Defense Current Affairs - 2019

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India and France begin naval exercise ‘Varuna’

10-day naval exercise ‘Varuna’ between India and France began on 23 April 2015 off the Goa coast.

It is the fourteenth edition of this naval exercise which will host of naval assets of both countries and will conclude on 3 May 2015.

Scope of exercise: It will include the entire gamut of various maritime operations from aircraft carrier operations, maritime interdiction operations, anti-submarines warfare exercises to multi-ship replenishment exercise.

Key facts

  • French Navy’s Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle with its fighter aircraft Rafale M, E2C Hawkeye AWACS and helicopters Dauphin, Strike Aircraft Super Etendard and Alouette 3 is going to take part.
  • Apart from it two destroyers Chevalier Paul and Jean de Vienne, replenishment tanker Meuse and a maritime patrol aircraft Atlantique 2 are also going to take part.
  • From Indian side fleet of aircraft carrier INS Viraat, destroyer INS Mumbai and stealth frigate INS Tarkash are going to take part.
  • Apart from them submarine INS Shankul, guided missile frigate INS Gomati, replenishment tanker INS Deepak and a few Fast Attack Craft are also participating.
  • Indian Navy’s carrier-borne fighter aircrafts like Sea Harriers, maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-8I and Dorniers along with integral helicopters Chetak and Seaking 42B are also be participating.

About Varuna naval exercise

  • Following the establishment of strategic partnership in 1998 between both countries, every year Indian Navy and French Navy are conducting naval exercises.
  • In 2001, the naval exercise was named as ‘Varuna’. Thirteenth edition of this naval exercise was conducted in the Mediterranean Sea.

Indigenous INS Arihant ballistic missile submarine Flagged Off for Trial

India’s first indigenously developed nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine- INS Arihant was flagged off by the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar from Vizag for sea trials.

In maiden sea trial, Arihant’s light water reactor will undergo comprehensive validation before it is commissioned into the Navy.

Key facts 

  • INS Arihant’s design is based on the Russian Akula-1 class submarine.
  • It is a 6,000-tonne nuclear powered submarine and 112 metre long.
  • Powered by 83 MW pressurised light water reactor built with Russia’s help. This reactor generates tremendous heat, driving a steam turbine.
  • Capable of launching nuclear-capable ballistic missile BO-5 which has a range of 700 kms. It can carry 12 such missiles.

Implications

  • It will help India achieve the capability of going into high seas for long durations without the need to surface the vessel. Conventionally, diesel-electric submarines have to come up on surface at regular intervals for charging the cells of the vessel.
  • Its successful implementation will help India to secure a seaborne nuclear deterrent.
  • Once it is inducted in navy will help India to complete its nuclear triad of delivering nuclear weapons from land, sea and air.
  • Thus India will join an elite club of six nations that operate nuclear submarines carrying ballistic missiles. 6 nations: The US, Russia, France, Britain, China and India.

Presently, Indian Navy operates the INS Chakra, a nuclear-powered submarine which is leased for 10 years from Russia in 2012.