Defence Current Affairs Summary: Dec 2016 – March 2017

  • India has signed government-to-government (G2G) deal with the United States (US) to buy 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers worth $750 million under the Foreign Military Sales programme.
    India has successfully test-fired Agni-V:

    1. Surface-to-surface
    2. Nuclear capable ballistic missile
    3. Launched from Integrated Test Range from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.
    4. Three-stage solid propellant ICBM
    5. Range > 5,000 Kms.
  • India successfully test-fired its home-grown long range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-IV from the Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island off Odisha coast. It can carry a one-tonne nuclear warhead over a distance of 4,000 kilometres.
  • Indian Army has successfully conducted ‘user-validation’ trials of indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) Dhanush in the Himalayas.
    1. Dhanush 155 MM/52 calibre towed artillery gun is based on the 1980s’ Bofors FH-77B/39 Calibre artillery gun design.
    2. Its indegenous development is aided by the transfer of technology (ToT) clause signed with the Swedish company.
    3. It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the private sector companies.
    4. It was designed by the DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE).
    5. It boasts a range of 45 km with accuracy and precision and provides greater fire power, depending on the type of ammunition used. It also has night firing capability in direct fire mode.
  • INS Khanderi, the second Scorpene class submarine was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is the second of the six submarines being built at MDL in collaboration with France’s DCNS as part of Project 75 of Indian Navy.
    1. Under Project 75, six Scorpene submarines are being built with assistance and technology transfer from DCNS of France under deal signed in October 2005.
    2. The first of the series INS Kalvari is completing sea trials and will be commissioned shortly. The other four submarines are expected to be launched at nine-month intervals after the INS Khanderi.
    3. At Present, the Indian Navy operates only 13 conventionally powered submarines and two nuclear submarines.
  • The Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) has delivered ICGS AYUSH, the 20th Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) to the Indian Coast Guard.  With this, CSL has completed construction of 20 FPVs for the Indian Coast Guard.
  • China has successfully tested the latest version of its fifth-generation stealth fighter jet J-31 (now renamed the FC-31 Gyrfalcon). It is considered as China’s answer to the US F-35, the world’s most technically advanced fighter.
  • The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) successfully flight tested Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft at integrated test range in Chandipur, Odisha.
  • Long range nuclear-capable subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay was testfired from the launch complex 3 of the Integrated Missile Test Range in Balasore, Odisha. About Nirbhay Missile:
    1. Nirbhay is a long range surface-to-surface nuclear-capable subsonic cruise missile developed indigenously by the DRDO.
    2. It is a two stage missile. In its first stage, it tilts horizontally. In the second stage it will cruise horizontally like an aircraft with a turbo-jet engine at a subsonic speed of 0.7 Mach.
    3. It is capable of carrying multiple payloads including nuclear warheads.
    4. It has strike range of 700 km to 1000km, giving India the capability to strike deep into enemy territory.
    5. It is considered as India’s answer to US’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missile.
  • DRDO) successfully test-fired the Pinaka Rocket converted to a Guided Pinaka from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur (Odisha).
    1. Pinaka is an unguided rocket weapon area system (WAS) with a range of 40 km. It meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos.
    2. It can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds with 1.2 tonnes of high explosives.
    3. The battery of six launchers can neutralise at a time a target area of 3.9 sq km.
  • Pakistan Army has successfully test fired an enhanced version of an indigenously-designed Babur cruise missile. It can hit targets located at 700 km with all kinds of warheads.
  • Pakistan also successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This launch gives Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.
  • The seventh edition of India, Maldives bilateral EKUVERIN Exercise 2016 began at Kadhdhoo, Laamu Atoll, Maldives.
  • The ninth edition of exercise INDRA NAVY, an annual bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy began in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The annual bilateral maritime exercise Konkan 16 between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy (British Navy) started in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Indian Navy’s Annual Theatre Readiness Operational Exercise (TROPEX) 2017 is being conducted off the Western Seaboard. The month long exercise will see participation of ships and aircraft of both the Western and Eastern Naval Command and also assets from the Indian Air Force, Indian Army and the Indian Coast Guard.
  • The eleventh edition of joint military exercise ‘Surya Kiran 2017‘ between India and Nepal was held in Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand.
  • The joint military exercise Al-Nagah-II 2017 between India and Oman began in the Dhauladhar Ranges in Bakloh belt of Himachal Pradesh to strengthen the military ties between the two countries.
  • India has agreed to train Vietnam’s Sukhoi-30 fighter pilots, boosting growing defence ties between both countries.
  • According to the recently released 2016 IHS Jane’s Defence Budgets report, India has become the world’s fourth largest defence spender. In this edition of report published by US research firm IHS Inc, India has surpassed Russia, France, Japan and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s fourth largest defence spender.
  • Pakistan successfully conducted the first flight test of Ababeel surface-to-surface medium range ballistic missile. The test flight was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of missile’s weapon system. It is claimed that Ababeel missile has the capability to carry nuclear as well as conventional warheads and engage multiple targets with high precision by defeating the enemy’s hostile radars. Key Facts Ababeel missile is capable of delivering multiple warheads, using Multiple Independent Re-entry Vehicle (MIRV) technology, first of its kind in Pakistan’s missile arsenal. It has a maximum range of 2,200 kilometres.
  • Japan has successfully launched its first military communications satellite Kirameki-2 (kee-RAH-meh-kee 2) satellite. It was launched on board of H-2A rocket that lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan. The satellite separated from the rocket and entered a designated orbit.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a deal to jointly develop a medium range surface-to-air missile (MR-SAM) system for Army with help of Israel. The deal will be executed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI).
  • The Indian Airforce (IAG) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) dubbed as NETRA. The AEW&C NETRA has been indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It was unveiled at the 2017 Aero India exhibition held in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Indian Navy’s survey vessel INS Sarvekshak, based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi became the first naval ship to go green by installing a solar power system on board.
  • The Pakistan Navy has kicked of its biannually-held multinational AMAN 2017 naval exercise in Karachi, Pakistan. 37 countries are participating in the international event.
  • Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) formally handed over an indigenously developed Weapon Locating Radar (WLR) system dubbed as ‘SWATHI’ to Indian Army.