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In Support of Peace: The Latest Defence Related Developments

In several demonstrations of new innovations, the DRDO, India’s premier defence research institute, has displayed its commitment to enhancing the nation’s deterrent capabilities. As a follow up to our previous reports, we look at these new developments.

The Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan or the ANBA has now made its way into almost all sectors contributing to national development. During the recently held Ambassadors’ Round-table Virtual Conference (October 7), as a run-up to Aero India 2021, Rajnath Singh, India’s Minister of Defence reiterated the importance of the ANBA as a centrepiece of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘New India’ vision. With over 200+ high-level dignitaries in virtual attendance, the Defence Minister has argued that Aero India 21 will “dive deep into the strategic and business opportunities available in India with the aim of establishing strategic partnerships”.

Aero India-21 aligns with India’s vision to be among the top five countries of the world in defence and aerospace industries, with active participation of public and private sector fulfilling the objective of Self-Reliance as well as requirements of other friendly countries.

Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister of India

Terrestrial Supremacy

Further boosting the efforts to make India self-reliant, the Ministry of Defence has recently signed contract with a Nagpur based company for supplying 10,000 multi-mode hand grenades for the Indian Army. The grenades, originally designed by the DRDO have a distinctive design that makes them an important offensive as well as defensive tool.

In another development, the Army Static Switched Communication Network (ASCON) Phase IV Network has been finally approved. The ASCON is important to integrate and provide better communication opportunities along with better survivability to the Indian Army in sensitive forward operational areas of the Central and Eastern sectors. The project is also seen as big boost to bring in the ANBA into defence production and implementation.

Recently, an indigenously developed Anti-Tank missile, the likes of which has already been integrated with India’s T-90 tanks, was successfully test-fired from the Arjun MB tank. With a range of upto 3-4km, the Laser-guided missile, fired from the indigenous Main Battle Tank (MBT), will add to the capabilities of Indian Army’s armoured division, particularly along the International Borders with Pakistan and China.

Adventures in the Air

As the 88th Air Force Day (October 8) celebrations were kicked off, a gravity-defying display of India’s mighty Air Force was the highlight of the parade held at the Hindan Air Force Station. The New Rafale fighter aircraft were also part of the celebrations that saw the ceremonial flypast being witnessed virtually throughout the country. Adding another feather to its cap, Air Force’s Wing Commander Gajanan Yadava and Warrant Officer AK Tiwari skydived from a C-130J aircraft at the iconic Khardungla Pass at Leh (17,892 feet). This comes as new record of the highest Skydive Landing while simultaneously commemorating the Air Force Day.

Meanwhile, the DRDO has been working tirelessly to enhance the nation’s Air Defence capabilities. In a recent breakthrough, the much-awaited flight-test of medium altitude long endurance indigenous prototype, Rustam-2 drone was completed in Karnataka. The drone, tested for eight hours at an altitude of 16,000 feet, is said to be under development to increase its capacity to 18 hours at a whopping 26,000 feet by this year’s end. Simultaneously, the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC) is currently trying to negotiate the upgrade of India’s existing fleet of Heron drones in an effort to arm them with laser-guided bombs and surface-to-air missiles, as per recent reports.

To further bolster the efforts of our Air Warriors, the first indigenous anti-radiation missile, RUDRAM, was successfully flight tested. The missile is said to have hit its intended target with pin-point accuracy and is now ready to be integrated with aircraft of the Indian Air Force. The RUDRAM missile can neutralise radars, communication sites and other RF emitting targets over long-ranges.

Maritime Might

In a massive collaborative effort coming from several of the DRDO’s state-of-the-art laboratories, the Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo or SMART, was successfully flight tested on October 5. It has been reported that all mission-specific parameters were perfectly met. SMART is a facet of assisted release of a lightweight anti-submarine weapon system and its test has come as game changer in terms of India’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capabilities.

With the constant drive to increase the might of our armed forces, India’s efforts to maintain peace and stability along its borders are provided a significant push. It is however, equally important to note that these innovations have always been used in defence of Indian interests and never as a means to fuel an aggressive approach. An idea and policy decision central to India’s regional and international peace-keeping efforts since the start.