The successful launch of an interceptor missile (AAD) towards developing a ballistic missile defence system, test flight of Agni-III (A3-02), user trial of Akash missile by the army and the air force, the handing over of the first batch of the land version of the BrahMos missile systems to the army and the successful conduct of the 4th Military World Games were some of the significant events for the ministry of defence during the current year.
The issue of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the purchase of 126 medium range multi-role combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force, the arrival of the first batch of two Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers from UK, signing of the agreement with Russia on the joint development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, the first meeting of the Indo-German High Defence Committee, a meeting of the Indo-French High Committee and approval by the Parliament of the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill were some other major events during the year.
The country took a significant step towards Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and joined the elite club of USA, Russia and Israel when an interceptor missile successfully targeted a 'hostile' missile off the Orissa coast twice in early December. The endo-atmospheric AAD interceptor missile, test fired from the missile testing range at the Wheeler Island, intercepted the target missile at an altitude of 15 km at supersonic speed.
The Agni III was successfully launched on April 12, 2007 from the Wheeler Island, off the coast of Orissa. The 16-meter long missile weighing 48 tonnes, lifted off successfully from its Rail Mobile Launcher System leaving a trail of orange and yellow smoke. The missile, which has a range of more than 3000km, is capable of carrying a payload of 1.5 tonnes.
Akash weapon system
Mobility trials of the Akash Weapon system, as part of the user trials for the Army, were conducted at Pokharan during 11-29 June 2007, followed by Flyover Trials as part of the Air Force user trials, which were also conducted at Pokharan during 15-17 November 2007. The user trials were successfully concluded at the ITR, Chandipur during 13-19 December 2007.
BrahMos missile system
The first batch of the land version of the BrahMos missile system was handed over to the Army. The installation of the multi-missile vertical launcher was also completed on board naval ship INS Ranvir. The missile, capable of underwater launch, is ready for evaluation tests so that future submarines can carry these missiles.
Development of an air launched version, as well as its interface with different types of aircraft is in progress.
Light Combat Aircraft - Tejas
Till December 2007, the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has completed 785 flights. The programme achieved a most significant milestone, when it successfully test-fired the R-73 close combat missile. This historic event marked the beginning of the weaponisation programme of Tejas.
In September, LCA Tejas PV-1 created another milestone as it made a successful first flight with two 800ltrs drop tanks under wing stations. On December 10, the Tejas LCA programme received yet another major fillip with a successful flight-test of the PV-2 using Lightening laser ranging and laser spot seeking Pod, which can provide the pilot with day and night pictures of the terrain.
Military World Games
The 4th CISM Military World Games was successfully organized from October 14-21, 2007 at Hyderabad and Mumbai, in which over 5000 soldier-athletes from 101 countries took part. The Games held outside Europe for the first time had 13 disciplines. Three new world records were set up during the games in swimming, parachuting and sailing. Out of 101 participating countries, 49 countries won medals in one event or the other. India's performance in the Games was at an all time best as it secured 10 medals (2-Gold, 1-Silver and 7-Bronze)
Acquisition of INS Jalashwa
Landing Platform Dock INS Jalashwa was commissioned into the Navy in June this year. This is the first ever procurement of a ship by the Indian Navy from the United States under the Excess Defence Article Programme and through the Foreign Military Sales route of the US Defence Forces.
It is capable of carrying over 900 fully armed troops along with thirty vehicles, four landing craft and six helicopters.
The Indian Army held joint exercises with the armies of China, UK, Maldives, Russia and Singapore. It was for the first time when the armies of India and China held joint exercise at Kunming in Yunan province of China. 80 soldiers each from India and China attended this five-day long joint exercise on anti-terrorist operations.
The Indian Air Force carried out joint exercises with the air forces of France and Russia.
The Indian Navy carried out joint exercises with the navies of USA, Russia, Japan, Oman, Australia, France, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore
First batch of AJT
The first batch of two Hawk Mk132 Advanced Jet Trainer (AJT) aircraft from UK reached India on 12 November 2007. The Hawk trainers will impart stage-III training to the newly commissioned fighter pilots of the IAF at AFS Bidar in Karnataka from June 2008.
Frigates from Russia
A contract for the acquisition of three follow-on stealth frigates of P1135.6 class has been concluded with Russia on Jul 14, 2006, with the planned delivery of the first ship scheduled in Apr 2011. All three ships are being built at Yantar Shipyard, Kaliningrad. The three follow-on frigates would be fitted with indigenous BrahMos missile system instead of the earlier Club-N missile system
The Indian Army conducted expeditions to the Mount Everest, a cycle rally from Leh to Kanyakumari, a motorcycle rally from Imphal to Siachen and a car rally from India to Myanmar. The Indian Air Force's micro-light aircraft flown by Wg Cdr Rahul Monga and Wg Cdr Anil Kumar arrived at Air Force Station Hindon on 19 August 2007 creating a 'New World Record' of fastest round the world trip.
Indian Sail training ship, INS Tarangini, had set sail on 10 January 2007, for a ten-month odyssey, named 'Lokayan 07'. The voyage took the ship to 23 ports spread over 16 countries.
The ship entered Kochi on completion of the voyage on 29 October 2007.
Relief material to Bangladesh
Cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force and four amphibious ships of the Indian Navy carried food and relief materials for the cyclone affected people of Bangladesh during November and December 2007.
Joint development of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft
India and Russia signed a landmark inter-governmental agreement for the joint development and joint production of a Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), marking the beginning of cooperation in the development of state of the art new technology major weapon systems.
The secretary defence production, KP Singh and deputy director of the Federal Service for Foreign Military Cooperation Vyacheslav Dzirkaln signed the agreement in the presence of Indian defence minister, AK Antony, and his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, in Moscow.
The watershed agreement was signed at the conclusion of the seventh meeting of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation.
First meeting of the Indo-German High Defence Committee
India and Germany have agreed to increase defence cooperation in a number of areas, including exchange of expertise in peacekeeping operations, disaster management, etc. At the first Indo-German High Defence Committee meeting held in New Delhi, the German Federal State Secretary for Defence Dr. Peter Eickenboom assured India of transfer of technology in case of armament procurements and joint development of armament platforms wherever possible.
Germany has also assured India that it will be an open and reliable partner in all areas of defence cooperation.
Indo-French High Committee on defence cooperation
The tenth meeting of the Indo-French High Committee on Defence Cooperation (HCC) was held in New Delhi. The defence secretary Vijay Singh and the ministerial representative of the French defence minister, Thierry Borja de Mozota, headed the respective delegations at the two-day talks.
Three sub-committees also met on the sidelines of the HCC. The sub-committee on military cooperation charted a plan for service-to-service cooperation activities during the forthcoming year while the sub-committee on strategic issues discussed matters of mutual strategic interests. The sub- committee on defence industry procurement and research & technology discussed matters of transfer of technology, joint development, production and research.
Procurement of 126 medium range multi-role combat aircraft
The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the procurement of 126 medium range multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) at an estimated cost of Rs42,000 crore for the Indian Air Force was issued to six vendors – Russia's MIG-35 (RAC MiG); Swedish JAS-39 (Gripen); Dassault Rafale (France); American F-16 Falcon (Lockheed Martin); Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Eurofighter Typhoon (made by a consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian firms).
The 211-page document deals with various issues relating to initial purchase, transfer of technology, licensed production and lifetime maintenance support for the aircraft.
Armed Forces Tribunal
Both Houses of Parliament passed the Armed Forces Tribunal Bill. It had taken long years of painstaking efforts to get legislative approval for this Bill. The establishment of Armed Forces Tribunal will go a long way in providing speedy justice to thousands of serving and retired Armed Forces personnel.