Defence Current Affairs 2017

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Indian Navy’s INSV Tarini inducted

Indian Navy’s second ocean-going sailboat INSV Tarini was inducted at the INS Mandovi Boat Pool on Saturday in Goa.

INSV Tarini is a sloop built by Divar-based Aquarius Shipyard.  It is slated to be the platform for the Indian Navy’s first Indian all-women circumnavigation of the globe expedition.

Key Facts
  • INSV (Indian Naval Sailing Vessel) Tarini has been built to a stock design called called Tonga 56 by Van de Stadt, the Netherlands.
  • It carries a suite of six sails, including a main sail, head sails (Genoa and stay sails), downwind sails and storm sail.
  • Its mast is 25 metres and has been custom-built by M/s Southern Spars, Cape Town (South Africa), for sailing in extreme conditions.
  • It has Raymarine navigation suite and an array of satellite communication systems on board through which contact can be made from anywhere.
  • INSV Tarini’s predecessor INSV Mhadei learning experiences have been incorporated into it. The INSV Mhadei has sailed over 1,15,000 nautical miles in the past eight years.
  • It includes voyages like the first Indian solo globe circumnavigation undertaken by Dilip Donde in 2009 and the first solo, non-stop unassisted circumnavigation undertaken by Abhilash Tomy in 2013.
Naming of INSV Tarini

INSV Tarini has been named after the Tara-Tarini hill shrine located on the Kumari hills on the banks of Rushikulya river in Ganjam district of Odisha. In Sanskrit, the word Tarini means both boat and saviour. Tara-Tarini was the traditional patron deity for sailors and merchants of ancient Odisha, who is worshipped for safety and success at sea. This holy shrine is linked to the worship of Tara, the primordial deity of the Mahayana Buddhism. Later, it became a major shrine of Tantra. In the sanctorum of Tara Tarini temple, a small idol in meditating posture is found hinting its ancient Buddhist links.  ‘Sadhabas’, the ancient sea faring merchants from Odisha used to rever Tara-Tarini and worshipped at this shrine before starting their sea voyage.

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IAF inducts indigenous early warning system NETRA

The Indian Airforce (IAG) has formally inducted the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) dubbed as NETRA.

The AEW&C NETRA has been indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). It was unveiled at the 2017 Aero India exhibition held in Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Key Facts 
  • AEW&C are airborne radar systems mounted on a carrier jet for airborne surveillance system i.e. to detect and track aircraft, missiles, ships and vehicles and provide command and control to direct friendly forces.
  • It consists of active electronically scanned radar, secondary surveillance radar, electronic and communication counter measures, LOS (Line of Sight) and beyond-LOS data link, voice communication system
  • AEW&C NETRA system is based on Embraer aircraft (Emb-145 platform). It has self-protection suite and also mid-air refueling capability to enhance surveillance time.
  • This system gives 240-degree coverage of airspace. DRDO has developed three NETRA systems and its three aircraft will be based at Bhatinda, facing the Western border.
  • With this India, joins group of other countries such as United States, Russia and Israel which have developed the AEW&C system.

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Reliance Defence signs warship repair pact with US Navy

Anil Ambani group led Reliance Defence and Engineering Limited (RDEL) has signed a Master Ship Repair Agreement (MSRA) with the US Navy to provide repair and alteration services for ships of the Seventh Fleet.

With this, RDEL became first Indian company (either public or private) to provide logistical support to the US military within Indian territory.

Key Facts
  • Under this agreement, RDEL will maintain the vessels of US Seventh Fleet involving 100 vessels operating in the Indian Ocean.
  • The signing of a MSRA agreement is a follow-up to the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) signed between India and US in August 2016.
  • These vessels will be serviced and repaired from the RDEL owned private shipyard in Pipavav in Gujarat. This deal is likely to generate Rs. 10,000 crore in revenues for RDEL in the next five years.
  • The Pipavav shipyard was qualified and approved by US government to perform complex repair and alteration services for the US Navy after a detailed site survey conducted in October 2016.
  • The US Seventh Fleet looks after the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean. Currently, these vessels visit Singapore or Japan for such works.

Note: RDIL is the first private sector company in India to obtain the licence and contract to build Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) for Indian Navy. Its Pipavav shipyard is only modular shipbuilding facility in India having capacity to build fully fabricated and outfitted blocks. 

About LEMOA

It is a tweaked India-specific version of the logistics support agreement (LSA), which US has close military to military co-operation with several countries. LEMOA gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment. It should be noted that it does not create any obligations on either Party to carry out any joint activity. It does not provide for the establishment of any bases or basing arrangements.

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