Defence Current Affairs 2017

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Pakistan test-fires first nuclear-capable submarine cruise missile Babur-3

Pakistan successfully test-fired its first Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) Babur-3 capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. This launch gives Pakistan a “credible” second-strike capability.

The Babur-3 missile was fired from an underwater mobile platform from an undisclosed location in the Indian Ocean and hit its target with precise accuracy.

Key facts
  • SLCM Babur-3 is a sea-based variant of Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) Babur-2. It has been named after the first Mughal Emperor Zahir-ud-Din Babur. It has a range of 450km.
  • It incorporates state-of-the-art technologies including underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems.
  • It features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars and air defences. It also has certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment.
  • Babur-3 SLCM in land-attack mode, is capable of delivering various types of payloads including conventional as well as nuclear warheads. 

Note: India for the first time had successfully test-fired a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched missile in 2008 and tested a submarine-launched cruise missile in 2013.

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Indian Army conducts test of indigenous heavy artillery gun Dhanush

The Indian Army has successfully conducted ‘user-validation’ trials of indigenous Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) Dhanush in the Himalayas. It clears the way for the induction in the Army.

Earlier, proof firing tests of Dhanush’s armament systems were carried out during technical trials in June and September 2016 and some initial integrated firing tests were successfully carried out in December 2016.

Key Facts
  • Dhanush 155 MM/52 calibre towed artillery gun is based on the 1980s’ Bofors FH-77B/39 Calibre artillery gun design. Its indegenous development is aided by the transfer of technology (ToT) clause signed with the Swedish company.
  • It is developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in collaboration with the private sector companies. It was designed by the DRDO’s Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE).
  • It boasts a range of 45 km with accuracy and precision and provides greater fire power, depending on the type of ammunition used. It also has night firing capability in direct fire mode.
  • It has several significant features such as an all-electric drive, quick deployability, high mobility, auxiliary power mode, advanced communication system, and automated command and control system.

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India, Portugal sign six agreements

India and Portugal have signed six memorandum of understandings (MoUs) including in defence cooperation.

These agreements were signed after delegation level talks Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his visiting Portugal counterpart António Costa who is chief Guest of 2017 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas.

Six agreements signed are
  • MoU on Defence.
  • MoU on Renewable Energy.
  • MoU on Marine Research and Resources.
  • MoU in the Agriculture and Allied Sectors.
  • MoU in the field of Information Technology and Electronics.
  • MoU on the establishment of an ICCR Chair of Indian Studies in University of Lisbon.

Besides, an agreement on visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports was also signed. It allows visa free travel for diplomatic passport holders of India and Portugal to each other’s countries for short term visits. The defence agreement between both countries aims to boost joint production and development of niche weapons systems. It was signed following Portugal’s support to India’s multilateral plans in various technology regimes including Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in which India secured membership in 2016.

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