Current Affairs April 2019 - Defence

1 - Air Marshal NS Dhillon to be designated as new Strategic Forces Command (SFC) Chief

Air Marshal NS Dhillon

Fighter pilot Air Marshal Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon has been appointed as the new Strategic Forces Command Chief.

He will succeed in Jasbir Walia.

He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 1981.

He has experience as a Commanding officer in MiG-21 Sqn and as a Chief Operating Officer of a premier flying base.

2 - Defence ministry inducted LCU L56, its 6th transport ship

Transport Ship LCU L56

The defence ministry has inducted an indigenously designed and built transport ship has been inducted into the Indian Navy. Landing Craft Utility (LCU) L56 is the sixth ship of LCU Mk-IV class to be inducted into the Indian Navy.

Amphibious operations capability including transport of troops, tanks, and equipment will get enhanced with the addition of this LCU which will be based at Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The ship is commanded by Lt Cdr Gopinath Narayan and has a complement of five officers and 50 sailors.

Indian Navy

Part of: Indian Armed Forces

Indian Navy Day: 4th December

Chief of the Naval Staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba

Vice Chief of the Naval Staff: Vice Admiral Ajit Kumar

Supreme Commander: President of India

Aim: To safeguard the nation's maritime borders, and in conjunction with other Armed Forces of the union

3 - GRSE becomes 'first' Indian shipyard to deliver 100 warships

GRSE Indian Shipyard

Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) became the "first Indian shipyard" to build and deliver 100 warships.

GRSE Chairman and Managing Director, Rear Admiral (Retd) V K Saxena, formally handed over the 100th warship -- 'IN LCU L-56' -- to the Indian Navy.

In the last 59 years, the company has built around 780 platforms, including 100 warships to the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Mauritius Coast Guard.

About GRSE

GRSE - Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd.

It is one of India's leading shipyards.

Located in: Kolkata, West Bengal.

Founded: 1884

4 - US approved to sell 24 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India for USD 2.4 billion

Romeo Seahawk Helicopters

The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion.

The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are designed for hunting submarines, targeting ships, and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea.

It is considered the world's most advanced maritime helicopter.

The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy.

These helicopters would replenish India's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.

5 - Indian Navy to acquire 6 lethal submarines under Project-75 India at Rs 50,000 crore

Indian Navy Submarines

Under Project 75-India, the Navy wants to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines which would be almost 50 per cent bigger than the under-construction Scorpene class submarines being built at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai.

The submarines should have the ability to carry and launch 18 heavyweight torpedoes in the sea.

For the Indian Navy, the Project 75I-class submarine is a follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarines.

The submarines will be equipped with heavy-duty firepower as it wants the boats to have at least 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) along with Anti-Ship cruise missiles (ASCM).

6 - Indo US military exercise concluded in New Delhi on 5th March

Indo US Military Exercise

The military training exercise of the United States military forcesfrom the 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) with the Indian National Security Guard in New Delhi concluded on 5th March.

The month-long exercise provided soldiers hands-on experience in real urban settings, such as hotels and transportation hubs, in preparation for the possibility of terror attacks on vulnerable soft targets. These training events are part of US Indo-Pacific Command’s Theater Security Cooperation Programme, conducted by the US military with a select group of nations in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance coordination and capabilities.

Military collaboration between the two countries is a result of growing high-level trust and consistent efforts by both sides to broaden the ways in which the US and India can work together. Consul General of US Consulate at Hyderabad, Katherine Hadda addressed the soldiers at the closing ceremony.

7 - DRDO says that all low earth satellites are in reach of ASAT missile

ASAT Missile

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said that the anti-satellite (ASAT) test, Mission Shakti, conducted in the month of March is a “deterrence capability” and the missile can cover all satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

LEO was chosen based on simulations with the primary objective being to minimise debris. It was intentionally done at 280 km altitude so that debris decay fast It also said that the guidance and control algorithm has been developed to do interception at 1,000 km above the earth. The test covered all LEO satellites, including those for military use.

DRDO also reported that NASA is continuing its cooperation with India, including in the manned mission to space.

8 - Biannual Army Commanders Conference began in New Delhi

Biannual Army Commanders

The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference began in New Delhi for the planning and execution process of the Indian Army.

Some issues like the management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats were discussed in this conference.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her opening address at the conference and the Chief of the Army Staff chaired the conference.

About Defence Ministry

Formed: 1776; 243 years ago

Headquarters: Cabinet Secretariat, Raisina Hill, New Delhi

9 - INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations

INS Shakti and INS Kolkata

The two ships are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.

INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship.

Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

10 - India-Singapore Joint Military Exercise Bold Kurukshetra2019

Military forces of India and Singapore to participate in a joint exercise in Babina Cantonment in Jhansi.

The three-day exercise, ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’, conducted to develop military technology, boost maritime security and bolster the nations’ fight against terrorism.

The two countries signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen the defence ties between Indian Military and Singapore Armed Forces in November.

About Singapore

President: Halimah Yacob

Prime Minister: Lee Hsien Loong

Deputy Prime Ministers: Teo Chee Hean Tharman

Capital: Singapore

11 - Government clears procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia

464 T-90 Tanks

Amid increased tensions with Pakistan, the Central government has cleared the procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia in a deal worth over Rs 13,500 crore. Under the new deal, the tanks would be provided to the Armoured Corps of the force which will use them for deployment along the border with Pakistan.

The deal would increase the number of T-90s in the Army to close to 2,000 along with the remaining T-72 and T-55s. The Indian Army had first purchased T-90 tanks in 2001 when 310 units were ordered. The Indian Army is projected to have a force of over 1,600 T-90 tanks by 2020.

The army is also looking to develop new tanks under the Futuristic Main Battle Tank project. The Army also operates two regiments of the Arjun Mark 1 tanks, which are mainly used in the desert terrain due to their weight.

12 - INS Kozhikode was decommissioned after three decades of service

INS Kozhikode Decommissioned

Indian Naval Ship Kozhikode was decommissioned in a ceremony held at Naval Jetty, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on 13th April. Vice Admiral S.N. Ghormade, Chief of Staff, Eastern Naval Command, was the chief guest on the occasion. INS Kozhikode gracefully retired as an operational ship after three decades of service in the Indian Navy.

Capt. P. Sasidharan (Retd.), Commissioning Executive Officer, Cdr. Afzal Khan, Commissioning Navigating Officer, Cdr. V.K. Sharma (Retd.) Commissioning Engineering Officer and Ms. Madhavi Sani, wife of late Cdr. Nadeem Sani, Commissioning Gunnery Officer of the ship, also graced the occasion. As part of the decommissioning ceremony, a ‘Barakhana’ for retired and serving sailors and their families was held.

INS Kozhikode

  • INS Kozhikode was commissioned on December 19, 1988, at Riga (erstwhile USSR).

  • It was named after the historic port of Calicut, the ship was an integral part of the 21 Mine Counter Measures Squadron, based in ENC at Visakhapatnam.

  • INS Kozhikode (M71) was a minesweeper of the Karwar class, of similar design to the Pondicherry-class ships that were in service with the Indian Navy till 2012.

  • It was built by the Sredne-Nevskiy Shipyard at Saint Petersburg, Russia, except for the addition of surface-to-air missiles.

  • Kozhikode was the sixth and the last of the modified ‘Natya’ class of minesweepers.

  • The ship took part in the International Fleet Review 2016 that was held off the coast of Visakhapatnam.

13 - Indias 1st indigenously made long-range missile Nirbhay successfully test fired

Missile Nirbhay

Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the India’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from a test range in Odisha’s Chandipur.

'Nirbhay' is designed to carry conventional and 300-kilogram nuclear warheads.

The missile weighs 1,500 kg, width of 0.52 meters and has a wingspan of 2.7 metre.

It is all-weather missile and can be launched from multiple platforms.

It also has the capability to strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers.

It has the ability to fly at low altitudes in order to avoid detection by enemy radar.

The missile is armed with a Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system. It is also equipped with a MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and the GPS system.

The organisation had conducted five trials since 2013 before this.

The last successful trial of ‘Nirbhay’ cruise missile was conducted on November 7, 2017.

About Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • Headquarter: New Delhi

  • Chairman: Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy

14 - China developed the worlds first armed amphibious drone attack boat named Marine Lizard

China Marine Lizard

Marine Lizard was built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

It could be used in land and sea assault operations.

The amphibious Marine Lizard can possibly form an unmanned sea-land-air integrated combat system with aerial armed reconnaissance drones and other drone ships.

It has a maximum operation range of 1,200 kms and can be remotely controlled via satellites.

In ship form, the 12-metre-long Marine Lizard is a trimaran propelled by a diesel-powered hydrojet and can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth.

About China

  • Currency: Renminbi

  • Capital: Beijing

  • Population: 138.64 crores

  • President: Xi Jinping

15 - Indian Navy-Vietnam People's Navy Bilateral Exercise Concludes

Navy-Vietnam People

The Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX) at/ off Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries.

About Indian Navy

Founded: 1612

Country: India

Type: Navy

Colours: Navy blue, white

16 - Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel Veera commissioned by General Bipin Rawat

Indian Coast Guard vessel Veera

Indian Coast Guard vessel Veera commissioned by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff in the presence of Director General of Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh, Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Karambir Singh and other senior dignitaries of the central and state government in a ceremony organised at Eastern Naval Command in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Veera, the third in the series of the new generation Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) is under the administrative and operational command of the coast guard regional headquarters.

This is indigenously designed and built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. at its shipbuilding facility at Kattupali in Chennai.

The 98 meters long, 15-metre wide patrol vessel has a 3.6-metre draft and a range of 5,000 nautical miles.

The vessel is equipped with advanced technology navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery.

It is also equipped with an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS) and High Power External Fire Fighting System (HPEFS).

The ship displaces approx 2200 tons (GRT) and is propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots.

About Andhra Pradesh

Capital: Amaravati

Chief Minister: N. Chandrababu Naidu

Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan

Important National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries – Mrugavani National Park, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.

17 - INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations

INS Shakti and INS Kolkata

The two Indian Navy Ships (INS) are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.

INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship.

Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

About Indian Navy

Founded: 1612

Anniversaries: Navy Day (4 December)

Chief of the Naval staff: Admiral Sunil Lanba

18 - India and France to hold their largest Naval Exercise VARUNA

Naval Exercise VARUNA

India and France are all set to hold their largest-ever naval exercise with aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and fighters early May as part of their expanding strategic partnership.

The exercise has been christened 'Varuna' and will take place off Goa and Karwar from 1 May 2019.

The conduct of Varuna exercise was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018.

The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and FNS Charles de gaulle with their Mig-29K and Rafale-M naval fighter jets.

The Indian participation will also include the destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I aircrafts and Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft.

This comes after the successful operationalisation of the logistics support agreement between India and France under which Indian warships can access the French bases like Reunion Islands and in Djibouti.

Under the same pact, French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard had docked at the Mumbai naval port in January 2019. This was second such logistics support agreement signed by India after the one signed by it with United States (US) in 2016.

About France

Capital: Paris

Currency: CFP Franc, Euro

President: Emmanuel Macron

Prime Minister: Edouard Philippe

19 - Navy launched guided missile destroyer INS Imphal under project 15B

INS Imphal

Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba launched the third ship of Project 15B, a guided missile destroyer Imphal, at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, Mumbai.

The launch weighs 3,037 tonnes.

Project 15B ships have been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design. Each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and displaces 7,300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots.

P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.

The contract for the construction of four Project 15B destroyers was signed in 2011. The first ship was named INS Visakhapatnam (launched in April 2015) and the second was named INS Mormugao (launched in September 2016).

20 - Indian Army to induct women as Jawans

Indian Army to Induct Women

The Indian Army has started the process of inducting women as jawans by starting their online registration for recruitment in the corps of military police. Until now women were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be taken in as soldiers. Women will be inducted in a graded manner to eventually comprise 20% of the total Corps of Military Police and their role will range from probing crime cases to assisting the army in field operations wherever required.

Accordingly, the Army chalked out induction of approximately 800 women in military police with a yearly intake of 52 personnel per year. Currently, women were allowed in selected areas such as medical, legal, educational, signals and engineering wings of the Army.

Role of the military police

The role of military police includes −

  • Policing cantonments and Army establishments

  • Preventing the breach of rules and regulations by soldiers

  • Maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war

  • Handling prisoners of war

  • Extending aid to civil police

21 - Indian Army signed with NHPC to build underground tunnels


Indian Army signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Limited. The agreement is to build four underground tunnels along China and Pakistan borders for storage of ammunition and other war-related equipment.

Three tunnels will be built along the Chinese border and one tunnel will be built along the Pakistan border. The tunnel can store 175-200 metric tonnes of ammunition and the cost of this pilot project is around Rs 15 crore.

National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited

  • Type: Public company

  • Industry: Electric utility

  • Founded: 1975

  • Headquarters: Faridabad, India

  • Chairman & MD: Balraj Joshi

  • Products: Electricity generation, energy trading

It is an Indian Hydropower generation company

It has an objective to plan, promote and organise an integrated and efficient development of hydroelectric power in all aspects.

22 - Indian Army to procure missiles under emergency procurements

Spike-LR Anti-Tank Missiles

The Indian Army is in the process of procuring Spike-LR Anti-Tank Missiles from Israel and Igla-S Very Short Range Air Defence Systems (VSHORAD) from Russia through a set of new financial powers for emergency procurements sanctioned by the Defence Ministry.

The Request For Proposal (RFP) for the two deals have been issued and negotiations are ongoing. Under the latest emergency financial powers, armed forces have been given a free hand to procure equipment worth upto Rs.300 crore on a priority basis.

Under the emergency route, the Army is looking to procure about 12 launchers and around 250 missiles for each system. Deliveries have to be completed in three months, but extendable to six months.

Ministry of Defence (MoD)

Formed on: 1776 (as Military Department), 15 August 1947 (as Ministry of Defence)

Headquarters: Raisina Hill, New Delhi

Minister responsible: Nirmala Sitharaman

Deputy Minister responsible: Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre

It coordinates and supervises national security and the Indian armed forces.

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