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Thursday, 21 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 21 Mar 2013
India successfully tests world’s first underwater supersonic cruise missile
Big leap
The submarine-launched version of BrahMos, with a range of 290 km, was successfully test-fired from an underwater pontoon in the Bay of Bengal
The missile is fully ready to be fitted in submarines in vertical launch configuration
The Indian Army and Navy already have ship and ground-launched versions of the missile

Visakhapatnam, March 20
India today successfully carried out the maiden test-firing of the over 290 km-range submarine-launched version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in the Bay of Bengal, becoming the first country in the world to have this capability.

The missile was successfully test-fired from an underwater pontoon, near here, BrahMos CEO A Sivathanu Pillai said.

This is the first test-firing of an underwater supersonic cruise missile anywhere in the world and the missile travelled its complete range of over 290 km, he said.

He said the performance of the missile during the test launch was “perfect”.

Ship and ground-launched versions of the missile have been successfully tested and put into service with the Indian Army and the Navy.

The maiden test of the submarine-launched version of BrahMos comes over a week after indigenously built long-range subsonic cruise missile “Nirbhay” failed to hit its target in its first test.

“BrahMos missile is fully ready to be fitted in submarines in vertical launch configuration which will make the platform one of the most powerful weapon platforms in the world,” Pillai said.

Defence Minister AK Antony congratulated DRDO scientists and Russian specialists along with officers of the Indian Navy associated with the project.

The BrahMos missile is set be the primary weapon for the Navy in the coming years. The Navy had recently test-fired the missile capable of carrying a conventional warhead of 300 kg.

While the induction of the first version of BrahMos missile system in the Navy started from 2005 with INS Rajput, it is now fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

The Air Force version of the missile is also said to be ready and work is going on to modify two Russian Sukhoi (Su-30) fighter jets to make the aircraft BrahMos compatible. — PTI
US sends new satellite into space to monitor missile launches
Cape Canaveral: An unmanned Atlas 5 rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Tuesday to put a second upgraded missile-warning satellite into orbit.

The 192-foot (58-meter) rocket lifted off from its seaside launch pad at 5:21 p.m. EDT/2121 GMT, carrying the U.S. Air Force's second Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous, or Geo2, satellite.

Once operational, the spacecraft will join an orbital surveillance network that continually scans the globe for tell-tale signs of missile launches.
"The infrared signature coming out the back end of a missile, we see that," Air Force Space Commander William Shelton said on Tuesday during a House Science Committee hearing about detecting incoming asteroids and other space objects.

"We'll be able to tell you what type of missile it is. We'll be able to tell you where that missile is going. We'll be able to tell you where it's going to impact," Shelton added.

"Those infrared sensors can be used for other things, but they can't be used for predictive things out beyond Earth," he said.

The satellite, built by Lockheed Martin joins an identical craft, Geo1, launched in May 2011. Each are equipped with two infrared sensors, one which continually scans the globe for missile launches, and the other which can stare at a fixed point.

The Space Based Infrared System supplements and eventually will replace the predecessor Defense Support Program satellite network which has been operating for 40 years.

"I would argue that the nation's missile warning system is critical now, perhaps even more so than it was during the Cold War," said James Planeaux, who oversees the Air Force's Infrared Space Systems directorate.

"Certainly, strategic and tactical missile threats have proliferated in both number and type. We're modernizing the nation's systems so we remain highly capable against today's threats."

The space-based network detected nearly 200 missile launches in 2011 and an additional 1,700 "special infrared events," Planeaux said.

"I believe with some of the activity we're seeing around the world even this year, we're seeing an increase in the number of global missile launches," Planeaux said.

On Friday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced plans to deploy 14 additional missile interceptors in Alaska to guard against increased threats from North Korea and Iran.

Data from the military's space-based monitoring network feeds missile interceptors positioning and tracking information.

Geo1 has not yet been put into operational service due to a data communications issue, but work to certify it for real-time monitoring should be completed by October 1, Planeaux said.

Geo2's certification is expected to follow before the end of the year.

Two more satellites are being built for launch in 2015 and 2016, respectively, and a follow-on contract for an additional pair is expected to be awarded this year, Planeaux added.

Tuesday's launch was the 69th for rocket manufacturer United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing that was established in 2006.
LTTE fighters were dressed in Indian army uniforms: Fonseka
The LTTE fighters were dressed in Indian army uniforms during the final battles of the nearly three-decade long civil war, former Sri Lankan army chief Sarath Fonseka has said.
Fonseka in an address to the Foreign Correspondents' Association in Colombo on Tuesday also denied that his
troops killed Balachandran, the 12-year-old son of slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Britain's Channel 4 television network last month released new photographs of what they called Balachandran inside a military bunker having a snack and another frame which showed his bullet riddled body.

"These pictures could have been doctored," Fonseka said.

"The bunker where he was looks too tidy and orderly to be one of our bunkers. In the battle field, we did not have the luxury of having such neat and tidy bunkers," Fonseka said.

"The camouflaged uniform worn by someone who is claimed to be a Sri Lankan soldier is not we issue our troops. This is the camouflage that is used by Indian troops. We know Tigers used smuggled Indian army-type uniforms," he said.

However, Fonseka repeated his offer to face any independent international investigation and said it was his "duty" as the commander at the time to face any probe.

He accused the government of not addressing accountability issues and allowing calls for a war crimes probe to escalate without addressing the basic questions many had.

"People want to know what happened. Some want to clear doubts," Fonseka said, adding that he was prepared to answer the charges if he was questioned by any international independent probe.

Fonseka fell out with President Mahinda Rajapakse soon after crushing the LTTE in May 2009 and went on to challenge Rajapaksa in the January 2010 presidential election.

He suffered a crushing defeat and was later arrested and jailed till May last year when he was freed on a presidential pardon.

Fonseka said Sri Lanka will face more international allegations of war crimes unless it agreed to a probe.
SAF, Indian Army conduct bilateral armour exercise in India
SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Indian Army (IA) are conducting a bilateral armour exercise, Bold Kurukshetra, in India.

This year's exercise is the ninth in the series, with more than 700 soldiers from the SAF and IA participating in integrated manoeuvres, as well as joint planning and training.

One of the highlights is the integrated live-firing conducted on Wednesday, involving the SAF and IA infantry fighting vehicles and IA tanks.

The live-firing was witnessed by Singapore's Chief of Army Major-General (MG) Ravinder Singh, and commander of India's 21 Corps, Lieutenant-General Amit Sharma.

MG Ravinder, who is on his introductory visit to India, also interacted with the SAF troops deployed for the exercise.

Exercise Bold Kurukshetra is conducted under the ambit of the Bilateral Agreement for Joint Army Training and Exercises between the Singapore and Indian armies.

Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) said the exercise underscores the warm defence relationship between both countries.

Both sides also interact regularly through high-level visits, policy dialogues, courses, seminars and other professional exchanges.

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