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Monday, 1 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 01 Feb 2016

106 upgraded Tejas jets to replace MiGs
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 31
The Ministry of Defence has decided to locally produce 106 upgraded Light Combat Aircraft “Tejas” jets to replace the ageing fleet of MiG fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

The “Tejas Mark 1-A” will have 43 improvements over the existing Tejas currently being test-flown by the IAF for various parameters and slated for final operation clearance in March. The existing project is running years behind schedule.

Sources told The Tribune that a decision has been taken to produce 106 “Tejas Mark 1-A” jets and the same has been conveyed to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), besides the manufacturer — Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a public sector undertaking owned by MoD.

The MoD has set a 2018 deadline for the first aircraft to be ready with a target to complete its production by 2022-2023. In September, new specifications were agreed upon and the IAF accepted 43 modifications that could be carried out without changing the existing design.

On the list of modifications are five major improvements, including an AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar, which the HAL will co-develop with Israel firm Elta; air-to-air refuelling facility; externally fitted self-protection jammer to prevent incoming enemy missiles from homing in using radar signature; and a new layout, involving 27 modifications, of internal systems to iron out maintenance issues.

The plane will be 1,000 kg lighter than the existing version, which currently weighs 6,500 kg, but will use the same engine — General Electric’s 404. “The power of the engine is more than enough,” said a senior functionary. Fitting the newer and more powerful GE-414 engine would entail fresh design and airframe studies.

The HAL has been asked to produce 16 jets annually and a Rs 1,252-crore modernisation plan has been okayed to ramp up capacities from the present six-seven planes annually.

The decision will go a long way in keeping the IAF battle-ready.  The upgraded jets will fill the void created by MiG-21s and MiG-27s that will be phased out by 2022.

There are 260 Soviet-era single-engine MiG-21 and MiG-27 jets in the IAF fleet. The air force needs 400 jets over the next 10 years.
ITBP trains dogs for PM security
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 31
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) is training sniffer dogs employed by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) that is responsible for providing security cover to the Prime Minister.

The first such batch of SPG dogs is undergoing training at ITBP’s National Training Centre for Dogs (NTCD), co-located with its Basic Training Centre at Bhanu near Chandigarh. The centre was recently expanded and upgraded with new training infrastructure and accommodation.

The training regimen is of 24 weeks out of which they have already completed seven weeks. The dogs include Labradors, German Shepherds and Malinois. The number of SPG dogs being trained by the ITBP is being kept a closely guarded secret.

Last year, the SPG had approached the ITBP for urgent allotment of seats at the NCTD to train their dogs in anti-sabotage checks in view of pinpointed threats. The SPG will now train all its dogs at the ITBP centre.

New training methodologies have been formulated by the ITBP to train its dogs. ITBP K-9 units were the only Indian sniffer dog squads to be selected for dove-tailing with the US dog squads during the visit of President Barrack Obama to India last year. They have also validated their performance in highly sensitive operations such as Op French Toast, conducted during this Republic Day celebrations to protect the visiting French Premier Francois Hollande in addition to Op Lal Quila, Op Doga, Op Ob-Mo, Op Africa and many others that involved sanitising VVIP areas and protecting foreign dignitaries.

Besides its own dogs, the ITBP trains dogs of other paramilitary forces, state police forces and some other countries. It has the capacity to accommodate and train 60 dogs and their handlers at a time. The ITBP has also trained dogs to sanitise encounter sites by sniffing out IEDs and booby traps before troops move in.

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