US Navy’s TRCSG’s joint exercise with Indian Navy
The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group (TRCSG) conducted joint multi-domain exercise with the Indian Navy and Indian Air Force (IAF) in the Indian Ocean on March 28-29, 2021. The two forces share common vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The maritime traditions and values that the countries share makes their training together more productive and meaningful. Their joint value far exceeds their individual efforts to promote security, stability and economic prosperity through enforcement of the international rules-based order. The exercise saw complex operations such as anti-submarine warfare, command and control (C2) integration and joint air operations. TRCSG’s USS Bunker Hill (CG 52), its embarked Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM 75), the “Wolf Pack”, USS Russell (DGG 59) and USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 7) operated with INS Shivalik (F 47) with embarked helicopter, Maritime Patrol Aircraft (P-8I) from INAS 312- “the Albatross” and the IAF aircraft from Squadron no. 222- “the Tigersharks”. The TRCSG is on a scheduled deployment to the US Navy’s largest forward deployed fleet, the 7th Fleet that operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20000 sailors. Its area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometres from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border and from Kurile Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific. The Fleet interacts with around 35 nations and their maritime forces to build up security and maintain stability in the region. It conducts wide range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea.
The exercise also saw the participation of IAF’s Su-30MKIs, armed with BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. The deployment of BrahMos-armed Su-30MKIs at Thanjavur enhances the strike range of the Indian forces deep in the Indian Ocean. From Thanjavur, the aircraft can reach up to the Malacca Strait, a 500 nautical-mile-long narrow chokepoint between Malaysia and Singapore that links the Indian Ocean with the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. A large part of China’s trade including 80% of its oil supplies passes through Malacca Strait. The fighters can hit targets in the Western and Southern Indian Ocean. The exercise showcases the joint power of the US and India in maritime domain.
French Joint Forces Commander meets his Indian counterpart
A French naval delegation led by Rear Admiral Jacques Fayard, French Joint Forces Commander in the Indian Ocean (ALINDIEN) met Vice Admiral Hari Kumar, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command on his visit to Mumbai. The discussion revolved around growing cooperation between both the navies on maritime issues and enhanced interoperability for focused maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. The meeting is significant as it took place ahead of the annual bilateral exercise ‘Varuna’ between Indian Navy and French Navy’s Carrier Strike Group in April 2021. The exercise will also see participation by the navy of United Arab Emirates (UAE). In the domain of maritime security both India and France have seen enhanced bilateral cooperation. Their growing engagement is quite evident with the regular conduct of bilateral exercises, goodwill visits by ships and high level delegation visits involving both the navies. Bay of Bengal will be host to France-led naval exercise La Perouse next month. The exercise will see participation of quad members Australia, Japan and the US while India will be participating for the first time in this exercise.
Indian pilots learn to fly MI-171A2 Helicopters
Indian pilots have completed training in Russia’s Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant Training Centre on how to operate and maintain the Mi-171A2 helicopter. The helicopter received a certification validating the rotorcraft’s export in India in late 2020. The trainees involved Sky One Airways Ltd personnel, specialists from the Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation who conducted preliminary inspection of the training centre. Crew training involves special focus on the procedure and rules for operating cockpit systems and avionics, details concerning piloting techniques, aerodynamics and dynamics of the helicopter flight, crew resource management (CRM) and airborne communications. The technical specialists passed theoretical as well as practical training in operational and routine maintenance. The Indian pilots also learned operating procedures in non-standard and emergency situations and manoeuvring the helicopter out from a difficult spatial position. The first of these helicopters meant for India has already been built.
Indian team trains Malagasy Special Forces
A five-member Indian mobile training team imparted training to 50 Malagasy Special Forces consisting of both the navy and army forces of Madagascar. The 14-day special training culminated in the port city of Antsiranana. The training reflects growing defence engagements between the two Indian Ocean neighbours in line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR. The training will build strength of the Madagascar forces in protecting coasts of the island, its natural resources and biodiversity. India had sent humanitarian aid to the island nation through INS Jalashwa.
South Korea offers to develop Light Tank with India
South Korean Defence Minister Suh Wook on his visit to New Delhi offered to co-develop a light battle tank for the Indian Army that would be suitable for high altitude operations. The Light Tank developed by Korean company Hanwha defense is a K21-105 Light tank with a 105mm turret mounted on a proven K21 chassis for the Korean Army. While India is about to use the hull of the K9 Vajra 155mm/52 caliber Tracked self-Propelled Howitzer as a base and merge with an indigenous gun to be used as a light tank. Indian Army wants to operate a Light Tank that will weigh around 30+ tons that would put India in the Medium Class of tank category. Indian Army will equip it with either a 105 mm or 120 mm gun that will be fitted with High Altitude Operable Powerpack (Engine+ Transmission) of 1000hp fine-tuned by the DRDO. L&T will be the main contractor for the program and Hanwha defense its sub-contractor. The tank will support the infantry and play an effective role against armored and soft skin vehicles, buildings and fortifications.