Current Affairs – August, 2018

Latest Current Affairs August, 2018 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of August, 2018 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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Aeolus: European Space Agency launches world’s first wind-sensing satellite

European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully launched wind-sensing satellite named Aeolus into orbit on board of Vega rocket from French Guyana. It is world’s first wind-sensing satellite dedicated to map Earth’s wind on global scale in particular tropical winds which are very poorly mapped because of almost complete absence of direct observations.

Aeolus satellite

The satellite is Aeolus named after guardian of wind in Greek mythology. It will be placed at altitude of 320km above the Earth. It is part of the Copernicus project, a joint initiative of European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA) to track environmental damage and aid disaster relief operations.

Aeolus satellite is equipped with single instrument Doppler wind lidar (named Aladin), which is advanced laser system is designed to accurately measure global wind patterns from space. It will probe lower layers of atmosphere, down to altitude of about 30 km to yield vertical profiles of wind and information on aerosols and clouds.

Significance: Aeolus satellite will provide much-needed data to improve quality and accuracy of weather forecasting. It will help to improve understanding of working of atmosphere dynamics and contribute to climate change research.

Working of Doppler lidar

It transmits short, powerful pulses of laser light toward Earth in ultraviolet (UV) spectrum. Particles in air (such as moisture, dust, gases) scatter small fraction of that light energy back to transceiver, where it is collected and recorded. The delay between outgoing pulse and so-called backscattered signal reveals wind’s direction, speed and distance travelled. Data transmitted from Aeolus satellite will be downloaded at ground station in Svalbard, Norway.

Note: Aeolus space mission was fifth of ESA’s planned Earth Explorer missions. Others already have completed or in operation. They have measured Earth’s gravity and geomagnetic fields, soil moisture, ocean salinity and frozen expanses collectively known as cryosphere.

DAC approves procurement of 111 utility helicopters for Indian Navy

Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has approved procurement of 111 utility helicopters for Indian Navy at cost of over Rs 21,000 crore. DAC is Union Defence Ministry’s highest decision making body on capital procurement of Indian Armed Forces (Army, Navy and Air Force).

Key Facts

The procurement of 111 utility helicopters will be first project under Defence Ministry’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme.  Several aviation majors including Airbus (Eurpore), Kamov (Russia) and Bell (US) have offered their bids for this project in addition to state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

Indian Navy will shortlist helicopter it wants after extensive evaluation process which will be followed by contract where most of these helicopters will need to be built in the country in conjunction with local partners. The contract when finalised will result in vibrant and wide-spread Defence industrial eco-system in Indian Aviation Sector with private industry and MSMEs as major stakeholders.

Strategic Partnership (SP) Model

It envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign OEMs (original equipment manufacutures), acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in country. The model has long-term vision of promoting India as manufacturing hub for defence equipment. It will help in enhancing self-sufficiency and establishing an industrial and R&D ecosystem, capable of meeting future requirements of Indian Armed Forces.

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