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Modernisation of Army Aviation

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Modernisation of Army Aviation


The Army is contemplating the gradual retirement of its ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, commencing in 2027, and is contemplating the introduction of light utility helicopters as a viable substitute while simultaneously exploring the feasibility of leasing options. The Army Aviation Corps currently maintains an operational fleet of approximately 190 Chetak, Cheetah, and Cheetal helicopters. In light of the escalating global confrontations, the geopolitical landscape is experiencing dynamic shifts among world powers. To retain relevance in the contemporary international arena, a nation must meticulously prepare for a spectrum of contingencies. Recent years have provided invaluable experiential insights, and our battle-hardened armed forces have judiciously outlined the requisites dictated by the prevailing scenario, drawing upon the lessons of past engagements.

Air power stands as an imperative facet of a nation’s defensive capabilities, rendering it indispensable in repelling potential threats under any circumstances. This indispensability is not solely confined to fighter aircraft; helicopters hold equal prominence in modern warfare. They play a pivotal role in countering infiltrations and insurgencies, particularly in challenging terrain like forests. Additionally, helicopters are paramount for overseeing reconnaissance and surveillance activities. The existing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak helicopters has reached the culmination of its operational lifecycle. The emphasis is squarely on domestically produced LUHs, with any shortages to be addressed through leasing arrangements. Over the past decade, there has been a significant focus on the “Made in India” initiative, resulting in remarkable achievements, including the indigenous production of advanced light helicopters (ALH). A crucial development involves the establishment of an additional aviation brigade to augment the existing three brigades, amplifying the overall strength of the armed forces. The primary geographical focus is on the nation’s northern, eastern, and western borders, where helicopters are indispensable, offering logistical, emergency, backup, medical, and various other forms of support when the need arises.

India’s extensive borders adjoin two nuclear-armed nations, and skirmishes with these neighbouring powers occur periodically. The Indian army is stationed at some of the world’s highest military outposts, such as Siachen, guarding against potential threats from Pakistan. In Ladakh, the army keeps a vigilant watch on multiple fronts, particularly in the context of ongoing border disputes with China that extend beyond Ladakh to the north-eastern region. Complacency has no place, and the armed forces must remain in a perpetual state of readiness. Securing these borders demands the continuous modernization of equipment, armaments, and munitions. The decision to phase out ageing Chetak and Cheetah helicopters within 10-12 years allows ample time for the enhancement of existing Light Utility Helicopters (LUH) and the development of more advanced rotorcraft innovations.

In conjunction with the ongoing modernization efforts within the Indian Air Force, including the acquisition of advanced aircraft such as the Rafale and indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), the augmentation of India’s airpower capabilities is poised to experience a significant exponential upsurge. This augmentation is anticipated to confer a substantial and invaluable advantage over potential adversaries at any given juncture. The strategic emphasis on indigenous production, besides enhancing self-reliance, holds the potential to generate substantial cost savings. These cost savings can be reallocated into further research and development endeavours, fortifying India’s technological capabilities and bolstering its position in the ever-evolving realm of military aviation.

The Government has demonstrated its commitment by furnishing the requisite financial support and facilitating technical advancements through diligent research and development efforts and the promotion of indigenous capabilities. These objectives, although challenging, have been made attainable under the current administration’s stewardship. The forthcoming ALH iterations will also be equipped with missile systems, augmenting the capabilities of the Army Aviation. These collective endeavours are poised to bring about a transformative paradigm shift within the domain of military aviation, exemplifying the effectiveness of multifaceted strategies aimed at fortifying the armed forces.





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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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