Retiring Kiran aircraft will be converted to pilotless aircraft


State owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has cleared the documentation stage and has started the conversion of HJT-16 Kiran to a pilotless manned aircraft. HAL has planned this process last year. HJT-16 Kiran is a two seater intermediate jet powered trainer aircraft, which is nearing the completion of its service age. It has been a part of Indian Defence for last 40 years, with the youngest aircraft of the fleet being 32 years old.

HAL has first started converting the Kiran aircraft that have already been retired from service. These Mk1 jets were released by the Indian Air Force (IAF) and were preserved by the HAL. These aircraft will be developed in such a way that they will form a next generation unmanned combat aircraft fleet, equipped with the latest technologies. HAL may also use pilotless Kiran aircraft as the aerial targets for testing of air to air weapon systems. Presently, Banshee drone is used as a target for these systems. The long rang air to air missiles, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) also needs maneuverable targets. Pilotless Kiran can be the solution for both the defence systems.   




Rustom 1 of CRPF crash landed in Jagdalpur


As per the reports, Rustam 1, maneuvered by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), has crashed in the Bastar region in Chhattisgarh. Rustam 1 is a long endurance and medium altitude Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), deployed in the naxal hotbed, to help the Central Reserved Police Force (CRPF) in anti-maoist operations. The demonstration trials for these operations were being conducted, when the UAV crash landed in the outer perimeter wall of the Jagdalpur Base station of CRPF, 15 km away from Bastar. This region has the newly shifted strategic technical command center of the UAVs.

Rustom1 is used to track the activities of naxals in this region, and it was brought here 2 weeks ago. The ADE crew controls and operates the UAV. This incident happened few days after the ADE claimed that Rustom 1 has cleared the trials demonstrating its Auto take off and auto landing capabilities. The ADE has stated that human error by remote pilot is the reason behind the crashing of the UAV.




Indian Army gifts 1 lakh Covid-19 vaccines to Nepal Army


Nepal Army received 1 lakh doses of the anti Covid-19 vaccines from the Indian Army on 28th March 2021. The Air India aircraft carried these ‘Made in India’ vaccines to the Tribhuvan International Airport, Kathmandu, where the officials of Indian Army handed over the medicines to Nepal Army officials. In January 2021, India has delivered 1 million doses of vaccines to Nepal.

Considering Nepal as a trusted neighbour, India has always come forward to help the landlocked nation in any emergency situation. Last Year, in the initial stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nepal received medicines and testing kits from India.  


South Korea and India agree on joint production and export of military hardware


India and South Korea have decided to collaborate for joint production of military hardware. Both nations will also work on enhancing intelligence sharing and providing mutual support on subjects related to cyber and space domains. The meeting between Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and South Korean Defence Minister Suh Wook was fruitful for both the countries, as it cleared paths for augmenting strategic defence ties and improving bilateral relationships. They both discussed about the similarities between India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and South Korea’s ‘Southern Policy’.

Both sides have resolved to focus on the principle of Joint Research, Joint Production and Joint Export. Since last few years, India has received a good number of weapon and defence systems from South Korea. South Korea has shown keen interest in the development of 2 defence industrial corridors in the country, which will be set up in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. These corridors will enhance the connectivity between various defence industrial units spread across the nation. South Korea wants to seize the opportunity and invest in different ventures being undertaken under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

South Korea will host the UN Peacekeeping Ministerial Meet in December 2021. India, having a good experience of UN peacekeeping operations, has ensured its participation in the meet. The South Korean Defence Minister is on a 3 day visit to India. He also discussed with his Indian counterpart about the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the defence systems’ production and engagement. He visited Agra and demonstrated the capabilities and strengths of the Indian Special Forces. 




Cochin Shipyard Limited’s new facility center at West Bengal to start production by June 2021


The Modern Shipbuilding Facility Center of the state owned Cochin Shipyard Limited will be operationalized from June 2021. The Public Sector Unit (PSU) is setting up this center in Nazirgunge, West Bengal at a cost of Rs. 170 crores. This center will help in development and production of river/sea cargo vessels for liquids, container and passenger transport, Ro-Ro vessels and other vessels for Inland Waterways.

‘Vigyana Sagar’ is a new marine engineering training institute set up by the Cochin Shipyard Limited. This institute was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 14th February 2021. It has also bagged the contract worth Rs. 10,000 crores from the Indian Navy to manufacture next generation missile vessels. It emerged as the lowest bidder.

It has also got into an agreement with the IHC Bolland BV and Dredging Corporation to build the world class dredgers in India. This will reduce India’s dependence on foreign dredgers, and will reduce the burden on treasury by Rs. 2,000 crores annually. CSL is India’s leading shipyard and has delivered 2 Aframax tankers. These were the largest double hull tankers, each with 95,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT), to be manufactured in India. CSL has the infrastructure to repair ships up to 1,25,000 DWT and develop and manufacture new ships up to 1,10,000 DWT.