From the purchase of S-400 air defence systems to INS Arihant completing its first deterrence patrol, 2018 was an important year for India. There are several defence related developments which are worth recalling now that the year is coming to an end.
Procurement of P-8I Training Solution and LICEWS approved:
In January this year, the Defence Ministry approved procurement of P-8I Training Solution for Indian Navy and Low Intensity Conflict Electronic Warfare System (LICEWS) for Indian Army at total cost of Rs 2419.32 crore. The P-8I Training Solution accurately simulates P-8I aircraft and mission systems. It will help Indian Navy train and realistically rehearse for sophisticated missions involving P-8I aircraft, at a fraction of the cost of live aircraft training.
The first P-8I aircraft was inducted in Indian Navy in 2013 and as of date, eight aircraft, based at INS Rajali, have been fully integrated into operations. In 2016, the Ministry placed a follow-on order for four additional P-8I, the delivery of which will begin in 2020.
LICEWS will equip Indian Army with upgraded communications infrastructure that will help forces to effectively deal with advanced communications systems being used by terrorist groups.
Tejas’ mid-air refuelling:
The first ever mid-air refuelling of the indigenously developed light combat aircraft Tejas was successfully carried out in September this year. The milestone was achieved when 1,900 kg of fuel was transferred from the mid-air refuelling tanker of IAF’s IL78 to the Tejas LSP8 at an altitude of 20,000 feet, which has developed the light combat aircraft (LCA). With this, India joined in elite group of countries which have successfully developed air-to-air refuelling system for military aircraft.
MANPADS deal with Russia:
After a series of delays, Russia has been declared the lowest bidder in the Army’s multi-billion dollar deal for man portable air defence systems (MANPADS). The Russian Igla-S system is expected to replace the IGLA M systems of Russia that is being used since the 1980s. The deal is valued at $1.5 bln with the Russian bid considerably undercutting offers by Sweden’s SAAB RBS70 NG and France’s MBDA Mistral. After five years of rigorous trials, Igla-S system fielded by Rosoboronexport emerged as the best system for the Indian Army.
MPATGM tested sucessfully:
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted first successful trials of indigenously developed third generation Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM). Two rounds of missile were flight tested in operational configuration in two days from Ahmednagar range in Maharashtra.
The two tests were intended for two different ranges. After its launch from platform, the missile
tracked target all through its trajectory and destroyed it with high precision. The missile performed as expected during the test by meeting all mission objectives successfully and validated its maximum range capability. Apart from stand alone and warhead testing, the missile also had undergone series of tests including integrated static trial to characterise trust vector control.
DAC approves procurement of 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems
In August this year, Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved procurement of 150 indigenously designed and developed 155 mm Advanced Towed Artillery Gun Systems for Indian Army at approximate cost of Rs 3,364.78 crores. This procurement will further quest for modernisation of Armed forces. These guns have been indigenously designed & developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). They will be manufactured by production agencies as nominated by DRDO.