Defence Minister to flag off Indian Navy women crew’s circumnavigation expedition

On Sunday, September 10, the newly appointed Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will flag off the very first attempt of the Indian Navy women crew to circumnavigate the globe in Panaji.

According to a release issued by the Press Information Bureau, the women crew will be managing the whole operation on a sailing vessel in the first-ever global journey. It also stated that the flagging off of ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ will be held at INS Mandovi Boat Pool, Verem, near Panaji.

In the circumnavigation that will finish in March 2018, the crew will be circumnavigating on an Indian built sail boat, INSV Tarini, reported The India Express.

INSV Tarini is the sister vessel of INSV Mhadei, a sail boat that was used by naval officer Dilip Donde to undertake a solo circumnavigation in 2009-10.

A naval spokesperson said that the entire distance will be covered in five legs and the crew will have stopovers at four ports: Fremantle (Australia), Lyttelton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands) and Cape Town (South Africa), for repairs and replenishment of ration.

As per the reports, this project is being considered essential towards promoting ocean sailing activities in the Navy while depicting Government of India’s thrust for ‘Nari Shakti’.

Sources: India Today, The India Express

Image source: PTI

 

INS Betwa tips over, leaves 2 dead and 14 injured

INS Betwa, one of the three Brahmaputra-class 3,800 tonne guided missile frigate tipped over while undergoing a refit at Mumbai’s naval dockyard yesterday. This first of a kind incident left 2 sailors dead while 14 other injured are being treated at INHS Asvini. According to Indian Express, a navy spokesperson explained the failure of block mechanism that is used to dock and undock ships led to the accident. The mechanism to tip the ship before being returned to water tripped and it fell sideways. The main mast of the frigate broke and long-range surveillance radars and other critical components may have been damaged.

An enquiry has been set to determine the extent of damage and fix the responsibility. The Navy chief, Admiral Sunil Lanba has left for Mumbai to take stock of the situation.

Commissioned in 2004 and built indigenously, it is armed with Uran anti-ship missiles, Barak 1 surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes. Named after the river, Betwa; it is one of the key warships of the Western Naval Command with speeds up to 30 knots.

 

Sources: Indian Express, The Times of India

Indian Navy’s most advanced warship ‘Mormugao’ launched

The Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba was present and said Mormugao can be compared with the best warships in the world.

According to the NDTV, Lanba’s wife Reena launched the ship at Mazagaon Docks Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) in a function at 11:58am. It was then released into the Arabian Sea for the first time.

The vessel has been named after the Mormugao port of Goa. It is yet to go through certain testings  as per  the requirement of the Indian Navy  and would be knows as INS Mormugao.

The warship is outfitted with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles  and anti submarine rocket launchers. Mormugao has a displacement of 7,300 tonne with maximum speed of more than 30 knots. It is additionally equipped for conveying two  anti-submarine warfare helicopters.

Mormugao is built by MDL  a government run shipbuilding organisation. It belongs to Vishakhpatnam class of ships under the project 15B.

Admiral Lanba said, “This ship serves the Make in India drive of the country as it is indigenously built.” He also mentioned, the Indian Navy and MDL are jointly building ships together.

By 2020-2024 four more such warships would be delivered by the MDL.

The leaking submarine: Scorpene leak explained.

On August 24, an Australian newspaper ‘The Australian’ published documents containing details of six Scorpene submarines which are being built in India by French firm DCNS. These six submarines are part of Indian Navy’s Project-75 programme, of which one submarine INS Kalvari was put to test earlier this year in the Mazagaon docks in Mumbai, where they are being built.

The 22,400-paged document revealed restricted information on the Scorpene submarines, which are diesel-electric attack submarines. The documents specified the secret combat abilities of the vehicles, including range, frequency at which they gather intelligence, noise they radiate, endurance, diving depths and other such technical details. It also illustrated the details of the sonar system that is employed by the submarine to gather ntelligence underwater.

While DCNS claims that the leak originated from India, the newspaper said that the documents had been transferred from DCNS in 2011 by a former sub-contractor to a Southeast Asian company, from where it was moved to another branch of a second Southeast Asian company.

Speaking immediately after the leak was made public on Wednesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar said that the documents were posted with vital parameters being blackened out, thereby ensuring no compromise on the security. However, he has asserted that the Navy, in particular, will be prepared for a ‘worse-case scenario’, whatever that may be.

Meanwhile, retired Navy officials and experts do not seem too concerned about the leak either.  Speaking to Sushant Singh of The Indian Express, retired Captain J.S. Malik, who served for 32 years with including the office of Director of Submarine Operations said, “Most of this data is generic and belongs to Naval Staff Qualitative Requirements (NSQR) provided by the Navy to the French company, and ‘binding data’ for the product. It does not pertain to any specific submarine, and has limited usage for the adversary.”

While all seems rosy at the Indian Navy end, things do not appear as easy for DCNS. The French company has been brought on board to design a variant of the same Scorpene for Australia, Malaysia, Chile and Brazil by their respective navies. This leak is now expected to trigger concern and doubts regarding the security of the proposed projects to be handled by the company, especially in Australia and U.S.

It must be noted that the leaked documents contained data that is several years outdated, owing to the fact that it was compiled in 2011. However, while making these observations, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull raised the matter that ‘any leak of classified information is a concern.’

The $3-billion-worth-Scorpene submarines are expected to form the submarine-arm for the Indian Navy over the next two decades, with INS Kalvari almost ready for induction into the fleet.

Scorpene leak not compromising : Navy

The Indian Navy on Thursday announced  that the leaked documents relating to India’s Scorpene submarines reported by an Australian news agency have been examined and found to not be compromising in nature. The Navy said that the vital parameters had been blacked out and the documents “do not pose any security threat”. According to NDTV, sources said that information relates to the configurations and systems from 2011 and are outdated and irrelevant, allowing the Navy to heave a sigh of relief.

The leak on Wednesday, described by The Australian as revealing the entire combat capability of the Scorpene submarines had thrown the nation into a tizzy since the information was capable of compromising one of the world’s largest defense undertakings. Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, who called the leak “a hacking”, briefed PM Narendra Modi about it and ordered an investigation into it. However, within 24 hours of the leak the investigation discovered that the leak did not take place from India.

French shipbuilder DCNS, which has designed the submarines, has been asked to investigate and report on the leak. They have reportedly said that the leak could be the result of “economic wars with competitors”. The French government is also undertaking an investigation into the leak after India took up the matter with the Director-General of Armaments of France. They have been requested to treat the matter with urgency and share their findings with India.

 

Image Source: India Today

INS Viraat sets off on last voyage from Mumbai to Kochi

INS Viraat, world’s longest serving aircraft carrier, has set off on its last voyage today from Mumbai to Kochi.

Formally named HMS Hermes, India secured the aircraft carrier from the United Kingdom, where it served the British Navy for over 30 years, and was inducted in Indian Navy in 1987 as INS Viraat.

The aircraft carrier will anchor itself at the Southern Naval Command at Kochi on July 27. The carrier will be dismantled and be decommissioned at Mumbai.

The future of INS Viraat isn’t clear. The Andhra Pradesh Government has put forth proposal to turn the aircraft carrier into a museum. The Defence Ministry is yet to make a decision on the same.

INS Viraat’s arsenal includes eight Sea Harries fighter aircraft, four Sea King and Chetak helicopters. The Sea Harries  fighter aircrafts took off from INS Viraat for the last time and were decommissioned on May 6.

The Sea Kings and Chetaks will begin their operations from other warships from next week. After the decommission of INS Viraat, the Indian Navy will only have Russian built aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya to guard the area of interest.

Sources: The Indian Express, Firstpost, Daily Pioneer

Indian Navy commissions INS Astradharini

Image Source: oneindia.com
Image Source: oneindia.com
Vishakapatnam: The first indigenously designed and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel INS Astradharini was put into active service by the Indian Navy today.
The ship has been designed in a collaborative effort by Naval Science Technological Laboratory (NSTL), M/s Shoft shipyard and IIT Kharagpur. The catamaran hull form of the ship is built with indigenous steel and can save power significantly.
INS Astradharini has modern power generation, navigation, distribution and communication systems. The ship will be used for conducting under-water technical trials of naval weapons developed by NSTL.
The ship has the potential to operate at high sea states and also hosts torpedo launchers for the deployment of multiple torpedoes during trials.
The Defence Research and Development System (DRDO) has replaced Astravahini which was decommissioned on July 17th, this year with INS Astradharini which can accomodate 13 DRDO scientists and also has the capacity to undertake multiple weapon trials during a single period of sortie whereas Astravahini can accommodate 2 officers and 27 sailors.
During a ceremony held today at the Naval Base in Vishakapatnam, Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Satish Soni said “The induction of INS Ashtradharini adds thrust to the country’s ongoing endeavours at indigenisation and achieving India’s goal of self-reliance in under-water weapons development.”