Upgraded Hawk successful in firing 1st Smart Weapon
The Hawk-i successfully test-fired the Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from the Odisha coast on 21st January 2021, the first weapon to be fired from it. SAAW, weighing 125 kg, can destroy enemy radars, bunkers, and runways within a range of 100 km. It is an aircraft launched, advanced, and precision striking vehicle. It was previously test-fired from the Jaguar aircraft of the IAF.
Focusing on Atmanirbhar Bharat, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has upgraded the Indian Air Force’s fleet with 100 advanced Hawk Jet Trainers. It is an aircraft designed in Britain and built-in India. For the last few years, IAF has been struggling with a substantial fall in fleet strength and a lesser number of combat aircraft. This move can be termed as a ‘low-cost’ home-built solution by the HAL. The Hawk aircraft is now upgraded to ‘Hawk-i,’ with carrying capacity increased to 3 tonnes of weapons or fuel. It was dedicated to nation by Arun Jaitley in 2017, the then defence minister of India.
The earlier version played the role of a trainer aircraft along with some sensors and weapons during peacetime. Now it has been transformed into a potent combat aircraft to be used during wartime. HAL is in talks with the Indian Armed Forces to integrate various weapons on the Hawk.
HAL is trying to equip Hawk with Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and the Brimstone Air-to-Surface Missile, both the missiles tracing their origin to Britain. This cost-effective move can prove to be a problem solver and game-changer for the Indian Armed Forces.
Women to now be a part of CoBRA Battalion, as per the CRPF Chief
CRPF Chief AP Maheshwari said that the force is eyeing to induct women in CoBRA.
CoBRA (Commando Battalion for Resolute Action) has ten units with around 12,000 personnel, specialized in jungle warfare. This battalion was raised in 2009 to undertake intelligence-based jungle warfare operations. ‘Mahila’, the first battalion to induct women personnel, was raised in 1986, currently having six units.
The soldiers inducted in CoBRA have to undergo tough mental and physical parameters. Most of the CoBRA teams are stationed in Naxal affected states and Northeastern states to counter the insurgency operations.
CRPF is India’s main internal security combat unit and the largest paramilitary force with over 3.25 lakh personnel.
Drone demand for Army gets fulfilled, ideaForge bags the biggest deal
A $20 Million deal was signed between the Indian Army and ideaForge, an Indian drone maker firm, to procure high altitude variant of the SWITCH UAV. During the recent face-off with China, Army realized the need for drones for better surveillance and vigilance. Thus, the deal was finalized for an undisclosed quantity of drones.
ideaForge was the prime supplier of drones for the Army, but this time it bagged the biggest deal as far as the number of drones is considered. Earlier, India used to be dependent on Chinese firms for manufacturing and supply of drones. This deal shows the trust of armed forces in Made in India equipments.
SWITCH UAV had been customized by the ideaForge, looking at the increasing tensions between India and China. The military needed drones that are less in weight and can provide better visuals of the enemy territory. The drone should function well in the tough mountainous region. ideaForge met up to the expectations, the main reason it got the bulk order competing with tech giants such as Tata Group, Dynamatic Technologies and Elbit, and Israeli firm.
The company was founded by Ankit Mehta, an IIT alumnus, in his college days in 2008. It got the backing of marquee investors like WRVI, Infosys and Qualcomm. The company is now in talk with foreign military forces for the products. ideaForge is by far India’s largest drone manufacturer for Defence, Internal security, Transportation sector and industrial needs.
Indian Navy strengthens its ties with Singapore Navy, assures support during submarine disasters
India and Singapore have signed the Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation, under which the Indian Navy will help Singapore during any maritime emergency or submarine disaster. Indian and Singaporean Defence Ministers signed the agreement at the Defence Minister’s Dialogue held through video conferencing. This agreement focuses on enhancing India’s military diplomacy in the region and defence cooperation between them.
Indian Navy will help the Singapore Navy to rescue submarines that are unable to reach the surface. Deep-Sea Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) of the Indian Navy, which now has a third-generation submarine rescue capability, will then come into action to solve this problem. India acquired two DSRVs in 2018, but it could only help the United States during this distress.
DSRV can reach distant locations during such emergencies as they can be carried easily through air or road. It has a Submarine Rescue Vessel, Side Scan Sonar, Remote Operations Vehicle, and other technical equipments. Around 40 countries have active submarine operations, but very few are capable of submarine rescue operations.
The Defence Ministers were satisfied with the exercises conducted by the two navies recently. The 27th edition of the Singapore India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) successfully enhanced interoperability between the two navies. Both Navies also participated in the Singapore India Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX). Both exercises were held in November 2020.
India is looking to promote peace and stability in the Indian Ocean Region by participating in bilateral and multilateral deals. This will help India gain a diplomatic advantage against China and also in extending its outreach.