Indigenous Akash Missile system to be exported to friendly nations
Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by PM Narendra Modi has cleared indigenous Akash Missile system to be exported to friendly nations. This will help attain the twin objectives of achieving global defense export target of $5 Bn and improving strategic relations with these nations.
DRDO has been given charge of developing baseline. Akash missile system and its ecosystem (launchers, control centers, re-loaders, guidance and surveillance radars) is customized as required by respective country.
However, the export variant will be different from the one used in India, as these are designed to operate in desert as well as high altitude conditions. As many countries do not have such extreme terrain conditions, hence changes in hardware, storage capabilities, and advance algorithms and fine-tuned radar software programmed for these conditions won’t be needed by other nations.
The export variants of Akash missile will be made temper-proof to limit unauthorized modifications and any kind of reverse engineering of technology. This will protect Indian Intellectual Property Rights and cater to warranty issues and possible delivery of faulty components to target customers.
As many as 9 countries have asked for demonstration and evaluation trials of Akash missile system. Vietnam has asked for Transfer of Technology while other countries will be going for off-the-shelf purchase.
DRDO proposed to manufacture in L&T’s facilities a line of at least 500 light tanks
DRDO has proposed to manufacture in L&T’s facilities a line of at least 500 light tanks which will be powered by some 28-tonne chassis, hull and engine that powers the K-9 Vajra. After delivering 100th K-9 Vajra system by February, L&T’s ASC Hazira production line will fall silent. But Army hasn’t given a go ahead to this project as it has not yet shared Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements (PSQR).
The K-9 Vajra artillery turret mounts a heavy, 155 mm gun that shoots over the horizon whereas the light tank will have a smaller turret with a direct firing, high pressure 105 mm gun, ready-built by Belgian firm John Cockerill. Over last decade Army has raised two independent armored brigades, one for operations in Ladakh and other for Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, each fielding 175-200 tanks. This is an addition to 2 regiments (45 tanks each) that already defended China border. These 50 tanks, 43 tonne, T-72 M1s, are too large and heavy to be carried and operated on high altitude, mountainous terrain. The low level of oxygen hinders operation as engine of T-72 are not customized accordingly. In order to tackle Chinese threat and raise tanks to face China’s ZTQ-15 deployed on Tibetan plateau opposite Eastern Ladakh, DRDO wishes to replace T-72 with light tanks built for rugged borders. Engineers of Central Vehicle R&D Establishment, Chennai are working to reduce the weight of Vajra tanks to about 30 tonnes along with L&T.
Due to this, Vajra’s 1000 hp German MTU engine and Allison transmission will create sufficient mobility for light tank at high altitudes where engines deliver less than 80% of power than sea level. 105 mm gun fires armours piercing ammunitions and high-explosive shells to destroy enemy targets. Each tank will have 127 mm heavy machine gun and a co-axial 7.62 mm medium machine gun along with retractable missile launcher to fire anti-tank guided missiles to destroy targets out to 2.5 km.
CDS Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria visited Ladakh
Amid the stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh, CDS Bipin Rawat and IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauriya visited Ladakh and discussed operational issues with senior IAF and Indian Army officials.
Both sides have around 50,000 troops each in the region, along with additional air defence assets, artillery and tanks. Meanwhile, a slight thinning of troops on both sides was observed recently although only in depth areas and not from frontlines. As per senior Army officer, China is consolidating and digging its heels by building infrastructure near LAC including Galwan valley and Spanggur Gap. India is also building infrastructure on its side of LAC.
CDS received comprehensive briefing at XV Corps HQ at Leh and IAF Chief visited Advanced Landing Grounds including Daulat Beg Oldie and Nyoma. They were briefed about status of deployed forces at air bases and forward areas. IAF Chief also received ongoing logistic operations for support and sustenance of troops in winter season. He was provided security overview in respective subsectors.