Defence Current Affairs 2017

Recent Current Affairs of 2017, 2016 related to India’s Defence, Indian Armed Forces, Defence Production, Defence Acquisition and related matters.

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US Approves Sale of UAV Technology to India

The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India. The deal to sell UAV drones to India is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion. Though the deal has been approved by the State Department, an official announcement regarding the deal is yet to be announced.

Significance

The transfer of the state-of-the-art UAV technology to India will be the first significant progress after India’s entry into the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and after the US has designated India as a major defence partner. India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.

The transfer of Guardian UAV technology is aimed at furthering mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean.

The deal would also pave the way for the transfer of other key technology sales from the US to India. The Guardian unmanned aircraft has been classified as Category 1 aircraft with cutting edge technologies.

Background

Last year, the Indian Navy had requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The US has designated India as a “major defence partner” under the Obama Administration. The US considers India as a key player to counter the Chinese threat. However, the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance under Obama administration.

UAVs operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.

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First Indigenously built Floating Dock Launched by L&T

Larsen & Toubro has launched the first indigenously built Floating Dock (FDN-2) to repair Indian Navy ships at its Shipyard at Kattupalli, north of Chennai. The floating shipyard would be handed over to the Indian Navy after conducting three to four months of trial.

Salient Highlights

After the trials, FDN-2 will be moved to Andaman & Nicobar Islands. There it would be used for repairing assets of the Indian Navy and also of other services. These floating docks are capable of being installed either along a jetty, moored in calm waters and also moved to high seas enabling round-the-year operation.

FDN-2 will be capable of repairing up to 8,000-tonne ships with draught up to 7 metres, including submarine

FDN-2 will be capable of simultaneous docking of multiple ships. In addition, off-center docking options were also feasible. It has hauling-in system to handle a ship’s docking and undocking operations. It can also cater to the ships berthed along its side. At any point of time, FDN-2 can cater to six ships for repairs or refit.

The FDN-2 is a wholly Made in India product. The 468 crore FDN-2 was lowered into the Bay of Bengal by Anjali Deshpande, wife of the Vice-Admiral Controller Warship Production and Acquisition of Indian Navy, DM Deshpande.

Background

FDN-2 is the first Naval shipbuilding project for L&T. L&T has been undertaking repairs and refits of Naval and Coast Guard ships. It has delivered six ship refits including the largest Logistics Tanker ship INS Jyoti. L&T has so far invested around Rs 5,000 crore in the Kattupalli Shipyard.

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Lockheed and Tata sign Pact to make F-16 Planes in India 

 

Lockheed Martin and India’s Tata Advanced Systems have signed a pact to produce F-16 fighter planes in India. The two companies have announced their agreement at the Paris Airshow.

Lockheed Martin’s move to forge a joint venture with Tata is aimed at winning billions of dollars worth order from the Indian military.

Lockheed Martin is one of the largest aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technologies  companies having worldwide interests. It is headquartered in Maryland. The company was formed after the merger of Lockheed Corporation and Martin Marietta in 1995.

Background

India’s airforce is in requirement of hundreds of aircraft inorder ro replace its soviet-era aircrafts. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Make-in-India initiative require the foreign suppliers to forge partnership with a local partner to make planes and build a domestic industrial base in India. This is aimed at cutting outright imports.

But Make-in-India initiative appears to be in conflict with President Donald Trump’s America First campaign under which Trump wants the companies to invest in the United States and create jobs instead of establishing factories abroad. To allay these concerns, both the companies have said that moving the production base to India would still retain jobs in the United States.

Establishing a production base in India for the manufacture of F-16 will create new manufacturing jobs in India and is expected to position Indian industry at the centre of the most extensive fighter aircraft supply ecosystem in the world,

Sweden’s Saab is the other contender to supply aircraft to the Indian Air Force. The company has offered to make its Gripen fighter in India. However, it is yet to announce a local partner In India. Gripen fighters are pitched as a modern alternative to the F-16s.

US and India have built a close defence relationship in recent years. US along with Russia and Israel has emerged as a top three arms supplier to India. F-16s are flown by air forces by 26 countries around the world. In addition, Lockheed Martin is offering model Block 70 which is the most modern of all F-16s.

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