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ISRO’s Gaganyaan Astronauts Ready For First Flight In 2025: S Somanath

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ISRO’s Gaganyaan Astronauts Ready For First Flight In 2025: S Somanath


Graphical illustration of Gaganyaan launch vehicle after separation of lower stages

Gandhinagar: Indian Space Research Organisation chairman S Somanath said here on Saturday that the astronauts selected for India’s first human space flight programme Gaganyaan are ready and waiting for the flight to happen for the 2025 mission.

The Gaganyaan programme aims to send four astronauts into space for a three-day mission in 2025 and bring them back safely to Earth. ISRO, whose Chandrayaan-3 made a historic landing near Moon’s south pole in August, is working day and night to develop technology to make it happen, Somanath said.

“For the first mission we have selected four of them, and it is our endeavour to send them at least by 2025 to space and bring them back safely. Bringing them back safely is a very important element of this mission,” Somanath said while addressing graduating students at the 11th convocation of Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU). “A lot of technology needs to be developed in the coming days to make it possible. And at ISRO we are working day and night to make that happen,” he said.

Several technologies for the same have been developed afresh, perfected and made successful in the last few years, he said. “In the coming days we will see multiple missions without man, and then ultimately the launch of an Indian into space. The astronauts are already ready. They are waiting for the flight to happen. This is one of the important missions that we are looking at,” he said.

ISRO is also looking at making a space station, which is vital for scientific and technological progress and for industries to work in various domains, he said. “The energy created out of Chandrayaan-3 landing enables us to dream big today. None of our dreams can be small. With every incremental success that we make, our dreams grow bigger and bigger, and it has to be achieved. And it can only be done by young people who are coming into this sector,” he said.

India in August joined an elite club of countries to achieve a soft landing on the Moon, after the US, the former Soviet Union and China. Somanath said that India today has become a world leader in space technology, and even when investment remains modest, the country has been able to create capacity and capability in the sector to build its own spacecraft, have its own launchers, and achieve whatever it wants to do with that type of budget.

In addition to ISRO, he said, India now has industries building and launching satellites and spacecraft. There are companies manufacturing parts and systems for aerospace and Boeing, offering great opportunities for the future generation, he said. “Future generations of students graduating now have a great opportunity that none of us had in the past – an ability to envision, create new ideas in the space sector,” he said.

Somanath said that in 2023, ISRO overcame three past setbacks with the success of Chandrayaan-3, GSLV (Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle) and the small satellite launch vehicle. Talking about Chandrayaan-3, Somanath said that India now has the confidence to do “high technology” projects of this class.

“It not only resonated with society all across the country, but it resonated equally well outside the country. We became the first nation to land on the south pole of the Moon, and we became the fourth nation to land on the Moon,” he said. To achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of having its own space station by 2035 for India to land on Moon by 2040, “you need to do many many things, like going to moon again, going to other planetary bodies like Venus, Mars, and continuous exploration in a manner that is Indian”, he said.

The ISRO chief said that an emerging nation like India is going to drive on technology, and the country’s future is based on excellence in science and technology. “We would like to become a powerful nation … by involving everybody, to become toppers in at least some domains compared to others. The economy created on sound principles of technology has the ability to make us a world leader,” he said.

In his virtual address, Reliance Industries CMD Mukesh Ambani, who is also the president of PDEU, said India is faced with an “energy trilemma” and he is confident that the country has the capability to develop smart and sustainable solutions to address this because of extremely talented young minds to fight the climate crisis.

India’s energy requirement is set to double just by the end of this decade. As India reaches to build a robust energy infrastructure to meet its energy goals, it faces three crucial questions, he said. “One, how can it ensure that every citizen and every economic activity in India has access to adequate, most affordable energy. Two, how can it rapidly transition from fossil fuel-based energy to clean and green energy. Three, how can it derisk the expanding needs of its fast growing economy from a volatile external environment,” Ambani said.

“I call these three questions the energy trilemma. I am confident that India is capable of developing smart and sustainable solutions to address this trilemma because it has extremely talented young minds to fight the climate crisis. They will design breakthrough energy solutions to build not just a strong and ‘Atmanirbhar’ India but also a safer and healthier planet,” he said.





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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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