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DEFENCE - February 2020

Feb 2020

Feb 29, 2020

Russia Sends Two Warships Armed with Cruise Missiles to Syria's Coast

  • Russia is sending two warships equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles to the Mediterranean Sea towards the Syrian coast, the Interfax news agency cited Russia's Black Sea Fleet as saying on Friday.
  • The deployment comes amid mounting tensions between Russia, Turkey and Syria over the Syrian province of Idlib.

Feb 28, 2020

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Inaugurates HAL's LCH Production Hangar

  • Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited's Light Combat Helicopters Production Hangar at Bengaluru. The Defence Minister also informed about HAL acquiring many operational clearances for its LCA and LCH platforms.
  • Designed and developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, LCH is a 5.5-tonne class combat helicopter that is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the Advanced Light Helicopter. The features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self-sealing fuel tanks, armour protection and low visibility features which makes it agile and survivable. LCH has the distinction of being the first attack helicopter to land in Forward Bases at Siachen, 4700 metres above sea level with 500 kg load.

Launch Offshore Patrol Vessel Vajra

  • The sixth Offshore Patrol Vessel Vajra was formally launched at an impressive ceremony in the presence of Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya and senior government officials.
  • The vessel built by Larsen and Toubro under the Centre's 'Make in India' campaign would be utilised for day and night patrolling.
  • Geeta Mandaviya, the wife of the Union Minister, launched the vessel at L&T Shipbuilding Ltd at the Kattupalli Port.

Feb 27, 2020

India-UK joint IAF & RAF Exercise Indradhanush 2020

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) of the UK jointly commenced the 5th edition of Exercise Indradhanush at Air Force Station Hindan. The focus of this edition of the exercise is 'Base Defence and Force Protection'. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated in a Press communication that this theme is of significance considering the recent threats to military establishments from terror elements. Exercise Indradhanush provides a platform for the IAF and RAF to share and jointly validate strategies and tactics to counter terror threats to their installations.
  • The RAF team comprises of 36 specialised combatants of the RAF Regiment while the IAF comprises of 42 combatants of the Garud Commando Force, the special forces unit of the Indian Air Force. Both teams will execute missions based on jointly worked out plans and scenarios. Both sides also exercised specialised weapons, equipment, and vehicles, and validate joint employability.

Feb 26, 2020

Indo-UK Joint Military Exercise -- Ajeya Warrior

  • The 13-day-long Indo-UK joint military exercise -- Ajeya Warrior concluded in Salisbury Plains of the United Kingdom. The 5th edition of the joint military exercise had commenced at the Salisbury Plains Training area in the UK on February 13.
  • The Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army and the 1st Rifles of the UK Army participated in the exercise. The closing ceremony of the exercise was held at West Down Camp.
  • The exercise included joint training in urban and semi-urban areas where in a series of important lectures, demonstrations and drills related to counter terrorist operations were rehearsed and executed jointly. The highlight of the exercise was the bonhomie and camaraderie displayed by troops, thereby ensuring integration and achievement of invulnerability at all levels.

Boeing Welcomes India's Decision to Acquire AH-64 Apache Helicopters for Army

  • American firm Boeing welcomed India's decision to acquire six AH-64 Apache helicopters and lifecycle services support for the Indian Army. The AH-64E Apache will be a force multiplier for the Indian Army just as it is today for the Indian Air Force.
  • The Apache contract for six helicopters for the Indian Army follows a contract for 22 helicopters ordered by the Indian Air Force in 2015. Notably, Boeing has already delivered 17 of 22 Apaches to IAF and the remaining five will be delivered by the end of March 2020.

Feb 25, 2020

US President Unveils $3bn Military Copter Pact

  • US President Donald Trump unveiled plans for the sale of military helicopters worth more than $3 billion to India, saying Washington should be New Delhi's "premier defence partner" as his country revitalises military alliances across the world.
  • Addressing the "Namaste Trump" rally at Motera Stadium, Trump dwelt at length on the burgeoning defence ties between the two countries, and said the US had spent $2.5 trillion to rebuild its armed forces and make it the "most powerful military anywhere in the world".
  • Defence and security ties between India and the US have grown sharply in recent decades as foreign secretary Harsh Shringla said last week that New Delhi has acquired American military hardware worth more than $18 billion to significantly enhance defence preparedness.
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