Defence & Security Current Affairs - 2019

Defence Current Affairs of 2018-19 related to India’s Defence, Indian Armed Forces, Defence Production, Defence Acquisition and related matters for SSC, States Civils, UPSC and Other Competitive Examinations.

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Government approves four strategic rail lines along China border

The Central Government has granted approval to four out of the 14 identified strategic rail lines. The project has been in deliberation for years.

High Level Meeting

At a high level meeting of officials from the Planning Commission, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Finance, the PMO ordered Indian Railways to carry out an engineering survey of the 1,000 km of line identified by the Defence Ministry to be of strategic importance. The building of the lines will be commissioned only after the survey, which acts as a blueprint.

Four strategic lines

The four rail lines which have been identified are along the China border. They are in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and J&K. The identified lines are Missamari-Tawang (378 km) in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh, North Lakhimpur-Along-Silapathar (248 km) in Assam, Murkongselek-Pasighat-Tezu-Parashuram Kund-Rupai (256 km) in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh and Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh (498 km) in Himachal Pradesh-J&K. The rail lines are expected to be used by the Armed Forces for transporting supplies for the Army and troops movement.

Details of the Engineering Survey

Before the Survey, the Railways has been given a month’s time to present a report on the expected costs of the project, which will be borne by the government. The survey itself is expected to take two years, which the Railways might expedite considering the importance attached to the project.

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Nuclear capable Cruise Missile Nirbhay tested successfully

India successfully tested Nirbhay, India’s first indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile. The missile was fired from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore, Odisha. Nirbhay maintained an accuracy better than 10 m throughout its path and covered a distance of more than 1000 km.

Indigenously developed missile

Nirbhay is made wholly of parts indigenously developed in India. It is powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL) and the launch was from a mobile launcher specifically designed for Nirbhay by the Vehicles R&D Establishment (VRDE). The missile was guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI). The missile was tracked with the help of ground based radars, and the missile was monitored through telemetry stations by a team from DRDO and LRDE (Electronics & Radar Development Establishment).

Prior launch attempt

This was the second launch of Nirbhay. The maiden launch in March 2013 was a partial success achieving most of the mission objectives, but it had to be terminated for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component, after deviation from intended path was observed.

Nirbhay

The 6 m tall, low altitude flying missile can evade detection by radars by flying at tree top level. I can strike targets that are more than 700 km away also and is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It can also hover over targets, unlike other missile. It also has a fire and forget system which cannot be jammed by the enemy. Nirbhay fills a vital gap in India’s arsenal and is considered to be India’s answer to USA’s Tomahawk and Pakistan’s Babur missiles.

Aircraft-like missile

Nirbhay blasts off like a rocket, but then unlike a missile, it turns into an aircraft. Unlike other ballistic missiles like the Agni, it has wings and pronounced tail fins. After the launch, mid-flight, the rocket motor falls off and the small wings get deployed. At this juncture, a gas turbine engine kicks in and the missile’s conversion into a full aircraft is complete.

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