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Congress Pot-Shots Overlook PM Modi’s Messaging Behind First TEJAS Sortie: ‘Atmanirbharta’

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Congress Pot-Shots Overlook PM Modi’s Messaging Behind First TEJAS Sortie: ‘Atmanirbharta’


Narendra Modi became the first Indian PM to fly on a fighter jet as he put out a strong message on the indigenisation and importance of ‘Atmanirbharta’ in the defence sector

Needless political nit-picking by the Congress has emerged over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first sortie in a TEJAS aircraft on Saturday.

According to government sources, some in the Congress have pointed out that the late Rajiv Gandhi was a pilot, others are simply trying to take credit for the indigenous fighter jet while there are also those wondering who the prime minister was waving at when he was up in the air.

As Modi became the first Indian prime minister to fly on a fighter jet, he put out a strong message on the importance of Atmanirbharta (self-reliance) in the defence sector.

Sources said the occasion, in fact, should be one to be proud of but the Congress is choosing to take pot shots over it. It can be seen in the video that the PM is waving at pilots in the fighter jet accompanying his.

Prime Minister Modi’s sortie carried the message of his government’s focus on Atmanirbharta in the defence sector and is part of a sustained outreach on the issue. A few months ago, President Droupadi Murmu also flew on a Sukhoi fighter jet while defence minister Rajnath Singh had taken a sortie in the TEJAS in 2019.

Last year, Singh had also taken a sortie in the light combat helicopter ‘Prachand’ developed by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which has also manufactured TEJAS. The strategy is also a message to India’s adversaries like Pakistan and China.

Sources further said the Narendra Modi-led government has taken giant steps in increasing India’s defence preparedness and indigenisation, including the TEJAS aircraft. The first version of the aircraft was inducted into the Indian Air Force in 2016. At present, there are two fully operational squadrons with TEJAS.

The central government has also placed an order worth Rs 36,468 crore for the delivery of 83 TEJAS MK-1A TEJAS aircraft with HAL, the delivery for which is scheduled to begin by February 2024. More than Rs 9,000 crore has been sanctioned for the development of TEJAS MK-2, an updated and more lethal version of TEJAS.

To further promote indigenisation, including of the aircraft engine, transfer of technology for manufacturing of the GE engine in India has been negotiated with GE during PM Modi’s visit to the US in June. Many countries have also shown an interest in importing the TEJAS.

PM’s Visit To HAL Facility

The PM visited the TEJAS Final Assembly on Saturday and discussed the aircraft’s capabilities. TEJAS is a lightweight, all-weather multi-role aircraft and has been operationally deployed with the IAF to be the mainstay of its fighter fleet in years to come. The aircraft is capable of undertaking offensive air support role as well as ground attach roles and is superior to its contemporaries.

Modi walked through the production line of TEJAS and interacted with the engineers on the different features of the aircraft. It was explained to him that the fighter jet is presently powered by GE 404 engine, which will get an upgrade to GE414 Engine for TEJAS MK-2. This will be manufactured in India with 80 percent transfer of technology arrangement with GE Engines, for which a pact has already been signed.

This will be the first time that an engine of this class will be produced in India and is likely to bridge the technology gap that exists in India’s aero-engine domain.

Officials also briefed Modi on the capacity investments being done by HAL to produce TEJAS aircraft in greater numbers. The defence PSU has established two production lines of the aircraft in Bengaluru, and this can produce up to 16 aircraft per year. Further, an additional production line is being established at HAL Nashik to take the production rate beyond 24 aircraft from 2024-25. HAL is also planning to advance the deliveries of present and future orders of TEJAS to customers.

The PM also discussed the extent of indigenisation efforts of TEJAS. It was explained to him that flight controls, fuel systems, hydraulics, air-conditioning, mission and display systems have also been indigenised. He was informed that HAL is striving to take the indigenous content of the aircraft beyond 70 percent in the next three to four years under the indigenisation drive as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.





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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’

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INS Arihant’s Nuke-Capable K-4 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile ‘Ready To Roll’


NEW DELHI: India tested its nuclear capable K-4 submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), designed to have a strike range of 3,500 km, for the second time in six days on Friday. The missile test, as the one conducted on January 19, was undertaken from an undersea platform in the shape of a submersible pontoon off the coast of Andhra Pradesh according to a report by Rajat Pandit of TOI.

The solid-fuelled K-4 missile is being developed by DRDO to arm the country’s nuclear-powered submarines in the shape of INS Arihant and its under-development sister vessels. INS Arihant, which became fully operational in November 2018 to complete India’s nuclear triad, is currently armed with the much shorter K-15 missiles with a 750 km range.

“The K-4 is now virtually ready for its serial production to kick-off. The two tests have demonstrated its capability to emerge straight from underwater and undertake its parabolic trajectory,” said a source.

India has the land-based Agni missiles, with the over 5,000-km Agni-V inter-continental ballistic missile now in the process of being inducted, and fighter jets jury-rigged to deliver nuclear weapons. But INS Arihant gives the country’s deterrence posture much more credibility because nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles are considered the most secure, survivable and potent platforms for retaliatory strikes.

Once the K-4 missiles are inducted, they will help India narrow the gap with countries like the US, Russia and China, which have over 5,000-km range SLBMs. The K-4 missiles are to be followed by the K-5 and K-6 missiles in the 5,000-6,000 km range class.

The 6,000-ton INS Arihant, which is propelled by an 83 MW pressurised light-water reactor at its core, in turn, is to be followed by INS Arighat, which was launched in 2017. The next generation of nuclear submarines, currently called S-4 and S-4*, will be much larger in size.





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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%

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After Upgradation, Sukhoi Su-30MKI Indigenisation To Reach 78%


India has received clearance to upgrade 84 Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets, which will result in 78% indigenization after the upgrade

In a significant step towards bolstering its military might with indigenously developed technology, India is poised to witness its Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets evolve into a domestic platform. Speaking at a recent lecture.

The upgrade program is being led by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in partnership with the Indian Air Force and other partners. The upgrade is expected to cost US$7.5 billion.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) granted Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for the upgrade. The upgrade is part of India’s efforts to improve the capabilities of its primary fighter aircraft, it refers to as the “Super Sukhoi”.

This initiative is a part of a larger effort by the Indian Air Force to modernize its ageing fleet. Air Chief Marshal Chaudhari asserted the critical role of an offensive air force as demonstrated in current global conflicts and emphasized India’s move towards an indigenized arsenal. To this end, the IAF has been proactive, from upgrading its Mirage 2000 to enhancing its MiG-29 fleet.

In summary, the IAF’s commitment to updating their combat forces with the latest technology, including shifting to fifth-generation fighter jets, ensures operational preparedness and a strong deterrence capability. The gradual indigenization of its air fleet marks a pivotal shift in India’s defence landscape, reducing dependency on foreign imports and fostering technological sovereignty.





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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace

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Akash Weapon System Exports For The Armenian Armed Forces Gathers Pace


According to unconfirmed reports, Armenia is a top contender for an export order for Akash SAM system manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL).

While there is no official confirmation because of the sensitivities involved, documents suggest that the order for the same has already been placed the report further added.
There are nine countries, in turn, which have shown interest in the indigenously-developed Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km. They are Kenya, Philippines, Indonesia, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Algeria reported TOI.

The Akash export version will also be slightly different from the one inducted by the armed forces. The 100-km range air-to-air Astra missiles, now entering production after successful trials from Sukhoi-30MKI fighters, also have “good export potential”, said sources.

Akash is a “tried, tested and successfully inducted systems”. Indian armed forces have ordered Akash systems worth Rs 24,000 crore over the years, and MoD inked a contract in Mar 2023 of over Rs 9,100 crores for improved Akash Weapon System

BDL is a government enterprise under the Ministry of Defence that was established in 1970. BDL manufactures surface-to-air missiles and delivers them to the Indian Army. BDL also offers its products for export.

Akash Weapon System

The AWS is a Short Range Surface to Air Missile (SRSAM) Air Defence System, indigenously designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). In order to meet aerial threats, two additional Regiments of AWS with Upgradation are being procured for Indian Army for the Northern borders. Improved AWS has Seeker Technology, Reduced Foot Print, 360° Engagement Capability and improved environmental parameters.

The project will give a boost to the Indian missile manufacturing industry in particular and the indigenous defence manufacturing ecosystem as a whole. The project has overall indigenous content of 82% which will be increased to 93% by 2026-27.

The induction of the improved AWS into the Indian Army will increase India’s self-reliance in Short Range Missile capability. This project will play a role in boosting the overall economy by avoiding outgo of precious foreign exchange to other countries, increasing employment avenues in India and encouraging Indian MSMEs through components manufacturing. Around 60% of the project cost will be awarded to the private industry, including MSMEs, in maintaining the supply chain of the weapon system, thereby creating large scale of direct and indirect employment.





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