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Friday, 21 December 2012

From Today's Papers - 21 Dec 2012
Coast Guard gets interceptor boat

Mumbai, December 20
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) received its first indigenously designed and constructed high-speed interceptor boat capable of speeds of 40 knots, an official said here Thursday.

Designed and constructed by the engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), this is the first of 36 such boats to be constructed for the Coast Guard.

The boat was delivered and commissioned at Porbandar station of the ICG in Gujarat. The boat is capable of attaining speeds of 40 knots (74 km/hour).

The boat has a full aluminium-alloy body for reduced weight and is powered by twin water-jet propulsion systems to enable quick response for vital coastal surveillance activities.

Besides, these boats can also operate effectively in shallow waters which would be critical for near-shore actions, thus significantly enhancing the country's coastal security programmes.

Encompassing state-of-the-art technology in designing and construction, L&T will also explore export potential for these boats.

The boats are a part of the overall enhancement of the coastal security measures initiated by the central government in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. — IANS
Prithvi-II test successful

Balasore (Odisha), Dec 20
India today successfully test-fired its indigenously developed nuclear capable Prithvi-II missile with a strike range of 350 km from a test range at Chandipur near here.

The surface-to-surface missile was test fired from a mobile launcher in salvo mode from launch complex-3 of Integrated Test Range at about 9.21 am, defence sources said.

The launch of the sophisticated missile, conducted as part of operational exercise by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) of the defence services, was successful, they said.

“The missile was randomly chosen from the production stock and the total launch activities were carried out by the specially formed SFC and monitored by the scientists of Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) as part of practice drill,” sources said.

The Prithvi-II missile, developed by the DRDO, is already inducted into the Indian Armed forces.

Prithvi, the first missile developed under India's prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP), is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1000 kg of warheads and thrusted by liquid propulsion twine engines, uses advanced inertial guidance system with manoeuvring trajectory.

The last trial of Prithvi-II was successfully carried out from the same base on October 4. — PTI
Indian Army Chief calls on Secretary Defence

General Bikram Singh, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, ADC, Chief of the Indian Army Staff paid a courtesy call to Secretary Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa today (20 December 2012).

This his first official visit to the Island since assuming office as the Indian Army chief in June this year. General Bikram Singh, a product of Punjab Public School, Nabha was commissioned into the Sikh Light Infantry in March 1972. He has held various high profile Command and Staff appointments during illustrious military career.

General Singh has commanded an Infantry Battalion in the North East and on the Line of Control in J&K, a RR Sector and an Infantry Division in Northern Command. He has commanded 15 Corps and Eastern Command. He has served in three UN Peace Keeping Missions. He also has held important staff appointments at Army Headquarters including tenures in Military Operations, Perspective Planning and Staff Duties.

He holds two Masters Degrees from India and also a Masters Degree in Strategic Defence Studies from the USA. He is an avid sportsman.

During the meeting Secretary Defence and the Indian Army Chief discussed matters of bilateral importance and mutual interests. Mementos were also exchanged between the two officials as a gesture of goodwill and coorporation.

Indian envoy to Sri Lanka HE Mr. Ashok K. Kantha and Commander of the Army Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya were also present at the occasion.|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
Russia To Nudge India Toward Buying BMP-3s

NEW DELHI — Russia is hoping to persuade India to shelve its $10 billion homemade Futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project and instead buy Russian BMP-3 vehicles, according to an Indian Defence Ministry source.

Russia has offered to transfer BMP-3 combat vehicle technology to India if India cancels the FICV project, which has yet to take off four years after it was conceived. Russian President Vladimir Putin will likely make the offer during summit talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Dec. 24, the source added.

An Indian Army officer said buying BMP-3s on a license-production basis would make better sense because the FICV likely won’t be inducted in the next 10 years. In the meantime, India’s existing Russian-made infantry combat vehicles — BMP-1s and -2s — need upgrades, he said.

Putin was scheduled to visit New Delhi in November, but the visit was postponed. While no official reason was given, sources in the Indian Foreign Ministry said Moscow was reacting to a delay in the implementation of the Indo-Russian nuclear project in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. In addition, the Russians want a greater share of the Indian defense market, which is shifting to the U.S. and other Western nations.

Under the FICV project, India will spend $10 billion to produce 2,600 vehicles to replace the older BMPs. The project falls into the “Make India” category, in which only domestic automobile companies can compete. The shortlisted company or consortium will develop the FICV prototype while the government funds nearly 80 percent of development costs.

The FICV project was approved nearly four years ago. Since then, domestic Mahindra Defence Systems has partnered with BAE Systems; Larsen & Toubro is also working on overseas partnerships. Tata Motors is also attempting to tie up with overseas companies after its deal with Rheinmetall stalled following India’s blacklisting of the German company’s Swiss subsidiary. State-owned Ordnance Factory Board is also in the race.

While Russia has partnered with India on several joint development projects — and moved away from mere “Buy and Make” weapons relations — India has had issues with complete technology transfer from Russia and has often complained about after-sales support, especially on spares and their prices. India and Russia are jointly producing the supersonic BrahMos anti-ship cruise missile and are under contract to jointly produce fifth-generation fighters and multirole transport aircraft. Russia has yet to transfer full technology of its T-90 tanks, which are license-produced here, another Indian Army officer said.

India’s MoD is also struggling to resolve timely supply of spares for Sukhoi and MiG-29 aircraft, Smerch multibarrel rocket systems, and upgrades to Kilo-class submarines and a variety of Russian air defense systems.

Indian defense forces have a large inventory of former Soviet and Russian weaponry, which they want to replace or upgrade soon. It is estimated that this market is worth more than $30 billion. And while Russia wants India to upgrade this inventory, the users — the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy — want to replace the weaponry with supplies from the U.S. and other Western nations.
Indian Army Chief pledges more assistance to train Sri Lanka's Army
The Chief of Indian Army General Bikram Singh arrived in Sri Lanka Wednesday to hold discussions on further strengthening the bilateral defence ties between the two countries.

General Singh met Army Commander Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya for formal talks last evening.

The discussions between the two military leaders centered on the expansion of the newly-established Diyatalawa Army Training Command (ARTRAC), which is assigned to closely monitor, supervise, assess and coordinate all Army training institutes and their training programs, with Indian support at different levels.

Discussions also have explored possibilities of launching one-to-one correspondence between service regiments of the respective armies as measures to further broaden the spectrum of military interests, benefiting both sides.

The visiting Indian Army Chief in response to a request of Sri Lankan Army Commander has pledged to provide a few horses to the Diyatalawa Sri Lanka Military Academy (SLMA) for training purposes and all possible assistance to further improvement of training slots to Sri Lanka Army in various training programs.

Among areas the two military leaders discussed were, Sri Lanka Army's post-conflict nation building roles, exchange of sports programs and conduct of annual tournaments between both armies, and getting English language instructors of the Indian armed forces to train Sri Lankan Army personnel in the language.

The Indian Army chief's visit is aimed at finding ways to enhance cooperation between the two armies in training, military hardware and joint exercises.

General Singh, during his tour in the North, North Central and Central provinces, is scheduled to visit the security forces headquarters and the rehabilitation center for former LTTE combatants in Vavuniya.

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