The successful launch of Interceptor Missile (AAD) towards developing a ballistic missile defence system, test flight of Agni-III (A3-02), user trial of Akash Missile by Army and Air Force, Handing over of first batch of land version of BrahMos missile systems to Army and successful conduct of 4th Military World Games were some of the significant events in the Ministry of Defence during the current year. The issue of Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for Indian Air Force, the arrival of first batch of two Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers from UK, Signing of the Agreement with Russia on the Joint Development of 5th Generation Fighter Aircraft, First meeting of Indo-German High Defence Committee, Meeting of the Indo-French High Committee Meeting and approval of Parliament to the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill were some other major events during the year.
The country took a significant step towards Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and joined the elite club of USA, Russia and Israel when an interceptor missile successfully targeted the ‘hostile’ missile off the Orissa coast twice in early December. The Endo-Atmospheric AAD Interceptor missile test fired from Wheeler Island intercepted the target missile at an altitude of 15 km from launch surface at supersonic speed.
AGNI – III
The Agni – III was successfully launched on April 12, 2007 from the Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa. The 16 meter long missile weighing 48 tonnes, lifted off successfully from its Rail Mobile Launcher System leaving a trail of orange and yellow smoke. The missile which has a range of more than 3000 kms is capable of carrying a pay load of 1.5 Tonnes.
Mobility trials as part of user’s trial for Army were conducted at Pokharan during 11 to 29 Jun, 2007 followed by Flyover Trials of Akash Weapon system as part of Air Force User Trials at Pokharan during 15 to 17 Nov 2007. The User’s Trials were also successfully conducted by ITR, Chandipur during 13 to 19 Dec 2007.
BRAHMOS MISSILE SYSTEM
First batch of land version of BrahMos missile systems was handed over to the Army. Installation of multi-missile vertical launcher was also completed on board naval ship INS Ranvir. The missile, capable of firing from underwater, is ready for evaluation test so that future submarines will have BrahMos missiles. Development of air version and its interface with different types of aircraft is in progress.
LIGHT COMBAT AIRCRAFT – Tejas
Till Dec 2007 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has completed 785 flights. The program achieved the most significant milestone, when it successfully test fired the Close Combat Missile R-73. This historic event marked the beginning of weaponisation of Tejas. In September, LCA Tejas PV-1 created another milestone as it made a successful first flight with two 800 Ltrs drop tanks under the wing stations. On December 10, the Tejas LCA programme received yet another major fillip with the first successful flight test on PV-2 using Lightening Laser ranging and Laser spot seeking Pod, which can provide the pilot with day and night picture of terrain.
MILITARY WORLD GAMES
The 4th CISM Military World Games was successfully organized from October 14 to 21, 07 at Hyderabad and Mumbai wherein over 5000 soldier-athletes from 101 countries participated. The Games held outside Europe for the first time had 13 disciplines. Three new world records were set up during the games in swimming, parachuting and sailing. Out of 101 participating countries, 49 countries won medals in one event or the other. India’s performance in the Games was the all time best as it secured 10 medals (2-Gold, 1-Silver and 7-Bronze)
ACQUISITION OF INS JALASHWA
Landing Platform Dock INS JALASHWA was commissioned in the Navy in June this year. This is the first ever procurement of a ship by the Indian Navy from the United States Navy under the Excess Defence Article Programme and through the Foreign Military Sales route of the US Defence Forces. It is capable of carrying over 900 fully armed troops along with thirty vehicles, four landing craft and six helicopters.
Indian Army held joint exercises with the Armies of China, UK, Maldives, Russia and Singapore. It was for the first time when the Armies of India and China held joint exercise at Kunming in Yunan province of China. 80 soldiers each from India and China attended this five-day long joint exercise on anti-terrorist operations. The Indian Air Force carried out Joint exercises with the Air Forces of France and Russia. Indian Navy carried out joint exercises with the Navies of USA, Russia, Japan, Oman, Australia, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore
FIRST BATCH OF AJT
The first batch of Two Hawk Mk 132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft from UK reached India on 12 Nov 07. The Hawk trainers will impart stage-III training to the newly commissioned fighter pilots of the IAF at Bidar in Karnataka from June, next.
FRIGATES FROM RUSSIA
A contract for the acquisition of three follow-on stealth frigates of P1135.6 class has been concluded with Russia on Jul 14, 2006, with the planned delivery of the first ship scheduled in Apr 2011. All three ships are being built at Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad. The three follow-on frigates would be fitted with indigenous BrahMos missile system instead of the earlier Club-N missile system.
Indian Army conducted expeditions to Mount Everest, Cycle rally from Leh to Kanyakumari, Motorcycle rally from Imphal to Siachen and Car rally from India to Myanmar. The Indian Air Force’s microlight aircraft flown by Wg Cdr Rahul Monga and Wg Cdr Anil Kumar arrived at Air Force Station Hindon on 19 Aug 07 creating a ‘New World Record’ of fastest round the world trip. Indian Sail training ship INS Tarangini had set sail on Jan 10, 2007, for a ten-month odyssey, named ‘Lokayan 07’. The voyage took the ship to 23 ports spread over 16 countries. The ship entered Kochi on completion of the voyage on Oct 29, 2007.
RELIEF MATERIAL TO BANGLADESH
Cargo aircraft of Indian Air Force and 4 Amphibious ships of Indian Navy carried food and relief materials for the cyclone affected people of Bangladesh during November and December 2007.
JOINT DEVELOPMENT OF FIFTH GENERATION FIGHTER AIRCRAFT
India and Russia signed a landmark Intergovernmental Agreement for the joint development and joint production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), marking the beginning of cooperation in the development of state of the art new technology major weapon systems. The agreement was signed by the Secretary Defence Production Mr KP Singh and Deputy Director of the Federal Service for Foreign Military Cooperation Mr. Vyacheslav Dzirkaln in the presence of the Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Mr. Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow. The watershed agreement was signed at the conclusion of the Seventh Meeting of the India- Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation.
FIRST MEETING OF INDO-GERMAN HIGH DEFENCE COMMITTEE
India and Germany have agreed to increase defence cooperation in a number of areas including exchange of expertise in peace-keeping operations, disaster management, etc. In the first Indo-German High Defence Committee meeting held in New Delhi, the Federal State Secretary for Defence of Germany Dr. Peter Eickenboom assured India to provide transfer of technology in armament procurement and joint development of armament platforms wherever possible. Germany has also assured India that it will be an open and reliable partner in all areas of defence cooperation.
INDO-FRENCH HIGH COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE COOPERATION
The 10th Meeting of Indo – French High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCC) was held in New Delhi. The Defence Secretary Shri Vijay Singh and Mr. Thierry Borja de Mozota, Ministerial Representative of the French Defence Minister, headed the respective delegations at the two-day talks. Three sub-committees also met on the sidelines of the HCC. The Sub-Committee on Military Cooperation charted a plan for service to service cooperation activities during the forthcoming year while the Sub-Committee on Strategic Issues discussed matters of mutual strategic interests. The Sub- Committee on Defence Industry Procurement and Research & Technology discussed matters of Transfer of Technology, joint development, production and research.
PROCUREMENT OF 126 MEDIUM MULTI-ROLE COMBAT AIRCRAFT
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) at an estimated cost of Rs. 42,000 crores for the Indian Air Force was issued to six vendors – Russia’s MIG-35(RAC MiG); Swedish JAS-39 (Gripen);Dassault Rafale (France); American F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin); Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon (Made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms). The 211-page document deals with various issues relating to initial purchase, transfer of technology, licensed production and life-time maintenance support for the aircraft.
ARMED FORCES TRIBUNAL
Both Houses of Parliament passed the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill. It had taken long years’ of painstaking efforts to get legislative approval for this Bill. The establishment of Armed Forces Tribunal will go a long way in providing speedy justice to thousands of serving and retired Armed Forces personnel.