Insights Current Affairs - 2019
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Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has inaugurated the newly built Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) of the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) at Chitradurga in Karnataka.
Aeronautical Test Range (ATR) is the first of its kind range that has been set up by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE), one of the premier laboratories of the DRDO. ADE works on a range of UAVs (unmanned air vehicles).
The facility will be an integrated test centre for a cluster of DRDO’s aeronautical laboratories. The following labs will make use of the testing facility: the Centre for Air Borne Systems, the Gas Turbine Research Establishment, the Defence Avionics Research Establishment, the Centre for Military Airworthiness & Certification, all of which are based in Bengaluru, and finally the Aerial Delivery Research & Development Establishment, which is based in Agra.
The facility is meant to conduct flight-tests of indigenous unmanned and manned aircrafts such as naval and trainer versions of the Light Combat Aircraft, the unmanned air vehicles- Rustom-I and Rustom-II (Tapas); the Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems (AEW&C), Air-to-Ground weapons, parachutes and aerostats, etc.
The 28 km strategic ATR is expected to facilitate conditions for research, which is expected to enrich the human resource required in the field of aeronautical testing. The test range envisages a two kilometer runway besides other tracking and control equipment.
The longer runway situated in the ATR will enable the developer labs to test bigger aircrafts such as the AEW&CS (Airborne Early Warning & Control Systems) aircraft meant for surveillance and intelligence gathering from sensitive areas. The DRDO’s AEW&CS will include much larger Airbus platforms in the future.
The newly built ATR has been up and running for a few months. In November 2016, DRDO carried out its first successful flight of the UAV ‘Tapas’ 201, earlier called Rustom-2 in the ATR facility. Recently, in May 21, 2017, ADE had carried out the test flight of Tapas for a duration of 6 minutes. Tapas is a MALE or medium altitude, long endurance UAV that can sustain for 24 hours monitoring over a 200 km area.
A deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has been declared intensified into a tropical cyclone named Mora. This is second cyclone in the Bay of Bengal after Maarutha, which helped bring in the Monsoon earlier by a week over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
The tropical Cyclone Mora is likely to hit Bangladesh coast in next 24 hours and expected to cause heavy rains in West Bengal and North East Indian states. It may also help to pull monsoon faster over mainland.
About 2017 North Indian Ocean cyclone season
Every year, the North Indian Ocean cyclone season extends roughly between April to December with two peaks in May and November. This season includes cyclones in Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea, apart from Indian Ocean in northern hemisphere. The first cyclone of 2017 season was Cyclone Maarutha which was formed in April, 2017 triggering heavy rainfall in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and India’s Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Apart from other damages, three people were killed in Myanmar by Cyclone Maarutha. Cyclone Mora is second such cyclone in the Indian Ocean.
Naming of Tropical Cyclone
Tropical cyclones are classified into three main groups, based on intensity: tropical depressions, tropical storms, and a third group of more intense storms, whose name depends on the region. If a tropical storm in the North-western Pacific reaches hurricane-strength winds on the Beaufort scale, it is referred to as a typhoon. If a tropical storm passes the same benchmark in the Northeast Pacific Basin, or in the Atlantic, it is called a hurricane. Neither “hurricane” nor “typhoon” is used in either the Southern Hemisphere or the Indian Ocean. In these basins, storms of tropical nature are referred to simply as “cyclones”.