IAF plans deployment of S-400 Air Defence System
Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to operationalize the first regiment of S-400 Air Defence System by April 2022. The IAF plans to deploy this air defence system in such a way that it acts as a shield to the National Capital Region (NCR) from the western side. As per the agreement, The S-400 long range air defence system will be livered from Russia by November 2021, and the ground work for deployment of this system has started. Currently, over 100 IAF officers are undergoing training in Russia to get the first hand experience to operate the S-400 system. The second regiment is planned to be delivered by May – June 2022, and the remaining 3 systems will be received by India in early months of 2023.
A command post vehicle, a long range Radar, two battalion of launchers and a target acquisition radar will together form one regiment of S-400 system. Each battalion in the regiment will have 8 launchers with each launcher having 4 tubes. Russia has offered 4 variants of this system to India, but India decided to continue with 2 variants, having range of 400 kms and 250 kms respectively. For lower ranges of 25 km and 90 km, India will bank on MRSAM and Akash Air Defence System. The IAF has decided not to integrate S-400 system batteries with Israeli or Indian air defence system. S-400 air defence system will function as a standalone system under the jurisdiction of Air Defence Command, having Headquarters in Allahabad. This command will monitor air assets of all the 3 forces, viz. Army, Navy and IAF.
IAF has decided to deploy minimum of 3 regiments in the western sector, to keep an eye on Pakistan and protect the central and northern region from any mishappening. One regiment will be deployed in the eastern and north eastern sector, to counter China’s aggression. The S-400 system will be deployed in the region far away from the border, owing to its missile interceptor range of 250 km and 400 km.
4 more Rafale jets arrive in the country, 2nd Squadron to be operational soon
The second squadron of Rafale fighter jets, named as 101 squadron, which was planned to be operationalized in June 2021, will now be operationalized earlier than planned as 4 jets landed in the country on Thursday, increasing the count to 18 aircraft. The aircraft landed at Jamnagar Air Base in Gujarat, before taking off for Ambala Air Base. These fighter jets were flagged off by Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauriya on Wednesday. He thanked the French Government and Dassault Aviation for delivering the aircraft on time, despite the pandemic. On the other hand, the third batch of Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots and maintenance crew have completed their training at the Rafale Training Centre in France on Wednesday.
The new squadron will be based in Hasimara Air Base, also known as Wing 16 or Lethal 16, in West Bengal to keep an eye on the north easter borders with China. This air base is currently under construction and will be ready for operation from May 2021. The construction was expected to be completed by April, but the outbreak of pandemic and heavy rains in the region delayed the work. The squadron is also known as ‘Falcons of the Chhamb and Akhnoor’. It got its name after successfully tackling a full fledged attack from Pakistan in the India – Pakistan War of 1965.
Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauriya visited the Rafale Conversion Training Centre (CTC), Bordeaux-Merignac and met the Indian contingent. He is on a 5 day visit to the country for enhancing the interaction level between the two air forces. He will visit the airbases and operational facilities in the country and meet the military officials with an aim to enrich the bilateral defence relations.
India offers help to search missing Indonesian submarine
An Indonesian submarine went missing with 53 crew on board. KRI-Nanggala-402, a 44 year old submarine was conducting a torpedo drill north of the island of Bali but could not relay results on Wednesday. Two navy vessels with sonar capability began search and rescue operations after an oil spill was found near the submarine’s dive location during aerial search. The oil slick could be a signal from the crew or could indicate damage to the vessel. The diesel-powered submarine that runs on electric batteries can sustain a depth of 250-500 metres while being submerged and anything more than that can prove dangerous. The Indonesian Navy said in its statement that during static diving a blackout might have occurred due to which control might have been lost and emergency procedures could not be carried out resulting in the fall of the ship to a depth of 600-700 metres. However the seas in that particular area are shallower but could be more than 1500 metres deep. Neighboring countries such as Australia, Singapore and India have offered assistance. The submarine was built in Germany in 1977 and joined the Indonesian fleet in 1981. It also went through a two-year refit in South Korea in 2012. Earlier Indonesia operated a fleet of 12 submarines bought from the Soviet Union while now it has a fleet of only five including two German-built Type 209 submarines and three newer South Korean vessels. Indonesian defence equipment are ageing due to which there have been deadly accidents in recent years. To aid in search and rescue operations Indian Navy has dispatched its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) from Vishakhapatnam. The DSRV has a Side Scan Sonar for locating the position of submarine in distress. The vessel provides immediate relief by posting Emergency Life Support Containers with the help of Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). In such kinds of accidents rapidity of response is most crucial to save lives. The DSRV has been dispatched in a Flyaway configuration so that the rescue system can rapidly reach the exact location of the distressed submarine. Indian DSRVs have been supplied by M/S James Fishes Defence, UK, based on the West and East Coast of India to provide redundancy, high operational availability and early response to deal with submarine contingency. The DSRV also facilitates live underwater mating with different types of submarines along with transfer of personnel from submarine to DSRV which helps in submarine crew rescue.