Defence Current Affairs 2017

US Approves Sale of UAV Technology to India

The United States has cleared the sale of the state-of-the-art Guardian 22 unmanned Guardian drones to India. The deal to sell UAV drones to India is estimated to be worth $2 to $3 billion. Though the deal has been approved by the State Department, an official announcement regarding the deal is yet to be announced.

Significance

The transfer of the state-of-the-art UAV technology to India will be the first significant progress after India’s entry into the exclusive Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and after the US has designated India as a major defence partner. India became the 35th full member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) in June 2016.

The transfer of Guardian UAV technology is aimed at furthering mutual security interests to protect the Indian Ocean.

The deal would also pave the way for the transfer of other key technology sales from the US to India. The Guardian unmanned aircraft has been classified as Category 1 aircraft with cutting edge technologies.

Background

Last year, the Indian Navy had requested for this intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The US has designated India as a “major defence partner” under the Obama Administration. The US considers India as a key player to counter the Chinese threat. However, the Guardian UAV proposal was kept in abeyance under Obama administration.

UAVs operate without a human pilot. UAVs are commonly used in both the military and police forces in situations where the risk of sending a human piloted aircraft is unacceptable, or the situation makes using a manned aircraft impractical.

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First Indigenously built Floating Dock Launched by L&T

Larsen & Toubro has launched the first indigenously built Floating Dock (FDN-2) to repair Indian Navy ships at its Shipyard at Kattupalli, north of Chennai. The floating shipyard would be handed over to the Indian Navy after conducting three to four months of trial.

Salient Highlights

After the trials, FDN-2 will be moved to Andaman & Nicobar Islands. There it would be used for repairing assets of the Indian Navy and also of other services. These floating docks are capable of being installed either along a jetty, moored in calm waters and also moved to high seas enabling round-the-year operation.

FDN-2 will be capable of repairing up to 8,000-tonne ships with draught up to 7 metres, including submarine

FDN-2 will be capable of simultaneous docking of multiple ships. In addition, off-center docking options were also feasible. It has hauling-in system to handle a ship’s docking and undocking operations. It can also cater to the ships berthed along its side. At any point of time, FDN-2 can cater to six ships for repairs or refit.

The FDN-2 is a wholly Made in India product. The 468 crore FDN-2 was lowered into the Bay of Bengal by Anjali Deshpande, wife of the Vice-Admiral Controller Warship Production and Acquisition of Indian Navy, DM Deshpande.

Background

FDN-2 is the first Naval shipbuilding project for L&T. L&T has been undertaking repairs and refits of Naval and Coast Guard ships. It has delivered six ship refits including the largest Logistics Tanker ship INS Jyoti. L&T has so far invested around Rs 5,000 crore in the Kattupalli Shipyard.

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