of the three services, which do not entail direct combat or possibility of physical contact with enemy.

The long-standing proposal received the approval of the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony, today. The branches where permanent commission would be granted include Judge Advocate General, Army Education Corps and its corresponding branches in Navy and Air Force, Accounts Branch of the Air Force and Naval Constructor of the Navy. The selection will be based on a common merit and eligibility criteria, which would be decided by each Service Headquarters.

The issue of grant of Permanent Commission to women officers had been under the active consideration of the Government. A tri-Service study carried out in 2006 on all aspects of employment of women officers in the Services recommended that women officers would be excluded from induction in close combat Arms where chances of physical contact with enemy were high. It was further recommended that it was essential to obtain feedback on their performance based on revised pre-commission training, from 24 weeks to 49 weeks, detailment on courses such as Junior Command Course and assessment of their performance as sub unit Commanders, especially in field areas for holding higher ranks and the grant of Permanent Commission. A gestation period of 10 to 14 years was considered essential to assess on-ground performance of women offices before the issue of Permanent Commission or otherwise could be examined. The Services Headquarters, who were asked to re-examine the issue had only a few days ago recommended granting of Permanent Commission to Short Service Commission officers in select cadres and branches.

Women officers have been in the Armed Forces for about 80 years and served with competence and distinction. They were inducted in the Military Nursing Service in 1927 and in the Medical Officers Cadre since 1943. Following Cabinet approval, induction of women officers in other branches in the three Services started in 1992. There are 1072 women officers in the Indian Army. The figure does not include Army Medical Services.

In the Air Force, women are eligible to fill all vacancies in branches of Ground Duties and transport and helicopter stream of the flying branches. The current strength of women officers in IAF including Medical Services is 793. Of these, 63 are from the Flying Branch, 132 from the Technical Branch, 126 from the Medical and Dental Branch and the remaining from the Non-Technical Ground Duty Branches. In the Flying Branch, women officers have been flying AN-32, Avro and Dornier aircrafts in the transport stream. They are now going to be inducted in advanced platforms like IL-76 aircraft.

In the Indian Navy, women were inducted as officers in the Education branch and Logistics and Law Cadres of the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy from 1992. In 1993, approval was also accorded for induction of women in the ATC cadre. Women officers are however, presently not being posted to serve afloat. The present design of ships, congested living conditions do not allow a mix crew onboard ships. The rest of the training patterns are same as those for male officers. Women officers have not found any major difficulty in adapting to the Naval environment and their performance has been satisfactory. At present, there are 258 women officers in the Indian Navy.

In the Armed Forces Medical Services there are about 752 lady Medical Officers, 86 lady Dental Officers and 2834 members of the All Women Military Nursing Service. Out of the 752 lady Medical Officers, 490 are Permanent Commission Officers. Similarly, 38 % of lady Dental officers and 90 % members of the MNS hold the Permanent Commission.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Forces defiant - Meet demands, or no 6PC

Fantastic! The armed forces have decided not to implement the new pay scales (6th Pay Commission) until their demands are met. Here's Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta's signal to all ranks on September 24:

In recent times there have been several speculative media reports and disinformation on the final outcome of the sixth pay commission recommendations. The service headquarters have maintained continuous interaction with all authorities concerned and our concerns have been highlighted at the highest levels time and again.

Whilst some of our concerns have been addressed we have been constrained to delay payment of arrears and new pay scales to officers and men in view of some serious disparities that have been introduced which disturb the extant parities between defence officers and those from other central services as also adversely affect pensionary benefits of pbor.

We are in the process of resolving all pending issues and this may take a little longer than we had earlier expected.

Let me assure each one of you that i will spare no effort to bring our genuine concerns to the notice of our country's leadership with the final aim of giving our personnel their rightful due. In the meanwhile i am certain that one and all will display maturity and patience and not be swayed by hearsay or speculative reports from any quarter. Shano Varuna and Jai Hind.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Photos: Lt Col Kapil Dev!

Kapil Dev receiving the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel of the Territorial Army from Chief of Army Staff General Deepak Kapoor.

Photos: 27th Annual Coast Guard Commanders' Conference



Photos Courtesy Indian Coast Guard

Photos: Russkies tinker with Gorshkov

It's been reported that the Russkies want the Indian government to put $200 million in cold cash down immediately for the Gorshkov refit to continue. The Russkies have no money. Tells you a little about how they'd ever support stuff we buy from them. Here are a couple of photos, one of a recent visit to Sevmash by a government team (the hapless Gorshkov sprawled in the backdrop), and another of workers welding new steel plates that will be used in the refit.

Photos ©Copyright Sevmash

Monday, September 22, 2008

Photos: INS Mysore hosts Nat-Geo's Mission Navy

The Delhi-class guided missile destroyer INS Mysore played host to the launch event of National Geographic's Mission:Navy programme. Here's the beautiful Mysore in all her glory.

Photos ©Copyright and Courtesy Shrey Khetarpal

EXCLUSIVE: Israel proposes JV with DRDO for standoff PGM

In yet another power-pitch for collaborative weapons development, Israel has proposed a joint venture with India to develop and manufacture an air-delivered fire-and-forget precision guided standoff weapon for the Indian and Israeli air forces. The weapon will be developed to deliver both conventional and nuclear warheads over sizeable standoff ranges. The proposal was formally made by an Israeli defence delegation, led by senior officials from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, to the DRDO's Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) in Pune on July 7, and carried forward with two more meetings at the DRDO Headquarters level in August and this month. A project case is currently under preparation -- paperwork is likely to take at least eight more months, though with elections looming, who knows.

As a recent news report by DNA's Josy Joseph suggested, the Israelis are having an "unprecedented run" in the Indian defence market. The same news report tells of how the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has completely broken with tradition and put its stamp of approval on the Rs 10,400 crore medium range surface-to-air missile (MRSAM) joint venture between the two countries, currently pending final approval by the Cabinet, but expected shortly. This despite the fact that the companies involved are the same that remain officially charged by the CBI and are being investigated for paying kickbacks in the original Barak naval point defence system deal. The same duo of IAI/Rafael is already involved with the co-development of the Barak-2 surface-to-air missile with DRDL and supply of the SpyDer LLQRM to the IAF, another deal that has been criticised.

The photograph to the right is the Popeye "Crystal Maze" PGM, an existing standoff weapon in Rafael's inventory, procured by the Indian Air Force.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nimitz Class: 'A thunderingly good naval yarn'

I just finished reading Nimitz Class, a Clancy-style naval thriller written in 1997 by Patrick Robinson, who, I have to admit, I hadn't even heard of until I found this book a couple of weeks ago under a stack of worn Star Wars screenplay volumes at one of those used book shops outside PVR Saket.

Capt Richard Sharpe, former ed-in-chief of Jane's Fighting Ships calls the book a "thunderingly good naval yarn" on the blurb at the back, and I'm inclined to agree. Simply, the book is about the mysterious disappearance of a Nimitz-class supercarrier from bang in the middle of its battlegroup somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The book traces the investigation, the politics and the final consequences. All tightly told in a richly researched narrative. Legendary British submariner Admiral John "Sandy" Woodward was technical consultant to the author for the novel -- Woodward commanded the Royal Navy's South Atlantic Task Groups during the Falklands War -- so the novel is beautifully replete with technical details that would warm the cockles of anyone who's even remotely crazy about weapons-specs!

The copy I have constains a teaser chapter to the book Robinson wrote next, called Kilo Class. And since the first two naval thrillers, the author has written eight more, including HMS Unseen, Barracuda 945 and Ghost Force. There's a new book called To The Death due out this year as well. I plan to venture back to that PVR Saket book guy to see if he has any more. Otherwise, it's Amazon.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Navy accepts DRDO's Submarine Escape Set

Just came across this in the September issue of DRDO's monthly newsletter. The Navy has put the DRDO-developed Submarine Escape Set (SES) through extensive trials and accepted the product. Developed by the Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), the SES consists (see photo) of a hydrosuit and closed-circuit breathing apparatus.

According to the DRDO newsletter, "This set can be used for escape from an abandoned submarine from a depth of 100m." The hydrosuit, made from rubberised buoyant fibre, floats the submariner to the surface -- no surface decompression necessary. Built for tropical condictions, and apparently less cumbersome than hydrosuits currently in inventory, the suit is geared with automated breathing apparatus. Pretty cool, this.

Photos: Exercise Lion Strike & Exercise Wessex Warrior end

Mechanised Infantry troops of the Indian Army carried out joint training and exercises with the British Army from 29 August to 19 September 2008. The joint training culminated in two exercises Ex Lion Strike and Ex Wessex Warrior. The final day of Exercise Wessex Warrior culminated 19 September at the Land Warfare Centre in the Salisbury plains of England. The Indian contingent comprised 126 all ranks from the 16 Mechanised Infantry Regiment while the British troops were from the Third Mercian Regiment.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Video: Sandeep Unnithan in the MBT Arjun

video
Will post Sandeep's better quality videos soon. This one was the smallest file, so putting this one up for now.

Video Courtesy Sandeep Unnithan

Here's the MiG-31, now don't shut up!

For the psycho in the comments section who can't stop about how India desperately needs the MiG-31, here she is. Took these pix at MAKS 2007 in Zhukovsky.

All Photos by Shiv Aroor / LiveFist

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

EXCLUSIVE Photos: Astra BVRAAM launch

Photos from the Astra beyond visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) test on September 13 and 14 at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Orissa, and DRDO's diagram of the Astra on a Su-30 airframe.

Photos and Image Courtesy DRDO

Monday, September 15, 2008

Photos: Sandeep Unnithan visits MBT Arjun

India Today associate editor Sandeep Unnithan recently visited the DRDO's Combat Vehicles Research & Development Establishment (CVRDE) and Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) at Avadi for a special report on MBT Arjun. These are the photos he took there, including a nice couple of shots of the inside of the tank driver's compartment.

All Photos ©Copyright and Courtesy Sandeep Unnithan

Photos: IAF Cheetahs in Bihar

Photos from Saharsa, Bihar ©Copyright T. Singh

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Prasun K Sengupta: Asian navies interested in DSRVs

PSK: Following the examples set by the navies of Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, China's PLA Navy has acquired its first deep submergence rescue vehicle (DSRV) that will be used for supporting its submarine rescue operations in future. The DSRV, an LR-7 (Photo 1), has been built by Rolls-Royce Marine and is currently being subjected to acceptance trials under the frigid, choppy waters of the Raasay Inner Sound, just a few miles from the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The PLA Navy is later expected to acquire another two such DSRVs, which will be based on board its three Dajiang-class submarine rescue ships.

DSRVs are typically designed for quick deployment in the event of an undersea submarine accident. They are transportable by truck, aircraft, ship, or by specially configured attack submarines. At the accident site, the DSRV works with either a mother ship or mother submarine. The DSRV dives, conducts a sonar search, and attaches to the disabled submarine's hatch. Once the call to render rescue assistance has been made, the DSRV is quickly loaded on an aircraft or ship and sent, along with its support crew, anywhere in the world. Upon arrival at its destination, the DSRV is transported to the water and attached to the back of a mother submarine, which then travels to the location of the disabled submerged submarine and the DSRV detaches off the back and then travels to the disabled submarine, attaches to the hatch, transfers the submariners in distress and delivers them back to the safety of the mother submarine.

For fulfilling the PLA Navy's DSRV contract, Rolls-Royce had put together a powerful team to support this project, including Perry Slingsby Systems Ltd, The Engineering Business Ltd, Babcock Design and Technology, Babcock Naval Services, Divex Ltd, Kongsberg Maritime Ltd, and Lloyds Register. The LR-7 features an all-steel, single piece hull, is ISO containerised for transportation and is fully certified to Lloyd's Register, has an on-board fibre-optic umbilical data and communications link, has a four-man crew (Pilot, Observer, and two Rescue Chamber Operators), has a mating capability of up to 60o with rescue seat compliant with STANAG 1297, is operational in depths ranging from 20 metres to 610 metres, uses a ZEBRA advanced battery power system, and has an innovative full diver-less launch and recovery capability. The 10 metre-long, 27-tonne DSRV, together with a portable launch and recovery system, support and operating equipment and the optional transfer-under-pressure (TUP) system can be deployed within six hours of receiving the go-ahead. All equipment and personnel will be flown to the nearest mobilisation port for embarkation on a suitable military or commercial support mother ship. The complete mobilisation will take less than 18 hours and the mother ship will then sail to the scene where the DSRV will be deployed and dived to mate or dock with the rescue seat fitted around submarine hatches. The aim is to achieve a Time To First Rescue (TTFR) of 72 hours and then rescue the disabled submerged submarine's personnel in groups of 15 to the mother ship, transferring them to the TUP system for decompression under medical supervision if necessary. The TUP system is fully autonomous, providing full decompression recovery and medical support.

Another Asian navy that is likely to acquire customised DSRVs is the Indian Navy, which already selected the Remora 2000 (Photo 2) remotely operated rescue vehicle (RORV) for its submarines by mid-2005, along with its launch-and-recovery system (LARS) and a fully integrated self-contained emergency life support system (ELSS) package, all to be supplied by Canada's Ocean Works International of North Vancouver. The yet-to-be-signed contract, however, ran into rough weather two years ago amidst allegations of irregularities (i.e. kickbacks) during the contractual negotiations phase. The 20.6-tonne Remora 2000 RORV has a depth rating to 610 metres, can accommodate 18 men, can dry-transfer personnel under pressures up to 6 atmospheres into surface decompression facilities, and is designed for operations in Sea State 5 and transport in Sea State 6. The related surface decompression facility can treat more than 100 personnel. The entire Remora 2000 system can be air-transported for rapid deployment. Similar systems built by the same company are currently operational with the navies of Australia, Russia and Singapore.

Astra BVR missile successfully tested

Press Release: DRDO has successfully conducted two flight tests of Astra beyond Visual Range Air to Air missile on 13 and 14 Sept 2008 from Interim Test Range, Balasore as part of second phase of missile development flight trials. The missiles were launched from a Ground launcher. The main objective of these flight tests were to test mid course guidance of missiles towards manoeuvring target Aircraft using secured data link. Simulated aircraft flight parameters were used for these flight tests. All missile systems comprising of launcher, propulsion, Airframe, mission computer, navigation system, autopilot , flight control system, data link and telemetry system have worked satisfactory and as per design. The team led by Shri Venugopalan, Director, DRDL, Hyderabad, Dr Gollakota, Project Director, Astra, Shri SP Dash, Director, ITR, Balasore, project team and representatives of participating Industry participated successful launch of Astra conducted at Chandipore test range.