The year saw augmentation of Nation's defence preparedness by adding new weapon systems and displayed the nation's prowess and self-reliance in advanced missile technology development programme with the successful test flight of 5000 Km range ICBM Agni-V, launching of long-range cruise missile Nirbhoy and continued successful user trials of Agni-II, Agni-III, Agni-IV, Prithvi-II, Supersonic BrahMos and Beyond Visual Range missile “Astra”.
The year also witnessed capacity building in existing and new strategic areas through acquisitions and development of new weapons / platforms which include commissioning of India's biggest aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne capacity INS Vikramaditya, preceded by the launching of India's own IAC-INS Vikrant and commissioning of deadly Mig-29K squadron, first P-8I Boeing aircraft into the IN and with joining of C-17 Globemaster-III and Pilatus PC-7MKII aircraft into the IAF
New Milestones in Defence R&D
Agni V: India reiterated its expertise in high end missile technology with the launch of second test flight of over 5000 Km Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) Agni-V on 15th September. After successful test firing of Agni-V, DRDO now aims for 10,000 Km range Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
LCA programme: The much awaited and long-delayed indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) project for the IAF undertaken by HAL & DRDO will finally see the light of the day with its initial operational clearance-II on 20th December. The weaponisation programme of LAC attained a significant milestone by the successful and flawless firing of the air-to-air close combat missile, weapon carriage and release trials.
INS Vikrant Launched: India launched its first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant on August 12 at Kochi marking the end of Phase-I (IAC-I) of the project. The imposing ramp of the 37,500 tonner Short Take off but Assisted Recovery (STOBAR) carrier boasted indigenous design and built capabilities of the country.
Atomic Reactor of 'Arihant' went critical: Indian defence scientists and technologists successfully activated the atomic reactor on board INS Arihant in early August. The next major milestone would be when Arihant begins its trials, planned for September 2014.
New Weaponary/Platforms to Strengthen Defence Preparedness
INS Vikramaditya: India finally commissioned its second aircraft carrier 44,500 tonne INS Vikramaditya into the IN which can carry over 30 combat aircraft/helicopters and has the staying power of operating nearly 45 days in high seas with its 1600 crew & officers. It is equipped with long range Air Surveillance Radars, Advanced electronic warfare suite capable of maintaining a surveillance bubble of over 500 Kms around it. The deadly Mig -29K deep penetration striker aircraft, Kamov-31, Sea Harriers and ALH Dhruv helicopters comprise its air element.
C-17 Globemaster III: Giving impetus to the long standing strategic airlift of the Indian Air Force, the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was formally inducted into the IAF on 02 September at Hindon Airbase near Delhi. Four of the C-17 has been already delivered to the IAF and the fifth aircraft joined the fleet in November.
Pilatus PC 7 MK II Basic Trainer: The IAF unveiled the Pilatus PC7MKII basic trainer aircraft, which heralded a new era in imparting high quality flying training to pilots ensuring proficiency in handling more sophisticated aircraft.
Boeing P-8I: The first of the three Boeing P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy arrived at INS Rajali, Arakonam on 15th May. The P-8I aircraft is equipped with an array of sensors for maritime reconnaissance, anti-submarine operations and for electronic intelligence missions. The aircraft has drawn its lethality from its arsenal of highly potent Anti-Surface and Anti-Submarine weapons.
Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT): The Indian Navy inducted the first fully Indian manufactured Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) at INS Dega, Vishakhapatnam on 06 November.
ALH-Dhruv Squadron Commissioned: The first Advanced Light Helicopter (Dhruv) Squadron was commissioned into the Navy at Kochi on 12 November.
Mig -29K Squadron Commissioned: INAS 303, the first Mig 29K squadron was commissioned on 11th May 2013 by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony at INSA Hansa, Goa. Mig-29K, arguably one of the best in the subcontinent today is equipped with high-end avionics completed with anti-aircraft beyond visual range missiles, guided anti-ship missile and smart guided bombs and rockets.
Launching of GSAT-7 satellite: Launching of GSAT-7, a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Navy on 30 August gave a boost to realization of Navy's network centric war capability based on an indigenous platform and will help in seamless integration among the various command centres and Naval Units operating across the IOR.
INS Sarayu Commissioned: INS Sarayu, the indigenous Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) Project was commissioned on 21 January, aimed at meeting the increasing ocean surveillance and patrolling requirements of the Indian Navy.
INS Trikand Commissioned: INS Trikand, the last of the three 'follow on Talwar class' frigates was commissioned into the Indian Navy. It carries a state-of-the-art combat suite which includes the supersonic BrahMos Missile system, advanced surface-to-air missile, upgraded A190 medium range gun, Electro-optical 30mm close-in weapon system and Anti-submarine weapons and an advanced electronic warfare system.
3G WCDMA Cellular Network Project: The Indian Air Force launched its 3G Cellular Network named AFCEL (Air Force Cellular) recently, thereby, becoming the first in the Services to have commissioned its own captive 3G network.
Coastal Security Initiatives: Drawing lessons from 26/11 terrorist attacks on Mumbai in 2008, the Govt. took a number of security measures to close the gaps in India's vast coastline and strengthen the coastal security apparatus in a planned manner by involving all stakeholders in this endeavour. Under Phase-I of the Coastal Surveillance Network Project installation of 36 radar chain to have a gap free Coastal Surveillance Network (CSN) was envisaged. In the phase-II of CSN another 38 radars chain to cover the rest of the 7,500 Km long coastline will be installed.
Other Important Events/Programmes
» To give further encouragement to promote indigenisation and developing Indian defence industrial base in the country, the Government promulgated amended Defence Procurement Procedure 2013 on 01 June, where a number of concessions and priorities have been given to 'Buy Indian' and 'Buy and Make' (Indian) categories, besides bringing further clarity in the definition of the Indigenous Content and simplifying the Buy and Make (Indian) process.
» On July 02, 2013, India unveiled the much awaited National Cyber Security Policy to create a secure cyber eco-system in the country.
» Indian Coast Guard Ship 'Rajdoot', the sixth in the series of light Inshore Patrol Vessels (IPVs) designed and built by M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata was commissioned at Kolkata in May 2013.
(Excerpt from PIB release dated 19 Dec 2013)