IAF’s prowess in Desert Flag exercise
Desert Flag-VI is underway at the UAE’s Al-Dhafra airbase with participation of countries like the US, the UAE, France, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain. The Indian Air Force is participating for the first time in the exercise and its contingent includes six Su-30MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft. The UAE Air Force organizes this exercise every year that oversees multinational large force employment warfare exercise. The Su-30MKI aircraft took off for the exercise area supported by mid-air refueller, IL-78 tanker aircraft. C-17 Globemaster would be supporting induction and de-induction of the IAF contingent. The exercise aims to train the participating forces to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment besides providing them operational exposure. The exercise will enhance the operational capabilities of the participating forces as their will be mutual exchange of best practices, knowledge, experience and interoperability among the forces. This will strengthen international relations. IAF tweeted about the exercise,” #ExDesertFlag- IAF soaring high and united in the blue skies over United Arab Emirates”.
Airbus 330 to refuel Indian Rafales mid-air
The Rafale fighters that will fly from France in April would be provided mid-air refueling by UAE’s Airbus 330 multi-role transport tankers so that the aircrafts can fly non-stop to India. The second base of Rafale fighters located in Bengal’s Hasimara would be activated in April. The first squadron of the Rafale jets is stationed in Ambala airbase. As a part of first batch, five Rafale jets arrived in India in July 29 2020, almost four years after the Indian government signed a deal with France to procure 36 aircraft for Rs. 59,000 crores. A second batch of three fighter jets arrived on November 3 and third batch arrived on January 27 with three more jets. The Indian Air Force (IAF) sought UAE’s help as it found earlier that French refuellers slowed down the speed of the fleet of fighter jets. A squadron is made up of around 18 aircraft. After around 23 years when Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia, the Rafale jets are India’s first major acquisition. Rafale’s weapons package will consist of European missile maker MBDA’s Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile, MICA weapons system and Scalp cruise missile. The IAF is about to procure Hammer, a new generation medium-range modular air-to-ground weapon system, to be integrated with the Rafale jets. French defence major Safran has developed Hammer (Highly Agile Modular Munition Extended Range) which is a precision-guided missile. Meteor is the next generation BVRAAM designed to revolutionize air-to-air combat.
Secretive nuclear missile tracking vessel
India enters a league of four nations by quietly commissioning a secretive nuclear tracking vessel named VC 11184, the specialized Ocean Surveillance Ship in October in a low-key ceremony. The vessel is capable of monitoring missile launches at long distances, enhancing the testing and adds a crucial part to nation’s missile defence system. A joint crew of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will operate the ship along with Indian Navy. The other four countries operating similar vessels are the US, France, China and Russia. The vessel’s ability to traverse the oceans enables it to monitor India’s developmental trials of missiles of greater range. The 15000 tonne ship with specialized surveillance systems of three dome-shaped antennas packed with sensors can also detect launches by Pakistan and China. The tracking radars of the ship will be powered by 14 MW of power generated by the vessel itself. The Rs. 725 crore project is one of the largest ships built at an Indian yard showcasing progress made by the country under Make in India program.
GSL delivers new class OPV
Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) delivered third in the class of 05 Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) on 15 March 2021 ahead of its scheduled time. The largest and most advanced 105 meters long new generation OPV was handed over to Coast Guard despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 Pandemic. The ship has improved performance parameters with the enhanced indigenized content of critical machinery designed entirely in-house by the professionals of GSL. These vessels have most modern and technologically advanced machinery and computerized controls systems. The vessel will add to the strength of the Coast Guard Fleet protecting the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of territorial waters of the nation.
INS Talwar to visit Bahrain
Indian Naval Ships have been frequently visiting Bahrain to ensure deep-rooted, multi-faceted growing cooperation between India and Bahrain. In keeping with this spirit, Indian Naval Ship INS Talwar will arrive at Mina Salman Port on 15 March. It is the lead ship of Talwar class Guided Missile Frigates, commissioned on June 18 2003. The warship displaces about 3700 tons and can attain speed in excess of 30 knots (about 55kmph). The ship’s weapon and sensors are quite impressive enabling it to tackle threats from the air, sea and undersea. It’s combat power is supplemented by its integral Helicopter. It is run by a professional team of 25 officers and 220 sailors. The Indian Navy has started Maritime Security Operations named Operation SANKALP in the Gulf Region in June 2019. The operations aim to ensure safe passage for Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz, guarding them against the maritime security situation prevailing in the Gulf Region. INS Talwar has been deployed for the Operation SANKALP and is serving in the Gulf Region.