Tuesday, 25 December 2012

2012 in retrospective - Defence in India: The year 2012 witnessed India surging ahead on the Defence front and emerging as the new regional super power. The successful test-fire of the Agni 5 intercontinental ballistic missile and development of modern support systems for soldiers gave India a definitive advantage over other major developing nations

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: The year 2012 witnessed India surging ahead on the
Defence front and emerging as the new regional super power. The
successful test-fire of the Agni 5 intercontinental ballistic missile
and development of modern support systems for soldiers gave India a
definitive advantage over other major developing nations.

A major chunk of this success cake goes to Hyderabad, which played a
pivotal role in the development of the missile system and capacity
building in new strategic areas. The induction of a submarine, static
sensor and an inshore patrol vessel at Visakhapatnam and a Coast Guard
station at Krishnapatnam early this year also boosted the defence
capabilities on the marine side.

Various DRDO labs in Hyderabad provided the backbone technology for
the success of the missile programme. The Research Centre Imarat
produced navigation, control and guidance, imaging infrared and radio
frequency seekers among others, while DLRL and other laboratories
provided the electronic support.

Agni 5, launched on April 19, has pushed India into the elite club of
nations possessing long-range ballistic missile. The missile hit the
pre-designated target in the Indian Ocean 5000 km away. The missile’s
range is just short of being called intercontinental weapon. The
success achieved through Agni 5 propelled the Defence Research and
Development Organisation (DRDO) to concentrate more on the Agni
series, resulting in the flight test of 4000-km range Agni 4 missile
capable of carrying nuclear weapons. Incidentally, it was launched on
September 19 from a road launcher.

All the missiles in the Agni series were successfully flight-tested.
India also exhibited its missile prowess through 350 km range
surface-to-surface strategic missile Prithvi 2. Dhanush missile was
fired from a naval ship, giving the Navy an upper hand in the region.
Earlier in the year, BrahMos block III version was flight-tested with
a speed almost three times that of sound.

The year also registered the development of a two-layer Ballistic
Missile Defence capability against missiles with range up to 2000 km
class. Both the exo and endo atmospheric interception were
demonstrated with great precision.

The country’s air defence system too got a boost with the induction of
medium range, multi-target Akash missiles. Tests related to long-range
surface-to-air missile were also encouraging.

In the case of anti-missile tanks, DRDO scored a point with the Nag.
It is a fire and forget anti-tank missile. The helicopter-mounted
version, Helina, was tested twice this year.

The other milestones in the Defence sector during 2012 were light
combat aircraft for the navy, airborne early warning and control
system, unmanned aerial vehicles like Nishant, Rustom-1 and 2, Lakshya
2, and Netra, strengthening in the field of electronic warfare with
3-D radar technology and main battle tanks like Arjun MK-2.

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