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India, Russia ink deal on Unit 1 of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant

India has signed a joint statement with Russia takeover full operational control of Unit 1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP). It formally marks the full transition.

The agreement was signed between representatives of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) and the ASE Group of Companies, a subsidiary of ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation of Russia.

Key Facts
  • With the deal, the Russian and Indian sides have confirmed fulfilment of all warranty terms and obligations of the contractor (ASE Group of Companies) for the construction of Unit 1.
  • The warranty period run showed reliable and safe operation of Unit 1. Thus, the NPCIL has confirmed that ASE Group of Companies, which is a general contractor, has fulfilled all its tasks in full and accurately.
  • The commercial operation and the warranty period of Unit 1 of KKNPP had started in December 2014. The warranty was typically for one year, which ended in December 2015.
  • However, the final takeover agreement was delayed to ensure the reliability of the plant and equipment as Unit I was the first of a series of six reactors.
  • Earlier, in March 2017, both countries had signed joint protocol on provisional acceptance of Unit 2 of the plant, which marked the start of its commercial operation.

About Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP)

  • KKNPP is the single largest nuclear power station in India. It is situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity. It has been built in collaboration with Atomstroyexport, the Russian state company and NPCIL.
  • Unit 1 of the plant was synchronised with the southern power grid in October 2013 and is generating electricity to its warranted limit of 1000 MW.
  • Unit 2 with capacity 1,000 MW had achieved first criticality in July 2016. It was grid-connected in August 2016 and its commercial operation started in October 2016.
  • The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of units 3 & 4 was performed in February 2016. The power generated from the plant will provide electricity to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and Karnataka.

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India, Russia ink long-term support pact on Sukhoi Su-30MKI

India and Russia have signed two long-term support agreements for the Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat aircraft fleet, covering around 57,000 spares and components related to the aircraft.

The agreements were signed by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation at the first India-Russia Military Industrial Conference held in New Delhi.

Background

India has contracted 272 Su-30 fighter jets from Russia in various batches and has so far inducted over 230 jets. However, their serviceability rate has been an issue of constant concern. Over the last couple of years, the serviceability rates had dropped below 50% and at one point it had improved to over 60%. 

Key Facts
  • These pacts provides for an upgraded schedule for delivery of spares from Russia for Su-30MKI, local manufacturing of parts and a proposed logistics hub for the fighter jets in Bengaluru (Karnataka) by HAL.
  • Pacts were also signed for maintenance and life-cycle support for other Russian-origin platforms, such as MiG-29K aircraft, Mi-17 helicopters, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks.
  • They will address a long-lasting concern of India with respect to Russian-origin military equipment and also address issues of life-cycle support and maintenance.
Need for such Agreements

India has the third largest armed forces in the world and one of the largest importers of defence equipment. Since most of India’s defence platforms and weapon systems are of Russian-origin, their maintenance and life-cycle support is extremely important from the point of view of our defence preparedness.

Comment

The deal follows a Russian legislation permitting its companies to enter into direct agreement with foreign companies for long-term support agreements. Currently, procurement of spares is a long and cumbersome process as India cannot deal directly with the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) but has to deal with designated intermediaries. India is also exploring the possibility of Russian OEMs allowing licence manufacture of the spares locally by Indian vendors under Make in India initiative

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BrahMos missile successfully test-fired

The land-attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with an extended range increased from 290 km to 450 km was successfully test fired.

The missile was test fired from a Mobile Autonomous Launcher (MAL) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha. It met its mission parameters fully by achieving 100% results. 

About BrahMos missile

  • BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia.
  • It name has been derived from the names of two rivers, India’s Brahmaputra River and Russia’s Moskva River.
  • Features: It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2.  It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant.It is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kilogram, both conventional and nuclear.
  • Range: Its earlier strike range was 290 km. But after India’s induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016, missile’s range has been increased beyond 300km in the same configuration.
  • Another version of the missile with a strike range of 800 km is under development.
  • Deployment: It has already been inducted into the Indian Army and Navy, while the Air Force version is in the final stage of trials. Navy’s first version was inducted in 2005 on INS Rajput.
  • The Indian Army is already equipped with three regiments of Block III version of Brahmos missiles. Now, it is fully operational with two regiments of the Army.

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