Army and Air Force to get new Light Combat Helicopters before March 31
Army and Air Force will be receiving the first batch of the three indigenous Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) before March 31. The delivery will be done by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The deal between force and HAL is to supply 15 Limited Series Production (LSP) LCH Helicopters, which was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC).
The defence ministry will procure LCH from HAL, Harop (P-IV) drones from Israel and will upgrade the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAV) which are in service. All these deals are likely to be concluded in the first quarter of 2021. Army and Air Force have handed the Letter of Intent to the HAL, which will supply the remaining 12 helicopters in next financial year. HAL is also planning to manufacture a civilian version of the LUH.
The Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) of the Indian Army has completed all the tests. It will receive the Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) at the Aero India, since it has displayed its high-altitude capability in both hot and cold weather conditions in September 2020. The range of indigenous aircrafts will be displayed at the Aero India, with the models of Weaponized Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) along with the LCH and LUH.
The MI-17 helicopters may be replaced by a 12 tonne Indian Multi-Role Helicopter (MRH), which is planned by HAL. The Service Quality Requirements are currently being discussed between Army and Air Force.
Tejas Mk1A to have configurations different from Jaguar Darin-III
The ELM-2052 AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) which will be equipped on LCA Tejas MK1A will be different from the LCA Tejas Mk1A will be equipped with the ELM-2052 AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) developed by ELTA. HAL Chairman R Madhavan confirmed that this FCR will be different from the ELM-2052 AESA Radar which is integrated on the Jaguar Darin III. Avionics Division Hyderabad of HAL has been given the charge to develop these Radars under Transfer of Technology from IAI subsidiary, ELTA.
As per the designs, Jaguar Darin III has smaller nose size as compared to that of Tejas Mk1A. Therefore, the ELM-2052 AESA Radar on Tejas Mk1A will have higher power supply. To adapt to the aircraft nose limitations, ELTA’s ELM-2052 AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) has a scalable antenna size. The antenna of ELM-2052 on Jaguar Darin III will have over Five Hundred Transmitter Receiver models (TRM). Since the antenna of Tejas Mk1A is bigger in size, it will have 700-800 Transmitter Receiver Models (TRM).
Although the Uttam Radar developed by LRDE has majority of its development phase, it’s difficult that it will replace ELM-2052 AESA Fire Control Radar (FCR) in Tejas Mk1A. HAL has full plans to replace it after production.
Upgraded drone to assist CRPF in operations in Maoist areas
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) is planning to upgrade its armoury by adding updated gadgets to it. CRPF will be using upgraded version of Netra-V2 named ‘Micro UAV A-410’. These plans are being made to make the forces ready for any anti-extremist operation in the Maoists areas. These areas include 90 Maoist affected districts in 11 states in India.
Micro UAV A-410 weighs around 6 kg with payload and battery. It has a cruise speed of 35 km per hour. It can fly for 60 minutes at an altitude of 600 meters while covering an area of 5 kilometers in one go. It is equipped with dual camera to enhance vision during day and night operations. Day Camera comes with resolution of 1,280 X 720 pixels, while night camera has thermal imaging capacity of 640 X 480 pixel resolution. The day camera has 10X optical and 4X digital zoom, while night camera has 4X digital zoom. This drone has proved to be an important asset in during surveillance, reconnaissance and rescue operations in the Maoist affected areas.
This drone is manufactured by Asteria Aerospace under ‘Make in India’ program and will be inducted in CRPF by April or May 2021. One Micro UAV A-410 costs between Rs. 12-15 Lakh. The Ministry of Home Affairs is planning to procure 40 such drones for the use.
Army Chief General M.M. Naravane has expressed his views regarding the cyber warfare and said that information security can prove to be the biggest threat to national security. He was addressing a program on ‘India’s National Security Scenario: Past, Present and Future’ virtually. He said that national security is not just limited to armed security
He named these threats as the non-traditional threats, Cyber Warfare being one of them. Since all the public sector and government data is available online, any breach in the security data can leak the sensitive information of our country. A big cyber-attack can shake the economy and has the ability to handicap any government machinery.
He explained the significance of six important foundations of National Security, like Army Security, Financial Security, Health Security, Food Security, Energy Security and Environment Security. Safeguarding all of these requires efforts of the entire nation. He gave the example of the attack on Saudi Oil Fields in 2019 and conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia. One thing common in these two incidents is the use of drones. He gave many such examples of drones being used of launching precision attacks.
Army Chief stressed on giving more attention to development of infrastructure that will benefit the citizens along with the national security. He praised the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ scheme, explaining its strategic necessity in the defence sector. The security of nation cannot be compromised with. India will be able to attract more investments if its land, air and sea borders are safe.
He motivated youth to make contribution towards national security and fulfill their dreams. He told about ideaForge, a company set up by the students of IIT Bombay, which has acquired the deal to manufacture high altitude drones for Indian Army at an amount of Rs. 30 crores. He asked students to adopt new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Long Range Precision Technology, 5G and Quantum Computing.