Defence Current Affairs 2018

Defence Current Affairs of 2017, 2018 related to India’s Defence, Indian Armed Forces, Defence Production, Defence Acquisition and related matters.

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VC 11184: HSL to undertake sea trials of India’s first ocean surveillance ship

Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL) is gearing up to undertake sea trials of India’s first ocean surveillance ship by end of September 2018 or first week of October 2018. This ship is now simply referred as VC 11184 and will be formally named after its induction into the Indian Navy.

VC 11184

VC 11184 is built by Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL). It is the first of its kind ocean surveillance ship being built as part of efforts of Government to strengthen country’s strategic weapons programme.  HSL will be handing over the vessel to Indian Navy by end of 2018.

This ship is being built for National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), the technical intelligence agency working directly under supervision of Prime Minister’s Office and National Security Adviser. The ship was built inside covered dry dock. Its keel was laid in June 2014.

VC 11184 has displacement of more than 10,000 tonnes, length of 175m, beam of 22m, depth of 6m and can attain maximum speed of 21 knots. It is powered by two imported 9000kW combined diesel and diesel (CODAD) configuration engines and three 1200 ekW auxiliary generators.

This ship has capacity to carry 300-strong crew with hi-tech gadgets and communication equipment and  large deck capable of helicopter landing. This ship already has successfully completed the basin trials some time ago.

The ship will be primarily tasked with missile tracking using two sensors, possibly an X-Band AESA primary radar and S-Band AESA secondary radar, ranging. It will also undertake electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering.

Significance

It will be India’s most advanced electronics and tracking and surveillance ship i.e. a missile range instrumentation ship. It will be the first ship to be dedicated element in Phase-2 of India’s ballistic missile defence (BMD) setup and also be deployed for duties to support India’s strategic weapons programme. After induction of this ship, India will join elite of club of few countries that have such sophisticated ocean surveillance ship. Only four other countries — US, Russia, China and France are operating similar vessels.

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MILEX-18: First military exercise of BIMSTEC countries held in Pune

The first field training military exercise MILEX-18, as part of the Bay of Bengal initiative for multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation (BIMSTEC) commenced at Foreign Training Node at Aundh in Pune, Maharashtra. All member BIMSTEC countries, except Thailand and Nepal will take active part in this exercise. Thailand and Nepal will only be sending group of observers.

MILEX-18

The theme of the exercise is counter-terrorism in semi-urban terrain. Its main aim is to promote strategic alignment among member-states and to share best practices in the area of counter-terrorism. The exercise will include training in operations like search-and-cordon operations, search and destroy and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) among other things. Each participating member country will be represented by platoon sized contingents including around 30 soldiers (including five officers, 25 Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) and personnel of other ranks). As part of this exercise, conclave of Army chiefs of all seven member-states is also being planned. In it, army chiefs will debate challenge of terrorism and transnational crime, which is major concern among all states and discuss ways to promote collective cooperation.

Comment

Through this exercise India is trying to achieve in cooperative defense diplomacy. It is also looking forward to initiate process of sharing counter-terrorism strategies among armies of member nations in the region. India also wants to start a dialogue, sharing of procedures, thoughts, processes and certainly strategies to deal with terrorism collectively in region.

Note: BIMSTEC countries had held disaster management exercise in 2017 in New Delhi, but this will be first military exercise of the grouping.

BIMSTEC

It is regional group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in littoral and adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal constituting contiguous regional unity. It was established on 6 June 1997 through Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Its member countries are India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka from South Asia and Myanmar, Thailand from South East Asia. They are collectively home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of global population.

BIMSTEC’s main objective is to promote technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south-east Asian countries along coast of the Bay of Bengal. The grouping is sector-driven cooperative organization, started in 2006 with six sector including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries. In 2008, it was expanded to embrace eight more sectors including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change.

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