VL-SRSAM successfully test-fired
The first Vertically Launched Short Range Surface test to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) was successfully conducted from a defense facility center off the Odisha Coast. The missile’s induction in the future will give a major boost to Armed Forces as it is equipped with an active high-end radio frequency seeker for targets having low radar cross-sections and provides more maneuverability.
The missile provides point and area defense against aerial targets and ensures 360-degree interception, with a strike range of about 40 km. It has a high kill probability and can identify, track, engage and destroy the target.
Around 8,000 people residing in a radius of 2 km were evacuated as a part of safety measures. Temporary shelters were arranged for them by the Balasore District Administration and the Odisha Government. DRDO has planned two rounds of the tests.
Russian 11356 Frigate on sale
The Yantar Shipyard (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation) submitted proposals to Russia’s Defence Ministry about the options of completing the construction of Project 11356 frigate Admiral Kornilov. The shipbuilders were about to build 6 Project 11356 frigates for the Black Sea fleet. The Yantar Shipyard has delivered three frigates to the Russian Navy. The three hulls were put afloat but were left without Ukrainian-made engines.
A contract was signed on constructing the 4th and 5th hulls for India, which purchased the required engines in Ukraine. As far as the 6th ship is concerned, its owner is yet to be decided. Its hull has been formed, and after resolving the main propulsion unit issue, it will be built further. Russian Project 11356 frigates carry Kalibr-NK cruise missiles.
51% of Tejas Fighters to have AESA Radar
At least 51% of the 123 LCA Tejas (Light Combat Aircraft) fighter jets inducted into the Indian Air force (IAF) will be equipped with indigenous Uttam ASEA radar. Forty fighter aircraft that are in initial and final operational clearance (IOC and FOC) configurations will have Israeli mechanical radars, whereas 83 Mk-1A jets will have Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for these radars. The indigenous content in Tejas aircraft is planned to be raised to 62% to 65% according to the government’s plan of indigenization of defense equipment and weapons.
Uttam can track multiple targets and take high-resolution pictures to add to reconnaissance. The range of the radar should be commensurate to launch a Beyond Visual Range Missile (BVRAM). Three basic Uttam Radar modes have been tested on the executive jet – air to air, air to sea, and air to ground. The 4th mode that will also be tested is navigation terrain avoidance and weather mode (Rain bearing Clouds). Developed by LRDE (Electronics and Radar Development Establishment) of DRDO, Uttam allows aircraft to boast of the low probability of intercept and non-cooperative target recognition.
Indo-Russian strategic cooperation
The declaration on Strategic Partnership was signed between India and Russia on October 3, 2000. Since then, the relationship between the two nations has gained strength and has become a unique example of cooperation. However, the two nations have been defense partners since the Soviet era as India has largely been the biggest importers of Russian arms. The countries’ interaction ranges from politics, security, trade, and economic cooperation to science, technology, and culture. Russia and India share platforms and ideologies as far as the Arctic and the Far East issues are concerned.
Russian Indian cooperation extends to the space research arena and Satellite launches, the GLONASS navigation system, remote sensing, etc. Russia supports India in its quest for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It recognizes India as a responsible nuclear power and trusts it with nuclear non-proliferation commitment. In the energy sector, Russian major Rosneft works with one of India’s major refineries, and the area of interaction extends up to oil refining and oil production. The GAIL gas company has signed a contract with Russia’s Gazprom to supply 2.5 million tonnes of energy per year. Russia can prove to be a major partner in India’s shift towards the renewable energy sector. The relations between the two nations have survived various international strategic headwinds. This is quite evident with the fact that in spite of CAATSA (Countering Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) sanctions by the USA, India’s deal with Russia regarding S-400 Triumf missile systems was not affected.
The military-technical cooperation has converted from a buyer-seller scheme to a system of joint research, development, and production of advanced defense systems. Examples of this cooperation are the BrahMos missile system, licensed production of Su-30 aircraft, and T-90 tanks in India. In 1986, the Soviet Union became the first to base a nuclear submarine. India prefers to lease submarines from Russia rather than produce or directly import. Moscow has signed a deal with New Delhi for a ten years lease on the “Seat” project SSBNs. In the naval field, there is a contract to build 4 Project 11356 frigates.
Russia has offered India joint development of various fighter jets, military transport vehicles, and civilian aircraft. An enterprise for repairing Russian engines for Mi-17 transport helicopters will be opened in India this year. India’s defense deals with Russia rose to $ 14 Billion in 2019, or nearly 30% of Russia’s weapon portfolio in recent years. Even with US defense technology making its presence felt in the Indian markets, Russian equipment is still considered important by the Indian Defence Establishment, so much so that India’s position as the leading importer of Russian arms will not be shaken early.