From a stealth ship, an out-and-out attack helicopter to the controversial Rafale jets, the Indian military is set for some high-profile upgrades this year.
New Delhi: This year promises to bring about some decisive and much-needed capability enhancement for the Indian military, with some top-of-the-line inductions scheduled over the next 12 months.
ThePrint reviews some of the big inductions.
The nuclear capable inter-continental ballistic missile Agni-5, with a range of over 5,000 km, has completed all developmental trials and is scheduled to be inducted into the Strategic Forces Command this year.
A three-stage missile, the Agni-5 is 17 m in height, two metres wide and capable of carrying 1.5 tonnes of nuclear warheads.
Unlike the other missiles of the series, Agni-5 is the most-advanced in terms of navigation and guidance, warhead and engine.
For accuracy, the missile is guided by an on-board computer with the support of a Ring Laser Gyro-based Inertial Navigation System, the Micro Inertial Navigation System, fully-digital control system and advanced compact avionics.
Indi’s secretive missile tracking ship, being built for the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), is set to be inducted this year.
Given that the keel of the sophisticated ship was laid on 30 June 2014, experts say it remarkable that it is getting inducted in the quickest time possible.
The INS Arighat, the second of the Arihant-class nuclear attack submarines, is set to be part of India’s arsenal this year.
The submarine will allow the Indian Navy to maintain high deterrence patrol in the waters surrounding the country as the INS Arihant alone could not do the job completely.
With the induction of INS Arihant, India had completed the nuclear triad.
INS Khanderi and INS Karanj
The second and third vessels of the Kalvari-class submarines will beef up India’s underwater capability. A total of six Kalvari-class submarines are to be built under Project P75.
In September 2019, the Indian Air Force will finally get its hands on its first Rafale fighter jet after a gruelling wait of nearly 19 years.
With the latest avionics and missile system, the Rafale jets, with the tail number initials of RB, named after Air Marshal Rakesh Bhadauria, and BS, named after Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, will be the most potent aircraft in the IAF inventory.
The Indian Rafale comes with 13 India-specific enhancements and includes Israeli helmet-mounted displays, ability to start at cold bases such as Leh, better radar, better detection and survival features among others.
Apache AH-64 E
The first Apache attack helicopter, India’s first pure attack helicopter, is set for delivery in March. Considered to be one of the most deadly attack helicopters in the world, Boeing has sold over 2,200 of these machines since 1984.
The Indian Apache is the latest version of the attack helicopters that have seen action in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Apache comes with a 30-mm cannon under the nose that can fire 1,200 rounds in less than two minutes. It is also equipped with 70-mm rockets that can be guided or unguided. The Apache can carry 80 of them in one go besides the Hellfire missiles.
Together with the on-board avionics, these missiles can identify, track, and hunt targets in the dead of night.
While India has been operating the Russian Mi-35, on the verge of retirement, it was an assault chopper. It was designed to carry troops into heavily-defended territories whereas the Apache is an out and out attack helicopter.
Chinook CH-47F (I)
The Chinook, a multi-role, vertical-lift platform, which is used for the transport of troops, artillery, equipment and fuel, is scheduled for induction from July this year.
It is also used for humanitarian and disaster-relief operations, in missions such as transportation of relief supplies and mass evacuation of refugees.
The Chinooks will have the capability to airlift the M777 lightweight howitzers that the Indian Army is buying. This means that these artillery guns can be taken from one position to another using the helicopter, even if it is inhospitable terrain.
While the original Chinook first flew in 1962, it has undergone several upgrades.
M777 and K9 Vajra
The first regiment of the much anticipated M777 light-weight howitzers and the K9 Vajra will be operationalised this year, providing much-needed relief to the Indian Army’s artillery fire power.
Notably, these are the first artillery gun purchases since the Bofors gun.
Big ticket deals that could be signed this year
Lease of second nuclear submarine from Russia
India and Russia could sign the contract for the lease of the second nuclear submarine following the Akula-II class submarine INS Chakra.
The INS Chakra is an 8,140 tonne nuclear -powered submarine that was leased to India for a 10-year period. INS Chakra was commissioned into the Indian Navy in April, 2012.
Medium Role Helicopters for Indian Navy
India and the US could as early as mid-January sign a government-to-government deal for 24 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky MH60 Romeos helicopters for the Indian Navy.
The deal is priced around $2 billion. The MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters are advanced naval machines equipped with sophisticated combat systems — sensors, missiles and torpedoes — to track and hunt enemy boats. The Navy is hopeful that the first helicopter will be delivered this year.
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