BrahMos Current Affairs - 2020

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“TIGERSHARKS”, First Squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft inducted by IAF in Tamil Nadu

On January 20, 2020, the 222 Squadron of Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets was inducted by the Indian Air Force in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The squadron has been named “Tiger Sharks”.

Highlights

The squadron has been inducted with modified Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets that are modified to carry BrahMos missiles.

Background

The 222 Squadron of Sukhoi-30MKI squadron called the Tiger Sharks was first raised in Ambala, Haryana in 1969. It also took part in 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. In 1985, Tiger Sharks were the first squadron to be equipped with MiG-27.

In 2018, during the Gagan Shakti-2018 Indian Air Force Exercise, the capabilities of the aircraft were demonstrated at large scale.

Tiger Sharks

So far there are 12 squadrons of Tiger Sharks inducted in India including the one recently inducted in Tamil Nadu. The other 11 were deployed in Pune, Halwara, Sirsa, Jodhpur, Tezpur, Bareilly, Chabua.

Why Tamil Nadu?

The Squadron is being inducted in Tamil Nadu to check the fast-expanding strategic footprint of China in the Indian Ocean Region. China had established its first military base in Djibouti in the region surrounding Horn of Africa. In fact, the base at Djibouti was the first overseas army support base established by Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The squadron will help to check China’s fast-growing footprint in Indian Ocean.

China’s Malacca Dilemma

China has been constantly finding ways to reduce its dependence on Straits of Malacca. This is to ensure long term energy security policy as piracy in the route is increasing. This policy of China seeking alternate routes is called “Malacca Dilemma”. It was introduced by President Hu Jintao in 2003.

Malacca Dilemma’s alternate routes

China on the lines of Malacca Dilemma has opened oil and gas pipelines in 2013 between Port Sitwe (in Myanmar waters) and Chinese Kunming in Yunnan province. Also, China is developing Gwadar port of Pakistan on the side lines of BRI initiative. A proposal to construct a canal across Isthmus of Kra is still under consideration.

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Brahmos missile test fire successful in Odisha’s Chandipur base

The DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization) test fired the supersonic Cruise missile Brahmos successfully from Odisha’s Chandipur on December 17, 2019. The medium range missile is capable of being launched from warships, submarines, land or fighter jets.

Highlights

The missile was test fired from the autonomous launcher of the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur. The missile is operational with Indian Navy, Army and Air Force. The missile has gained its importance in modern warfare for its anti-ship capabilities and land-attack capabilities.

Brahmos Missile

Brahmos is a joint venture between DRDO of India and NPOM of Russia. It features Indian propulsion system, power supply, airframe and power supply. The rest of the technology was transferred to India. After India entered into MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) India extended the range of BRAHMOS missile to 600 km. It is also one of the fastest cruise missiles that operates at the speed of 2.8 Mach, which is three times the speed of sound.

Recent Brahmos tests

The GoI in 2019 has tested Brahmos in more than three scenarios. In May 2019, DRDO test fired Brahmos by launching it in the air from Su-30MKI aircraft. Later the eastern command unit test-fired Brahmos from Car Nicobar islands. In August 2019, the Defence Acquisition Council cleared the next generation maritime mobile coastal batteries (NGMMCB) to be fitted with surface-to-surface supersonic Brahmos missiles. The NGMMCB was developed by joint venture of India and Russia, the Brahmos Aerospace Private Limited. In September 2019, DRDO conducted the Brahmos full range test of 290 km in Chandipur, Odisha.

Philippines to sign Brahmos deal with India in 2020

On December 16, 2019, Philippines confirmed that signing contract with India for medium range Brahmos Cruise Missiles. The agreement will be signed in 2020. When PM Modi visited Philippines, he signed 4 agreements on defence cooperation. Philippines is interested in acquiring the missile as it will strengthen its coastal defence operations.

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