S-400 Current Affairs - 2019

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AKASH-1S Missile: test fired by DRDO

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired Akash-1S surface to air defence missile system from Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Balasore off the Odisha coast. This is the second successive successful missile test by DRDO in last two days.

About Akash-1S

Background:

  • The Akash missile is a medium range multi-target engagement capable missile that was developed as part of Integrated Guided-Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). Other missiles under IGDMP are Nag, Agni, Trishul, and Prithvi missiles. The missile system was formally inducted into the Army on May 2015 and in the IAF on July 2015. Later in September 2015 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared seven additional squadrons of the Akash missile for IAF.
  • After a 2017 Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report stated that 30% of these missiles failed when tested and in 2017 itself the Army too agreed that missiles did not meet its operational requirements because of their higher reaction time.

Features

  • It is a supersonic surface to air missile with multi-target engagement capability.
  • Akash-1S is an upgrade version of existing Akash missile fitted with an indigenously developed seeker.
  • The new Akash weapon system has combination of both command guidance and active terminal seeker guidance.
  • Range: The missile has a range of about 25 km and altitude range of 18,000 metres (18km).
  • It is capable of neutralizing advanced aerial targets and in striking down enemy fighter jets and drones effectively.
  • Missile system uses: high-energy solid propellant for booster and ramjet-rocket propulsion for sustainer phase thus is said to be highly mobile.
  • Variants: include Akash MK1, Akash-MK2. They have improved accuracy and higher ranges are under development by the DRDO.

Way Forward

  • India taking certain steps to slowly fill the holes in its air defence elements such as by developing advanced surface-to-air missile called ‘Medium Range Surface to Air Missile’ (MRSAM) in collaboration with Israel.
  • Besides MRSAM, India is also procuring five regiments of renowned S-400 air defence system from Russia whose delivery will begin in 2020.

Russia, India ink defence deal on S-400 Air Defence Systems

India has signed a defence deal worth nearly Rs 39,000 crore with Russia to purchase five state of art S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence systems.

Besides, India also announced to collaborate in making four stealth frigates and setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov helicopters under Make in India.

In this regard, inter-governmental agreements (IGAs) were signed between both countries following talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa.

What is S-400 ‘Triumf’ Air Defence System?

  • An S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system is one of the most advanced long-range defence systems in the world. It is referred to as SA-21 Growler by NATO.
  • It is an upgraded version of the S-300 defence system and is manufactured by Almaz-Antey. It has been in service in Russia since 2007.
  • It is capable of firing three types of missiles. Thus, it creates a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets.
  • It has capability to destroy incoming all airborne targets at ranges of up to 400 km. With it, India can destroy Pakistani aircrafts even when they are in their airspace.
  • The five S-400 systems will be operated by the Indian Air Force (IAF). India is the second export customer, after China to purchase this most advance defence system.

Ka-226T helicopters

  • Kamov 226T is a light multipurpose helicopter designed for work in difficult conditions like high mountains, hot climate and marine areas.
  • It allows for reconnaissance, monitoring, targeting and transportation. It also boasts of incredibly precise hovering ability, excellent maneuverability and high safety standards.
  • The helicopters will be made by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) with Russian cooperation under Make In India. It will replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak choppers.
  • After induction, Kamov helicopters will operate at 20,000 feet and alsol help to maintain the forward posts on the Siachen glacier.

Frigates

  • India and Russia will built four stealth frigates which will be improved versions of Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigates
  • Two frigates will be built in Russia and other two will be constructed at an Indian shipyard with Russian cooperation.