Indian Navy’s TROPEX-21
Indian Navy’s largest war game – the Biennial Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX-21) is underway with the participation of all operational units of the Indian Navy (Ships, Submarines, and Aircraft) as well as the units from the Indian Army, Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Indian Coast Guards (ICG). The exercise going on in the vast Indian Ocean Region, including its adjunct waters, aims to test the Navy’s combat readiness in a complex multidimensional scenario vis a vis current geostrategic environment. The conduct of TROPEX is being overseen by Naval Headquarters with participation on all three commands of the Indian Navy and the Tri-services command at the Port Blair.
The different phases of TROPEX oversee the transition of the Indian Navy from peacetime to hostilities. The first phase saw a coastal defense exercise named ‘Sea Vigil’ along the entire coastline and island territories of India in the second week of January. The exercise saw the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Police of 13 coastal states and union territories, and other stakeholders in the maritime domain. The exercise aims to test coastal security build-up and readiness of the security forces to tackle contingencies arising from the maritime domain, especially testing revamped security after the 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks.
This was followed by large-scale tri-service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX-21, conducted in the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands from 21st to 25th January. This exercise aimed to validate India’s capabilities to safeguard its islands’ territorial integrity and enhance operational synergy and joint warfare capabilities among the three services.
The Weapon Workup phase witnessed multiple ‘On Target’ ordnance deliveries, including missiles, torpedoes, and rockets from frontline warships, aircraft, and submarines. This phase saw the Indian Navy’s lethal firepower and reaffirmed its capability to carry out long-range maritime strikes in the Indian Ocean Region. The exercise is aimed to home warfighting skills of the Navy, bolster its role towards maritime security, promote peace and stability in IOR, keeping with the theme of being a ‘Combat Ready, Credible and Cohesive Force.’
India’s Defence Export in last five years worth Rs. 34,000 Crores
Replying to Lok Sabha’s question, Minister of State for Defence Sripad Naik stated that India had exported military hardware and equipment worth over Rs. 34,000 crores in the last five years. Total exports by both private and Defence PSUs were:
VALUE (in Rs.)
# – current fiscal year till January 2021
He also mentioned that export authorization had been granted for torpedo loading mechanism, night vision monocular and binocular, lightweight torpedo and fire control systems, armored protection vehicles, weapons locating radar, and coastal surveillance radars. FDI inflows of over Rs. 4,191 crores have been reported by various companies operating in the defense and aerospace sector. Minister also mentioned that 124 Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun Mark 1 have been inducted into the Indian Army since 2008, and two armored regiments are fully operational with these tanks. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an upgraded MBT Arjun Mark 1A tank. Out of 191 defense capital acquisition deals in the last three years, 118 contracts have been placed with the Indian industry. Moreover, 58% of total expenditure on capital acquisition in the last three years has been made on indigenous procurement.
Ninox 40 to be introduced in India
Spear UAV – developers and suppliers of Unique Aircraft Systems (UAS) from Israel have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Indian company, Paras Aerospace, to introduce the unique encapsulated Ninox 40 system to the Indian market. India faces multiple external, internal, and natural threats. These drones can be used by military forces, paramilitary, internal security, law enforcement agencies, and disaster response forces in their missions.
Designed for single war operation, the Ninox 40 is a micro tactical, cost-effective drone system featuring an encapsulated drone and control unit. Weighing under 250 g, it is lightweight enough to be incorporated in a soldier’s vest and carried on a person during combat operations within regulatory limitations. Ninox 40 has a flight capacity of up to 40 minutes, ISTAR capabilities, day and night camera, automatic tracking, and can be launched on the move and from undercover even in harsh environmental conditions. Spear UAV and Paras Aerospace’s cooperation would leverage their unique technologies and cater to Indian security and defense needs.
MoU to develop Light Business Jets signed
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) wholly-owned subsidiary Naini Aerospace Limited (NAeL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bengaluru based Genser Aerospace for cooperation in the design and development of Genjet Light Business Jet called GLJ3X1 RAJAS. Genser Aerospace has proposed developing two variants of its Genjet GLJ3X1 called RAJAS Kuleen, which can carry 2+7 people to travel across Indian and SAARC countries. It has an MTOW of 4990 kg, will be powered by Twin Turbofan engines generating 9.3 KN, each with a range of 3300 km and a max cruise speed of 0.79 Mach.
The second variant, called Genjet GLJ3X1 RAJAS Rakshan, could be used for VVIP transport, aerial and maritime reconnaissance missions and could be optionally piloted. Genser Aerospace has displayed scaled models of these aircraft in Aero India 2021. The company claims that Light Business Jet’s requirements worldwide are around 1200 by 2023, of which 50% are in the Indian domestic market.
DRDO Chief tells plans for Astra missiles
Satheesh Reddy, Chief of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said that the first trial of the next generation long-range BVR air to air missile (BVRAAM), Astra Mk2, is scheduled to be conducted later this year, while its production is expected to start in 2023. This missile will have a range of 160+ km in the head-on chase and 40 km during the tail chase. It has borrowed most of its technologies, like the dual pulse motor from Astra Mk1. It will be mounted on the newly upgraded Sukhoi-30 MkI fighter jets that will undergo minor modifications.
Also, Astra Mk3, which is being co-developed by Russia, will start its development trials in 2023. It is equipped with a solid-fueled air-breathing Ramjet engine and will have a range of 70-340 km in power ‘ON’ mode. It comes under the Very long-range BVR air to air missile.