UPSC IAS Prelims 2022 Material| Science and Tech Current Affairs | Defence technologies – Dec. 2021- 15th March, 2022

Dear Friends,

This post is a part of our current affairs series for the UPSC IAS Prelims 2022. In this post, we have covered the Science and tech current affairs of the Defence technologies section. This post covers current affairs from Dec. 2021 to 15th March 2022. In the 2nd part, we will cover the rest of the current affairs of July 2021 to 31st April 2022.


Science and Tech Current Affairs 2021-22

Defence technologies 

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Cluster Munitions and Thermobaric Weapons

News: Human rights groups Amnesty International and Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States has accused Russia of using cluster bombs and vacuum bombs in the ongoing war.

About Cluster Munitions: Cluster Munitions are non-precision weapons that are designed to injure or kill human beings indiscriminately over a large area and to destroy vehicles and infrastructure such as runways, railway or power transmission lines.

They can be dropped from an aircraft or launched in a projectile that spins in flight, scattering many bomblets as it travels.

Many of these cluster bombs end up not exploding, but continue to lie on the ground, often partially or fully hidden, posing a threat to people for long after the fighting has ceased.

About Thermobaric Weapons: Thermobaric weapons — also known as aerosol bombs, fuel-air explosives, or vacuum bombs — use oxygen from the air for a large, high-temperature blast.

A thermobaric weapon causes significantly greater devastation than a conventional bomb of comparable size.

Is using Cluster and Thermobaric Weapons illegal?

Cluster Munitions: There is a Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM). It is an international treaty adopted in 2008. It prohibits the use, transfer, production, and stockpiling of cluster bombs. Currently, 110 states are parties to the convention and 13 other countries have signed up but are yet to ratify it. Neither Russia nor Ukraine are signatories.

Thermobaric weapons are not prohibited by any international law or agreement, but their use against civilian populations in built-up areas, schools or hospitals, could attract action under The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.


INS Visakhapatnam

News: The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has dedicated INS Visakhapatnam to the nation in a formal ceremony held at Naval Dockyard.

About INS Visakhapatnam: INS Visakhapatnam is the name of the first indigenously designed and constructed stealth guided-missile destroyer ship under Project 15B. The ship has been named after the City of Destiny – Visakhapatnam.

The crew of the ship abides by her motto ‘Yasho Labhasva’ – a Sanskrit phrase that translates to ‘Attain Glory’.

Built by: The ship has been designed by the Directorate of Naval Design and built by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai.

Purpose: The ship is a potent platform capable of undertaking multifarious tasks and missions spanning the full spectrum of maritime warfare.

Key Features of the ship

  1. It is the most technologically advanced guided destroyer in the world with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes.
  2. It is equipped with numerous state-of-the-art weapons and has a significant indigenous content of approximately 75%. It also has anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
  3. The ship is propelled by a powerful combined gas and gas propulsion, which enables her speed of over 30 knots.
  4. It is also equipped to be deployed to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions.

Brahmos Missiles

News: India has signed a $375-million contract with the Philippines for the supply of 24-30 BrahMos cruise missiles. Further, a Brahmos missile with increased indigenous content of 70% has also test fired.

About Brahmos Missile: It is a cruise missile manufactured by BrahMos Aerospace limited. It is a joint venture of India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia.

The research for the missile began in the 1990s. It became the first supersonic cruise missile to enter service.

It has a speed of 2.8 mach (almost 3 times the speed of sound) and a range of 290 km. A new version has a range of 400 km. The high speed makes its interception very difficult and allows it to easily target fighter jets like the Chinese J-20 fighter aircraft.

The naval and land variants of the BrahMos were inducted into service by the Indian Navy in 2005 and the Indian Army in 2007. Later, the air variant was tested in 2017 thereby giving the missile a dominating presence in all three domains.

India is now trying to build a superior version having hypersonic speeds (at or above Mach 5) and a maximum range of 1,500 km.


Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS)

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has handed over technology to manufacture indigenous extreme cold weather clothing systems (ECWS) to five Indian companies.

About Extreme Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS): ECWCS  is a three layered cloth required by the Indian Army for its sustained operations in glacier and Himalayan peaks.

Note: Till now, Indian Army has been importing extreme cold weather clothing and several Special Clothing and Mountaineering Equipment (SCME) items for the troops deployed in high altitude regions.

Key features of ECWCS

Firstly, it is an ergonomically designed modular technical clothing that provides physiological comfort and thermal insulation over a temperature range of +15 to -50° Celsius.

Secondly, the cloth has several features like reduction in respiratory heat and water loss, rapid absorption of sweat, water proof, wind proof with adequate breathability and enhanced insulation as well as strength features required for high altitude operations.

Significance of ECWCS

Considering the widely fluctuating weather conditions in the Himalayan peaks, the clothing is a viable import alternative for the Indian Army.

Moreover, it not only cater to the existing requirements of the Army but also can be exported.


HANSA-NG

News: HANSA-NG aircraft has successfully completed the sea level trials at Puducherry.

About HANSA-NG: HANSA-NG is India’s first indigenous Flying Trainer aircraft.

Developed by: CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore under the aegis of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Features: The aircraft is powered by Rotax Digital Control Engine with unique features like Just-In-Time Prepreg (JIPREG) Composite lightweight Airframe, Glass Cockpit, Bubble Canopy with wide panoramic view, electrically operated flap, Highly efficient digitally controlled engine, Electrically operated flaps, Long endurance, Low acquisition and low operating cost among others.

Significance: The aircraft is designed to meet the Indian flying club needs, and it is an ideal aircraft for Commercial Pilot Licensing (CPL) due to its low cost and low fuel consumption.


Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM)

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM).

About Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM): MPATGM is an indigenously developed low weight Anti-Tank guided fire & forget missile.

Range: MPATGM has already proven in earlier tests its ability to strike targets at its maximum range of 4,000 meters.

The missile was launched from a man portable launcher. It is also integrated with a thermal sight that allows it to be used in low-visibility conditions, even in complete darkness.

The missile has a miniaturized infrared imaging seeker and advanced avionics for on-board control and guidance.

Significance: The MPATGM will now be built in India, eliminating the need to import large numbers of Spike ATGMs from Israel or Javelin ATGMs from the US, which was the earlier plan.


INS Vikrant

News: INS Vikrant is heading out to sea for its third set of sea trials.

About Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) ‘Vikrant’: IAC-1 Vikrant has been designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND). It is being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL), a Public Sector Shipyard under the Ministry of Shipping.

Key Features of IAC-01 Vikrant

Vikrant is the first aircraft carrier designed and built in India. It has over 76 percent of the material and equipment which is indigenous.

Vikrant is named after the Majestic-class aircraft carrier, which was operated by the Indian Navy from 1961 to 1997.

The ship is 262 m long with over 2,300 compartments designed for a crew of around 1700 people including specialized cabins to accommodate women officers.

The ship can operate a mix of aircrafts like Russian MiG-29K/KUB fighters, Kamov-31 helicopters and a new fleet of Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk multi-role helicopters.

Type of Aircraft Carrier: STOBAR (short take-off but arrested landing)

The ship is equipped with numerous high-end technologies, including network-centric distributed data processing and control systems and state-of-the-art weapons such as the Barak LR-SAM (long-range surface-to-air missile) and sensors.

Significance of Made-in-India aircraft carrier

Only five or six nations currently have the capability of manufacturing an aircraft carrier. India joins this elite club now.

India’s earlier aircraft carriers were either built by the British or the Russians.

The INS Vikramaditya, currently the Navy’s only aircraft carrier that was commissioned in 2013, started out as the Soviet-Russian Admiral Gorshkov.

The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.


INS Khukri

What is the news?

INS Khukri has been decommissioned after 32 years of glorious service.

About INS Khukri: INS Khukri is India’s first indigenously built Missile Corvettes (high-speed ships that have considerable firepower).

It was built by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders and commissioned in 1989.

It had the distinction of being part of both the Western and Eastern Fleets. The ship was affiliated with the Gorkha Brigade of the Indian Army. During the service, the ship travelled a distance which is equivalent to navigating around the world 30 times, or 3 times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.


Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application (ASIGMA)

News: The Indian Army has launched a contemporary messaging application named ASIGMA (Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application).

About ASIGMA: It is a web-based communication platform developed to meet real-time data transfer and messaging requirements of the Army.

Developed by:  It has been developed entirely in-house by a team of officers of the Corps of Signals of the Army.

Where will it be deployed? The application is being deployed on the Army’s internal network as a replacement of the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application, which has been in service for the past 15 years.

Features: The app has a variety of contemporary features including multi-level security, message prioritization and tracking, a dynamic global address book and various options to meet the Army’s requirements.

Significance: The app meets all futuristic user requirements and boasts of an enhanced user experience. It is also in line with the Government of India’s, Make in India initiative.


Pralay Missile

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the maiden flight test of ‘Pralay’ Missile.

About the Pralay Missile: It is a surface-to-surface conventional quasi-ballistic missile with state-of-the-art navigation system.

Note: Quasi missile trajectory is also ballistic but after a certain range it changes the projectile path to defeat interceptors.

Key features of the Pralay Missile: The missile has the ability to change its path after covering a certain range in the mid-air. Which makes it hard to intercept by missile defence system.

The missile has a range of 150-500 kilometers. It has a payload capacity of 500-1,000 kg.

The missile can be launched from a mobile launcher and its payload is designed to carry only a conventional warhead. The missile is powered by a solid-propellant rocket motor. The missile guidance system includes state-of-the-art navigation and integrated avionics.

The missile is based on the Prithvi Defence Vehicle from the Indian ballistic missile programme.

Significance of the Pralay Missile

The indigenous Pinaka can strike targets up to 60-70 km from the launchers; while variants of the Prithvi missile can strike the target up to 250-350 km away.

The territory between them where the key targets will be located in wartime will be engaged by the Shourya, Prahar and Pralay missile systems.


Killer Robots

News: A report from a  UN  panel  has said that the first autonomous drone attack may  have  already happened in Libya. Yet, a UN conference in Geneva  failed to regulate the use of killer robots on the battlefield.

About Killer Robots: Killer Robots are fully autonomous weapons that would be able to select and engage targets without meaningful human control.

The idea of killer robots has been explored widely in science fiction movies including Terminator, Blade Runner, and Robocop.

Collectively, these weapons fall under Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) which can include bombs, dog-like robots, and more that can use AI and other digital technologies to make decisions on the battlefield. It doesn’t include drones, which are manned remotely by pilots.

About the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

The United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) also known as the Inhumane Weapons Convention was concluded at Geneva in 1980 and entered into force in 1983.

Purpose: It is a framework of rules that ban or restrict weapons considered to cause unnecessary, unjustifiable and indiscriminate suffering such as incendiary explosives, blinding lasers and booby traps that don’t distinguish between fighters and civilians.

The convention covers land mines, booby traps, incendiary devices, blinding laser weapons and clearance of explosive remnants of war. The convention has no provisions for killer robots.

India has ratified this Convention.


Agni P Missile

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested the ‘Agni P’ Missile from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.

About Agni P Missile: Agni P is a new generation nuclear capable Surface To Surface ballistic missile.

Range: The missile has a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.

Features: The missile is a two-stage canisterised solid propellant ballistic missile with dual redundant navigation and guidance system.

  • Canister Based Missile: Agni P is a canisters based missile. Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility,
  • This means that it can be launched from rail and road and stored for a longer period. It can also be transported across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Weight: The missile weighs 50% less than Agni III and has new guidance and a new generation of propulsion.
  • Range: The missile has a range between 1000km to 2000km.It has been developed specifically to strike targets in Pakistan. Its range is too short to reach targets in the Chinese mainland.
  • Replaced by: The Agni-P will replace the Prithvi, Agni-1 and Agni-2 missiles that were built two decades ago with technologies that are now considered outdated.

Missile technologies in India

News: At a seminar organised by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Defence Minister has encouraged scientists to work towards developing hypersonic missile technology.

History of missile technology in India

Before Independence: Several kingdoms in India were using rockets as part of their warfare technologies. Mysore ruler Hyder Ali started inducting iron-cased rockets in his army in the mid-18th century.

After Independence: At the time of Independence, India did not have any indigenous missile capabilities. The Govt. created the Special Weapon Development Team in 1958. This was later expanded and called Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL). It was moved from Delhi to Hyderabad by 1962.

Project Devil: It was initiated in 1972 for the development of a medium range Surface-to-Surface Missiles.

Integrated Guided Missiles Development Programme (IGMDP): It was conceived by Dr. APJ. Abdul Kalam in 1982 to enable India attain self-sufficiency in the field of missile technology.

India’s present Missile systems

Type of MissileMissile/Status
Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)
 
Nag is the “fire-and-forget ATGM with a range of around 20 km.

Heli-Nag will be operated from helicopters and will be inducted by 2022

Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile with a range over 10 km.

Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM)Akash is the short-range SAM. It has already been inducted in the Army and the Air Force

Akash 1, Akash (New generation) and Akash Prime will be inducted in a few years.

Medium-Range SAMProduction of MRSAM systems for the Navy is complete, and it is placing its order.
Short-Range SAMFor the Navy, the first flight tests have been successfully conducted.
Air-to-AirBeyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile(BVRAAM) has been completely tested and is under induction.

A long-range Astra Missile is also being developed, for which initial tests have been conducted.

Air-to-Ground
 
Rudram is a New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGRAM). It has cleared initial tests

BrahMos which India developed jointly with Russia is already operational

Supersonic missile-assisted torpedo system was also launched recently.

ICBM
 
Agni (range around 5,000): It is India’s only contender for an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), which is available with only a few countries.
Short Range Surface to Surface MissilePrithvi:It is a short-range surface-to-surface missile with a 350 km range.
Anti-Satellite SystemIndia tested an anti-satellite system in 2019.
Hypersonic Technology
 
India has been working on this for a few years and is just behind the US, Russia and China. DRDO has successfully tested a Hypersonic Technology Demonstrated Vehicle (HSTDV) in 2020. Currently, only Russia has proven its hypersonic missile capability so far.

SMART (Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo System) System

News: India has successfully test-fired a long-range Supersonic Missile Assisted Torpedo (SMART) from Wheeler Island in Odisha.

About the SMART System: Torpedoes, self-propelled weapons that travel underwater to hit a target, are limited by their range. To overcome that, the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has developed the SMART system.

This SMART system comprises a mechanism by which the torpedo is launched from a supersonic missile system with modifications that would take the torpedo to a far longer range than its own.

For example, a torpedo with a range of a few kilometers can be sent a distance to the tune of 1000 km by the missile system from where the torpedo is launched.

Features of SMART System

  1. Firstly, it is a canister-based missile system. Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.
  2. Secondly, it consists of advanced technologies two-stage solid propulsion, electro-mechanical actuators and precision inertial navigation.

Significance of SMART System

This will enhance the anti-submarine warfare capability of the Indian Navy far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo.

Moreover, this will promote self-reliance in defence, harnessing of expertise and capabilities.


Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) Missile

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Air Force (IAF) flight have successfully tested helicopter-launched Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) missile from Pokhran ranges.

About SANT Missile: Stand-off Anti-Tank (SANT) is an indigenously designed and developed air-to-surface missile. The missile has been designed and developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad in coordination with other DRDO labs.

Key Features of SANT Missile

  1. Firstly, the missile is equipped with a state-of-the-art Milli Metre Wave (MMW) seeker, which provides high precision strike capability from a safe distance.
  2. Secondly, the missile can neutralize targets in a range of up to 10 km.

Significance of the launch of SANT Missile

In recent times, SANT is the third in the series of indigenous stand-off weapons which has been tested. The others were the long-range bombs and smart anti airfield weapons.

Hence, the missile is expected to further strengthen the arsenal of the Indian Air Force (IAF).


Pinaka-ER

News: The Pinaka-ER Multi Barrel Rocket Launcher System was successfully tested at the Pokhran range in Jaisalmer district.

About Pinaka: Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher. It is used for attacking the adversary targets prior to the close-quarter battles.

About Pinaka-ER: It is the upgraded version of the Pinaka which has been in service with the Indian Army for the last decade.

Designed by: The system is jointly designed by laboratories of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) – Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL), Pune.

Range: The extended range of the new Pinaka is over 70 km, as opposed to the 45 km the system currently has.

Moreover, it has the ability to strike within 10 metres of where it is aimed, allowing the army to destroy a terrorist camp, or an enemy post, logistics dump or headquarters without needing to send soldiers across the border.


Mi-17V5 helicopter

News: Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others died after the Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

About Mi-17V5 helicopter: Mi-17V5 is a Russian-made helicopter which is produced by Kazan Helicopters. It was inducted into the Indian Air Force in February 2012.

Purpose: The Helicopter can carry equipment inside the cargo cabin or an external sling, drop tactical air assault teams and carry the wounded.

Speed: The helicopter can achieve a maximum speed of 250 km per hour.

Weight: The helicopter has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,000 kg. It can transport either 36 armed soldiers internally or 4,500 kg of load on a sling.

Features: It has a digital flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder onboard to monitor flight parameters and cockpit conversations respectively. The helicopter also has the capability to land on unprepared sites at night and in adverse weather conditions.

Apart from India, this helicopter is also used by the air forces of nearly 60 countries, including Russia and Iraq, and is also part of the erstwhile Afghan Air Force.

According to the latest data, the Indian Air Force (IAF) currently has over 200 of these helicopters in service.


Sandhayak

News: The Indian Navy has launched Sandhayak, a survey vessel, in Kolkata.

About Sandhayak: ‘Sandhayak’ is one of the first of the four Survey Vessels (Large) projects being built for the Indian Navy.

Developed by: Defence Public Sector Undertaking, Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Limited.

Purpose:

  1. To conduct a full-scale coastal and deep-water hydrographic survey of ports and harbors and determination of navigational channels and routes.
  2. To collect oceanographic and geophysical data for defense as well as civil applications and
  3. To perform roles such as Search and Rescue and Disaster Relief, besides serving as hospital ships with limited facilities during emergencies.

Name: The ship has taken its name from the first ship of the erstwhile Sandhayak-class survey ships.

Features:  The vessel will have over 80% indigenous content. It is also propelled by two marine diesel engines combined with fixed pitch propellers and fitted with bow and stern thrusters, enabling it to manoeuvre at a low speed during surveys.


Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile

News: India has successfully test-fired the Vertically Launched Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

About VL-SRSAM: VL-SRSAM missile has been indigenously designed and developed by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) for the Indian Navy.

Purpose:  It is meant for neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.

Note: Sea skimming is a technique of flying as close as possible to the sea surface to avoid being detected by the radars onboard warships.

Features: The missile has an operational range of 50 to 60 km. It also features mid-course inertial guidance through a fiber optic gyroscope and active radar homing in the terminal phase.


Controlled Aerial Delivery System (CADS-500)

News: Defence Research and Development Organisation’s R&D lab conducted a flight demonstration of the Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity (CADS-500).

About Controlled Aerial Delivery System of 500 kg capacity (CADS-500)

Developed by: Aerial Delivery Research and Development Establishment (ADRDE), a DRDO Lab located in Agra.

Purpose: It is used for precise delivery of payloads up to 500 kgs at a predetermined location by making use of the maneuverable capabilities of the Ram Air Parachute (RAP).

Features: CADS-500 uses Global Positioning System (GPS) for the coordinates, altitude and heading sensors for the heading information during its flight. It also has an onboard electronics unit that autonomously steers its flight path using waypoint navigation towards the target location by operating controls.


Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS)

News: The United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are shipping weapons into Ukraine. These include highly sensitive items such as shoulder-fired missiles called Man-Portable Air-Defence Systems (MANPADS) that can take down an aircraft.

About MANPADS

MANPADS are short-range, lightweight, and portable surface-to-air missiles that can be fired by individuals or small groups to destroy aircraft or helicopters.

They help shield troops from aerial attacks and are most effective in targeting low-flying aircraft.

The first MANPADS were introduced by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s.

Russia is by far the biggest exporter of MANPADs. Countries such as India, Pakistan, Germany, the UK, Turkey, and Israel have also used MANPADS in their defense efforts.


INS Visakhapatnam

News: The first ship ‘Visakhapatnam’, of the four Project-15B ships, was delivered to the Navy recently. It is a state-of-the-art stealth-guided missile destroyer, being built at the Mazgaon Docks Limited (MDL).

About INS Visakhapatnam

Approximately 75% of the ship is indigenous in nature including weapons systems like medium-range SAMs, torpedo tube launchers, etc.

The design of the ship has been developed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design. It is equipped with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles and long-range Surface-to-Air missiles (SAM).

Project 15B and its significance

The project 15B ships are a follow-on of the Kolkata class (Project 15A) destroyers (INS Kolkata, INS Kochi, and INS Chennai).

The four ships are:

– Visakhapatnam

– Mormugao

– Imphal

– Surat.

These ships feature enhanced stealth features over the earlier class which make it difficult to detect and also feature significant advances in automation and networking.

These ships are propelled by four gas turbines in Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) configuration.

Significance:

The guided-missile Destroyers are deployed for various responsibilities like escort duties with the Carrier Battle Group to protect the Naval fleet against any air, surface, and underwater threats.

These modern warships shall also give an extended Indo-Pacific capability to the Indian Navy against an ever-growing fleet of Chinese submarines.


India’s Submarine strength

News: CBI filed two charge sheets against serving and retired naval officers for allegedly sharing details of the ongoing modernization project of India’s Kilo Class submarines. The Kilo Class comprises imported submarines that are being retrofitted.

India’s submarines capacity

Currently, India has 15 conventional diesel-electric submarines classified as SSKs and one nuclear ballistic submarine, classified as SSBN.

About Conventional diesel-electric submarines classified as SSKs: Among the SSKs:

  • Four are Shishumar Class, which were bought and then built in India in collaboration with the Germans
  • Eight are Kilo Class or Sindhughosh Class bought from Russia (including erstwhile USSR)
  • Three are Kalvari Class Scorpene submarines built at India’s Mazagon Dock in partnership with France’s Naval Group, earlier called DCNS.

About Nuclear ballistic submarines classified as SSBN

  • INS Arihantis a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine built indigenously.
  • INS Arighat, an upgraded version of Arihant is likely to be commissioned within the next few months.

Projects for Submarines

The 30-year plan (2000-30) for indigenous submarine construction was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 1999.

The plan envisages two production lines of six submarines each built in India in partnership with a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). The projects were called P-75 and P-75I.

P-75 has delivered three Kalvari Class Scorpene submarines so far and P-75I is yet to take off.


Shakti – An advanced electronic warfare (EW) system

News: The Prime Minister handed over the advanced electronic warfare system ‘Shakti’ to the Chief of Naval Staff at a ceremony in Jhansi.

About Shakti

Shakti is advanced electronic warfare (EW) system developed for the Indian Navy.

Designed and developed by:  Defence Electronics Research Laboratory in Hyderabad, which is part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Aim: To provide an electronic layer of defense against modern radars and anti-ship missiles to ensure survivability on the maritime battlefield.

The First Shakti system has been installed on board INS Visakhapatnam and is being installed on-board Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikrant.

Key Features of Shakti

Firstly, it has been designed for the Indian Navy’s capital warships for the purposes of interception, detection, classification, identification, and jamming of conventional and modern radars.

Secondly, the system has been integrated with the wideband electronic support measures (ESM) and electronic countermeasures for the defense of Indian Navy ships against missile attacks. The ESM of the system helps in finding accurate direction and interception of modern radars.

Thirdly, the system has a built-in radar fingerprinting and data recording replay feature for post-mission analysis.


Zircon Hypersonic Missile

News: Russia has carried out a successful test of its Zircon hypersonic cruise missile.

About the Zircon Missile

Source: The Sun

Zircon is a Hypersonic Cruise Missile developed by Russia. It has been called one of the invincible missiles by the Russian President.

Special features of Zircon Missile

The missile flies with an advanced fuel that the Russians say gives it a range of up to 1,000 kilometers.

The missile speed is also so fast that the air pressure in front of the weapon forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves and making it practically invisible to active radar systems.

Note: The Zircon will join the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle that was put into service in 2019 and the air-launched Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles in Russia’s arsenal.

Significance for India

This successful test of Zircon is being termed as good news for India as it will hasten the development of the delayed BrahMos-II hypersonic cruise missile, a joint India-Russia project.


AK-203 and Igla-S

News: Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the deal for the manufacture of AK-203 assault rifles in India. Another deal that is likely to make progress is Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) systems.

About AK-203

AK-203 is an assault rifle designed by Russia. It is considered to be the latest and most advanced version of the AK-47 rifle. They will be replacing the Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifles.

Production of AK-203 for India: The production of the AK-203 will be undertaken in India by the Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd (IRRPL). It is a joint venture between the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) and the Russian entities Rosoboronexport and Concern Kalashnikov.

About Igla-S

Igla-S Man-Portable Air Defence System is a Very Short Range Air Defence (VSHORAD) System manufactured by Russia.

Purpose: These missiles are meant to counter low-flying aircraft as the last line of defense against flying objects in a layered air defense system.

Range: It will have a maximum range of 6 km, an altitude of 3 km along with all-weather capability.


INS Vela

News: INS Vela has been commissioned by the Indian Navy.

About INS Vela

INS Vela is the fourth submarine in the series of six Scorpene-Class submarines being built under Project-75.

Vela is a diesel-electric powered attack submarine designed to act as “sea denial” as well as “access denial” warfare to the adversary.

Built by: Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group(earlier DCNS), France.

Home Base: Vela will be commissioned into the Indian Navy’s western command and will be based in Mumbai.

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