Defence Current Affairs 2017

USS Gerald R Ford: World’s largest aircraft carrier inducted by US

The United States (US) Navy officially inducted USS Gerald R Ford (CVN 78), the world’s largest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia. It is the most advanced aircraft carrier in the world.

USS Gerald Ford is first in the series of three of the futuristic ships of the Ford-class carriers ordered by US Navy. Its operational deployment will be in 2021 after undergoing final outfitting and testing.

About USS Gerald R Ford

The ship is named after the 38th President of the US Gerald Ford to pay tribute to his lifetime of service to the nation in the US Navy and the US government. Construction on the USS Gerald R Ford started in 2009 and was to be completed by September 2015 at a cost of $10.5 billion.

USS Gerald R Ford weighs 1 lakh tonnes and is 1,106-feet long equivalent to size of about three football fields. It has two nuclear reactors on board that can operate for up to 20 years without refuelling. Compared to earlier Nimitz class aircraft carriers, it rigged with state-of-the-art technology and can carry more aircraft and weapons.

It has electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS), replaceing the steam system used on earlier carriers and new electric motor-based Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) system for faster and more efficient aircraft take-offs and landings. It is also outfitted with touchscreen navigation display in place of a traditional throttle.

It has 2,600 sailors carrying capacity, 600 less crew members compared to earlier carriers due to its double electrical capacity and more automated equipment. It also features new advanced reactor plant, propulsion system, electric plant, machinery control, Dual Band Radar and integrated warfare systems. It has more than 20 new or modified systems compared previous Nimitz class vessels.

Ford-class aircraft carriers

Ford-class carriers are part of the new advanced US aircraft carrier design developed in 40 years, succeeding earlier Nimitz-class class. The second ship in the series USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) is under construction and work on the third carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 80) has begun.

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Indian Army inks MoU with DRDO to raise MRSAM defence system regiment

The Indian Army has signed MoU with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to raise one regiment of the advanced Medium Range Surface to Air Missiles (MRSAM) defence system.

Background

The Indian Army is planning to have a total of five regiments of MRSAM defence system, which will be deployed opposite to China and Pakistan. Each regiment consists of four launchers with three missiles each. So five regiments will have total 60 missiles. Earlier the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) headed by PM Narendra Modi had approved proposal for procuring MRSAM system for the army.

About MRSAM

The MRSAM is an advanced, all weather, mobile, land-based air defence system. It can shoot down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS aircraft.  It is capable of engaging multiple aerial targets at ranges of more than 50 km.

MRSAM is a land-based variant of the long-range surface-to-air missile (LRSAM) or Barak-8 naval air defence system, which is designed to operate from naval vessels. Each MRSAM system comprises a command-and-control system, mobile launchers, tracking radar and missiles.

The system will be jointly developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and DRDO with the involvement of DPSUs and private sectors. It has majority indigenous content, giving boost to the Make-in-India initiative.

In July 2016, the IAI and DRDO successfully had conducted three flight tests of the MRSAM at the integrated test range off the Odisha Coast. The missile had successfully intercepted moving aerial targets in all three tests.

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