Defence Current Affairs 2017

SAAB, Adani Group announce collaboration for defence manufacturing

Swedish defence and security company SAAB and Indian conglomerate Adani Group have announced collaboration in defence manufacturing entailing billions of dollars of investment.

The partnership was announced mainly for design, development and production of single engine Gripen fighter jets under ‘Make in India’ if they win government contract to equip Indian Air Force (IAF) with new jets. They will compete with collaboration of US aircraft major Lockheed Martin and Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) which are planning to manufacture F-16 fighter aircrafts in India.

Key Facts

The $12 billion Adani Group has interests in energy, real estate, logistics and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), among others. It has no presence in the defence sector and nor does have experience in manufacturing space either.

SAAB is manufacturer of Gripen, a single-engine multi-role fighter aircraft featuring state-of-the-art technology, including advanced data links and sensors.

Background

IAF is expected to begin process for procuring 100 plus single engine fighter jets to replace ageing fleet of Russian Mig-21s and Mig-27s in service. The procurement will be under recently promulgated Strategic Partnership (SP) model of Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP). The deal is estimated to be worth over Rs. 60,000 crore.

Under this deal, first 18 aircraft will be brought to India in a flyaway mode and rest will be manufactured in India by Indian private company with technology transfer from foreign manufacturer. Only two aircrafts are available in global market to meet IAF’s requirement criteria viz, F-16 and Gripen.

Need for new aircrafts

The IAF needs minimum strength of 42 fighter squadrons to dominate and tackle two-front collusive threat simultaneously from China and Pakistan. Currently, IAF has 32 fighter squadrons. Further due to retirement of old aircraft, numbers will further go down by 2021. By then, 11 squadrons of Mig-21 and Mig-27, which are 35 to 45 years old, will be retiring from service. So to mitigate the shortfall, IAF is procuring new advance single engine fighter aircrafts.

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DRDO, IAI to produce MRSAM missile system by 2020 for Indian Army

The DRDO has signed Rs.17,000 crore deal with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for producing advanced medium—range surface to air missile (MRSAM) system for Indian Army by 2020. The deal envisages develping 40 firing units and around 200 missiles.

Key Facts

The MR-SAM, a land-based version of long range surface to air missile (LRSAM) of Indian Navy, has strike range of up 70 km. It is capable of shooting down enemy ballistic missiles, aircraft, helicopters, drones, surveillance aircraft and AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems) aircraft.

The MRSAM for Indian Army’s Air Defence is an advanced all weather, 360 degree mobile land based theatre air defence system capable of providing air defence to critical areas against wide variety of threats in combat zone. The current version of MRSAM is operational with the Indian Air Force and the Navy.

Background

The Indian Army has been pressing the government to enhance its aerial attack capability considering the evolving security challenges. Indian Army is the first land force in the world to deploy Brahmos missile in 2007. It has raised several regiments of this formidable weapon. In May 2015, the Army had inducted the indigenously— developed supersonic surface to air Akash missile which is capable of targeting enemy helicopters, aircraft and UAVs from a range of 25 km. The Army thinks procurement of MRSAM will mark paradigm shift in its strike capability.

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