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Saturday, 14 July 2012

From Today's Papers - `14 Jul 2012
Navy begins recruitment for its new cyber cell
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 13
Faced with threat of cyber warfare and hacking into its computer systems, the Indian Navy is raising a dedicated cadre of officers to fight it.

The officers will be posted on all the 100 plus warships, including submarines, in order to make the Navy capable of operating in a network-centric environment that is totally dependent on inter-connectivity. Navy officials today said the recruitment of the first batch of these officers as short service commission (SSC) officers in the executive branch (information technology) has commenced. They will get 22 weeks of training starting from December and will handle open-source applications and proprietary tailor-made software.

The Navy is looking to recruit only those officers who have a degree in computer science, computer engineering or information technology.

The dedicated cadre will design and implant secure and critical networks. Recently, six computers of the Eastern Naval Command at Visakhapatnam were found to be compromised.

All Naval warships are fitted with the state-of-the-art satellite-driven equipment and computers. The Navy aims to give a real-time picture of its entire fleet deployed in far seas to the Commander sitting in the Navy headquarters here.

Defence Minister AK Antony also expressed concern over the threat of cyber warfare in the recently concluded Naval Commanders’ Conference.

Securing the seas

    Only officers who have a degree in computer science, computer engineering or information technology to be recruited
    The first batch will start in December
    The officers will get 22 weeks of training
    They will be posted on all the 100 plus warships, including submarines
IAF offers help to assess Assam flood damage
Bijay Sankar Bora/TNS

Guwahati, July 13
The Indian Air Force is ready to put in service its hi-tech flying machines equipped with very powerful cameras for survey of flood damages in the flood-hit Assam in case the State Government of Assam asks for it.

Air Commodore P E Patange of the Eastern Air Command headquartered in Shillong informed here yesterday that the IAF had been doing its best to help Assam government and Arunachal Pradesh government in rescue and relief operation in the flood-affected areas and the force was ever ready to offer its service in assessing the extent of flood damage by deploying its high-tech equipment provided it is asked by the governments of the flood-hit states.

He said over 400 marooned people had been evacuated across Assam in the past 20 days as relief helicopters and transport planes are on round-the-clock standby. The IAF also airlifted dozens of tonnes of relief material for air dropping among the flood-hit at places as marked by concerned district administrations. The IAF’s disaster management cell is on a high alert at the Eastern Command headquarters in Shillong while similar cells have also been formed at various places in Assam, the official said.

The IAF engaged its AN-32 aircraft to airlift 140 personnel and about nine tonnes of relief materials of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) from Kolkata to Jorhat and Guwahati for deployment in flood-hit areas of Assam.

The IAF has currently put two Mi-17 choppers on standby at Mohanbari in Dibrugarh, besides two Chetaks in Tezpur and one Mi-17 in Guwahati.

In addition, two AN-32 transport planes are stationed at Jorhat for flood-relief operations.

"The Assam government had put us on alert in June 21 about requirement of our emergency service for flood relief operation. We are still maintaining the alert," Patange said. The IAF also dropped food packets and organised medical camps.

The official said such relief and rescue operation by the IAF personnel at the time of disaster would get a boost with the induction of three squadrons (3x10 =30) of the advanced Mi-17 V5 choppers equipped with night vision technology and advanced avionics. The official said one squadron each has been set up at Bagdogra and Barrackpore and one more was being based at Purnea.
Cabinet Secy to chair panel on military pay issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 13
The government has constituted a fresh, high-level committee under the chairpersonship of the Cabinet Secretary to look into pay and pension-related issues of relevance to defence services personnel and ex-servicemen.

The other members of the committee are Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Defence Secretary, Secretary, Department of Expenditure, Secretary, Department of Ex-servicemen’s Welfare and Secretary, Department of Personnel and Training.

The committee was set up on the directions of the Prime Minister’s Office, on July 8. It, however, does not include any member of the Armed Forces or representative of ex-servicemen.

The committee’s “terms of reference” are to look into a total of nine issues, five concerning serving personnel and four related to ex-servicemen.

Issues relating to the serving personnel include common pay-scale for in-service JCOs/Ors, initial pay-fixation of Lieutenant Colonel/Colonel and Brigadier/equivalent, review and enhancement of grade pay, placing of all Lieutenant Generals in HAG+ scale and grant of non-functional upgradation (NFU) to armed forces personnel.

Issues relating to ex-servicemen include one-rank one-pension, enhancement of family pension, dual family pension and family pension to mentally/physically challenged children of armed forces personnel on marriage.

The committee may co-opt any other member. It will finalise its recommendations and submit its report to the PM by August 8.
Army officers flout ban on using social networking sites
Kusum Arora/TNS

Jalandhar, July 13
Despite fresh directives issued by the Indian Army banning its personnel from using social networking sites, scores of Army officers are actively using Facebook revealing sensitive information of their status and whereabouts.

This at a time when the Army is already investigating an alleged incident in which a Lt Col based in Rajasthan developed contact with a woman through Facebook. Reportedly, the woman from Bangladesh was working for Pakistan’s ISI.

While the Army has completely banned its personnel from using such social networking sites, the officers have been openly posting their pictures in uniforms, mentioning their status on Facebook like ‘whether on leave or back to field’ and pictures of cantonment functions and colleagues.

Among those using the Facebook include young Army officers. Officers’ wives have also been posting pictures of their spouses on Facebook. A majority of the officers said when they remain away from their families like at field stations, social networking sites like Facebook and Orkut help them to stay in touch.

Many officers have also been using Facebook through fake identities, while some officers have posted their own pictures as ‘profile pictures’ on such sites. As social networking sites are available on mobiles phones and most officers own smart phones, hence the increased usage of these sites.

However, there are many officers who are abiding by the directives and are refraining from using social sites. Some officers are also using these sites with utmost caution. “I have never posted any of my pictures on Facebook, the ones that I have are of my family. Even my profile page is completely blank on Facebook,” said a young Army officer.

The Army has directed its officers to refrain from using social networking sites as it could lead to information compromise and unintentional ‘leaking of sensitive information’.
N-capable Agni-I test-fired

Balasore, July 13
Giving a fillip to its missile capability, India today successfully test-fired the indigenously developed nuclear-capable Agni-I ballistic missile with a strike range of 700 km as part of the Army's user trial from a test range off Odisha coast.

"The trial of Agni-I missile conducted from the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island was successful. It met the mission objectives," ITR Director MVKV Prasad said.

The surface-to-surface single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test fired from a mobile launcher at about 10.10 am from launch pad-4 of the ITR at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from here, a defence scientist said. — PTI
Army’s demand for attack choppers triggers fresh turf war with IAF
NEW DELHI: Army chief General Bikram Singh has launched an aggressive campaign among the top echelons of the government demanding that the Army be allowed to have its own attack helicopters. The move has triggered a fresh round of stand-off between the Army and the Indian Air Force (IAF), while many sources in the security establishment are appalled by the persistent turf wars among the three services and their failure to integrate themselves for modern warfare.

Gen Singh made the pitch for the Army to have its own attack helicopters during a meeting with defence minister AK Antony last week. The Army chief is also believed to have reiterated the demand in a meeting with national security advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon. Sources said a reluctant IAF chief may also have been called into the meeting by the NSA.

Gen Singh's forceful campaign has surprised many in the security establishment since the issue is under examination by a high-power committee. More importantly, at a time when defence forces around the world are working towards integration into a seamless unit for fighting modern warfare, the turf battle is symbolic of the Indian reality — of each service protecting its turf, and fending off all integration efforts.

The crux of the matter is the Army's desire to have a bigger aviation wing, including attack helicopters and medium lift choppers. Now, the Army is only authorized to operate helicopters that weigh less than 5 tonnes. Under the Joint Army Air Instruction of 1986, the Army is empowered to operate light utility helicopters for communication, directing artillery fire etc. All heavier helicopters, including attack choppers and fixed wing aircraft, are to be operated by the IAF. The Navy enjoys exemption because of its unique need for operating in maritime environs.

The Army demanded helicopters heavier than 5 tonnes, including attack choppers for itself, in the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) for 2012-27 that it had submitted several months ago. Though LTIPP for the military was approved by the defence acquisition council, headed by Antony in April, the Army's demand for operating bigger helicopters was referred to a panel, headed by Vice Admiral S P S Cheema, deputy chief of the integrated defence staff (perspective planning and force development), and comprising representatives from various services. This committee's study has been underway, when Gen Singh made his aggressive pitch.

The IAF is not amused and has strongly opposed the Army's demand, saying it would be wastage of resources. The IAF also believes that it could take up to three to four decades for the Army to inculcate an aviation culture for maintaining and flying heavier helicopters. IAF also points out that it has projected the total needs of both the Army and the Air Force in LTIPP, and does not discriminate between the two.

Sources in the security establishment are appalled by the turf wars between the services. A senior official argued that the government needs to exercise its political leadership and ensure that the three services move quickly in adopting inter-operability and developing more unified concepts.
India tests nuclear-capable Agni-I missile
India on Friday successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Agni-I ballistic missile, with a strike range of 700 km, as part of the Army's user trial from a test range at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast.

The surface-to-surface, single-stage missile, powered by solid propellants, was test-fired from a mobile launcher at about 10.10 am from launch pad-4 of the Integrated Test Range at Wheeler Island, about 100 km from here, defence sources said.

"The trial of the sophisticated missile with a strike range of 700 km was successful," a defence scientist said.

Describing the launch as a routine user’s trial by the strategic force command of Indian Army, he said the main objective was to train the user team to launch the missile.
It was a practice-drill. The user-team picked a missile at random from the production lot and fired it with logistic support provided by Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) at ITR," he said.

Agni-I missile has a specialised navigation system which ensures it reaches the target with a high degree of accuracy and precision, he said.

The trajectory of the missile, which has an operational strike range of 700 km, was tracked by sophisticated radars and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area.

Weighing 12 tonnes, the 15-metre-long Agni-I, which can carry payloads up to 1000 kg, has already been inducted into the Indian Army.

Agni-I was developed by advanced
systems laboratory, the premier missile development laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory and Research Centre Imarat and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad.

The last trial of the Agni-I missile was successfully carried out on December 1, 2011 from the same base.

Since the missile has already been inducted into the armed forces, it is important to conduct user trials for training of defence personnel and improvement of their skills, sources said

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