Defence Current Affairs 2018

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

Agni-5 ballistic missile successfully test-fired

Indigenously developed long-range surface-to-surface Agni-5 ballistic missile was successfully test fired successfully from Abdul Kalam Wheeler Island, Odisha.

It was overall fifth developmental trial test of the long-range missile carried out by Strategic Forces Command of Indian Army to check its operational readiness. The last test of missile was conducted in December 2016 from same test range.

Agni-5 ballistic missile

The Agni-5 is three-stage solid propellant nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

It is about 17 metres long, 2 metres wide and has a launch weight of around 50 tonnes. It has strike range of over 5,000 kilometres and can carry nuclear warhead of more than one tonne. Thus, it can hit most northern parts of China and other parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. It has not yet inducted into the Services.

Unlike other missiles of Agni series, Agni-5 is most advanced missile having new technologies incorporated with it in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine. It is also a fire and forget missile, which once fired cannot be stopped, except by interceptor missile which only US, Russia and Israel have.

It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.

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After some few more trials, it will be inducted into arsenal of tri-Service Strategic Forces Command which manages India’s nuclear arsenal. Once this missile is inducted into Services, India will join super exclusive club of countries with ICMBs (range of over 5,000-5,500 km) alongside US, Russia, China, France and United Kingdom.

India at present in its armoury of Agni series has Agni-1 (700 km range), Agni-2 (2000 km range,) Agni-3 and Agni-4 (2500 km to more than 3500km range).

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DAC clears procurements of assault rifles and carbines

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has cleared procurement proposal of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast track basis for Rs 3,547 crore.

DAC also simplified ‘Make II’ procedure which prescribes guidelines to be followed to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian Industry.

Procurement of assault rifles

The procurement of assault rifles aims enable the Defence Forces to meet their immediate requirement for troops deployed on borders. They will be processed under government-to-government route to conclude deals at the earliest. Army had decided to go for two different rifles — import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for infantry soldiers on front lines and procure the indigenous rifle in large numbers to meet balance requirement.

Make II procedure

The simplification of Make II procedure aims encourage participation of private sector in defence design and production and  give boost to ‘Make in India’ programme in Defence Sector. Make II procedure prescribes guidelines to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian industry.

The revised procedure will make the procedure industry friendly, with minimal government control. It will now allow Defence Ministry to accept suo motu proposals from industry and also allow start-ups to develop equipment for armed forces.

The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects also was relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria. Now all vendors meeting criteria will be allowed to participate in prototype development process instead of only two vendors earlier. In addition there will be no need to submit detailed project report.

After accord of approval by DAC, all clearances will be accorded by Service Head-Quarters (SHQ) which will also set up project facilitation teams to hand-hold the industry.

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