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Thursday, 19 August 2010

From Today's Papers - 19 Aug 2010

3 Indian soldiers killed in Congo
  New Delhi, August 18 Three Indian soldiers, who were part of the UN peacekeeping force in Congo, were killed and seven others injured when rebel forces attacked their base in the Kirumba province of the central African nation today.  The soldiers were from the 19 Kumaon Regiment of the Army and were deployed in Congo as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force, Army officials said here. “The incident happened when around 50-60 suspected rebels of militia group 'MAYI-MAYI' attacked the unit base in the Kirumba province in Congo around 0150 hours Congo Standard Time today,” they added. While a small group of four to five members distracted the guard on duty by striking a conversation with him, the remaining members of the rebel group attacked the periphery of the post from the surrounding jungle, officials said. After five minutes of the attack, the rebels fled into the forest.  The 19 Kumaon Regiment has been deployed in Congo since February this year. With over 3,500 soldiers, India has the largest contingent of troops as part of the UN peacekeeping force MONUSCO in Congo. — PTI

Lt Col gets 3-yr RI in milk scam
Vijay Mohan/TNS  Chandigarh, August 18 A general court martial (GCM) has cashiered a Lieutenant Colonel and awarded him three-year rigorous imprisonment for alleged irregularities in the procurement of skimmed milk power worth over Rs 10 crore in the Northern Command.  The court martial of a Colonel earlier posted as Director (Military Farms), Headquarters, Northern Command, also alleged to be involved in the case, is under way at Nariah near Rajouri. He is facing 17 charges.  Sources revealed that the accused, Lt Col Kuldeep Singh, was tried on 25 charges of intent to defraud and acts prejudicial to good order and military discipline under provisions of the Army Act. He was held guilty on 15 charges. The GCM, presided over by Brig SPS Mehta, commander of an Artillery Brigade, concluded at Akhnoor today.  Lt Col Kuldeep had pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against him. The GCM’s verdict is subject to confirmation by the convening authority. The alleged irregularities pertain to Operation Parakram, when there were heavy troop movements and the requirement of milk had increased about three-fold, sources said. To meet the shortfall of fresh milk through regular supply channels, formations had resorted to local purchase of skimmed milk power.  Between January 2001 and August 2003, nearly 1,526 metric tonnes of skimmed milk power was procured through local purchase despite adequate stocks in the Army stores. Part of the stock procured was transported to stations in eastern, western and central commands without due sanction and in violation of statutory provisions. The Army has estimated the value of the powder procured to be close to Rs 10 crore. Further, payments were allegedly made to firms despite the powder not reaching its destinations and some firms were alleged to have been favoured.  The Colonel, on the other hand, is facing charges of failure to exercise requisite supervision and not taking due action during his tenure as director (2001-2004), when the milk powder was purchased. He also did not allegedly carry out technical inspection, failed to ensure quality tests by the Central Forensic Science Laboratory and there were irregularities in maintenance of records.  Sources added that a probe into the matter by the CBI revealed that around 100 metric tonnes of milk powder had been moved from Jammu to Punjab.

Chopper crash kills colonel, 2 majors 
Bijay Sankar Bora/TNS  Guwahati, August 18 A colonel and two majors were killed when the Army helicopter, a four-seater Cheetah, they were in crashed near Viswema, about 16 km from Nagaland’s capital Kohima, at around 8-25 a.m. today.  Kohima SP R Tetseo said the wreckage of the chopper and the bodies of all the three Army officers on board were recovered by a joint search team of Army, police and locals inside the dense jungle at around 12 noon.  “The chopper was badly damaged as it hit a hillock, but there was no fire after the crash. The bodies were intact, even the name plates of Army officials were in shape. They were identified as Colonel P Pal (passenger), Major Rakesh Sharma (pilot) and Major Nikhil (co-pilot),” the police said.  Tetseo said villagers at Viswema heard a big sound just after they sighted the chopper flying over their village.  Though the exact cause of the crash was yet to be ascertained, the police said apparently weather was unfavourable for flying at that time.  An Army spokesman said the chopper took off from Rangapahar, headquarters of 3 Corps near Dimapur in Nagaland at 7.50 am and lost contact with the ground control at 8.25 am.”

After flying coffins, now defective choppers
According to Comptroller and Auditor General of India report, the helicopters procured from the United States Navy were life-expired and had many defects which would ultimately compromise operational effectiveness. CJ: hujjat raza   Wed, Aug 18, 2010 12:07:13 IST Views: 12    Comments: 0 Rate:  1 out of 5 2 out of 5 3 out of 5 4 out of 5 5 out of 5 5.0 / 1 votes               NOT LEARNING lessons from loss of MIG aircrafts to which Indian press refers as flying coffins, the Indian government has now bought six defective choppers and an old vessel INS Jalashwa from the United States Navy worth crores or rupees.   Indian Air Force has lost more than 150 MIGs and holds a world record in crashes. No other air force has had the ignominious honour of having so many crashes in non-battle conditions.   Despite all these government decided to buy defective choppers, which were manufactured back in January 1961 and July 1965, and were decommissioned by the US Navy in 2005 itself.  According to Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report, the helicopters procured were life-expired and had many defects which would ultimately compromise operational effectiveness and these choppers are devoid of any type of surveillance radar, which are very important gadget during ‘search and rescue’ operations.  The INS Jalashwa is a landing platform dock used for amphibious operations. The choppers are used to ferry troops.  Bad deal  The INS Jalashwa and six choppers purchased from the US beyond their life-cycle also had no guarantee of support and replacement of defective parts. The choppers are devoid of any weather or surface surveillance radars, which are necessary for such kind of choppers.

Tiny vehicles may keep an eye out for naxals
BS Reporter / Chennai/ Bangalore August 19, 2010, 0:12 IST  During natural calamities, the Army is often called out to help with the relief and rescue operations. But, it is almost always working blind. The Army personnel often have no idea what may lie ahead.  The uncertainty can delay the relief and rescue operations. What if the rescuers are able to see what lies ahead well before going out there.  DRDO labs like the National Aeronautical Laboratories and CSIR labs are developing sensors and other sub-systems required for micro and nano vehicles (MAVs). It has also given an opportunity for tie-ups between biologists and engineers.  The micro air vehicles were proposed to be developed in April 1998. Since then, there have been efforts at miniaturisation of engines, and other sub-systems required in a micro/nano air vehicle.  According to Prahlada, Chief Controller, Research and Development (Aero & Services Interaction), Defence Research and Development Organisation, India has the capability to build MAVs as small as 300 mm and weighing 300 gms. Efforts are on to bring it down to 100 mm to 200 mm and to less than 200 gms, he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar on micro and nano air vehicles here.  “MAVs are small, almost bird-like. They are accurate and they cost very less,” Prahalada said, adding, “they can be manufactured in big numbers very, very cheap.” Indian technologists are studying and analysing the flapping wings of birds and their energy efficiency to see if they can develop technologies that can be incorporated in MAVs to increase endurance, lighten them and improve energy efficiency. “We are discussing how bird flight can be simulated and we can mimic bird-flight,” he said, pointing out how some birds fly for 1,000s of miles without eating for two months. The idea is to explore the possibility of flying MAVs with “bio-batteries”, where energy is produced purely by chemical process, similar to the process in humans and animals. A Rs 100 crore project has been launched in India under which 10 colleges and academic institutions, 10 industry partners and 20 R&D labs are working on technologies needed for MAVs, officials said.  Technologists are now engaged in in-depth analysis of bird flight to mimic it and make indigenously-developed Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) more energy-efficient, enduring and flexible when used for surveillance.  Prahlada said CRPF, BSF and police forces are acquiring MAVs for counter-terrorism to tackle low-intensity conflicts and urban warfare with the help of these “almost bird-like” vehicles. They provide information in real time. These MAVs can take videos and transmit back to the ground enabling “minimum reaction time”, officials said.  In case of the micro and nano flying machines, there are efforts at convergence of technologies and use of biological sciences and physics to make biological fuel cells and enzymatic fuel cells to help reduce weight of the batteries. It’s an integration of micro, nano and biological sciences. As these are low investment projects, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) realise it takes time to develop the technologies, it is inviting bids from private enthusiasts and institutions to develop them. “The problem,” said V J Sundaram, advisor (micro and nano systems), National Design and Research forum, “is that the technology takes five to seven years to perfect.” The forum is a national platform for engineers, scientists and technologists engaged in R&D activities

Three Indian UN peacekeepers killed in Congo
2010-08-18 17:30:00  The Defence Ministry on Wednesday said three Indian Army soldiers serving with the United Nations peacekeeping force in Congo were killed and seven others got injured, when rebels attacked their camp.  "On August 18 under the cover of darkness, the Unit's Company Operating Base at Kirumba was approached by five innocent looking civilians," said a Defence Ministry release.  They asked the post for assistance. While, they were engaging the guard on duty with conversation, a group of approximately 50-60 rebels probably Mayi Mayi group, attacked the periphery of the post from the surrounding jungle," the release added.  The Defence Ministry further said the rebels taking advantage of the darkness later merged into the forest after five minutes, asserting that operations are in progress.  The soldiers were part of the 19 Kumaon Regiment.  Kirumba is located around 500 kilometers from Congo's capital Kinshasa. (ANI)

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