Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Material Failure During Vayushakti, As Booster Rod Breaks, Results In Precautionary Landing !

Of the IAF's four Sarang team ALH helicopters which demonstrated aerobatic manouvers on Feb 28, 2010 in Pokharan for Vayushakti, one of them had to make a precautionary landing as its booster rod inside the IDS (main gear box) broke, during the baseleg turn. Material failure is what sources have confirmed to Chindits after a month of the incident.

The demo was done by the remaining three choppers. The incident took place at around 200 meters above the ground. The IDS is checked after 50 hours normally, after being drained, but guess this one was not.

IAF's New DG-Inspection And Safety Appointed

Air Marshal Ajay Shriniwas Karnik has been appointed Director General (Inspection and Safety) of the IAF and would take over at Air Headquarters RK Puram, New Delhi on April 1, 2010.

Air Marshal Karnik is presently Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) at Western Air Command.

Having trained in the erstwhile USSR on MiG-29, he went on to command a prestigious MiG-29 Squadron. He has also commanded important operational Air Force bases in the Western Desert Sector and the Western Coastal Region of India. Air Marshal Karnik has a vast experience in operational flying, training, Command and Staff appointments, as he has served as Head of Training Team (Air) and Senior Instructor at the premier tri-services Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, and Air Officer Commanding, Maritime Air Operations, Mumbai. He has also served as Senior Air Staff Officer (SASO) Eastern Air Command (EAC), Shillong.


Courtesy:IAF

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Air Chief Takes Over As Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee




Photos:MoD/DPR

MoD Annual Report-2009-10

1. The DRDO is toying with the indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System, based on the Embraer – 145 aircraft platform. The first modified aircraft is expected in mid – 2011.

2. On developments within the three Armed Forces, the report mentions that the setting up of the Integrated Space Cell (ISC) under the Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff (Operations), Headquarter IDS as the nodal point for all space related activities of the tri-services was a significant step forward towards modernization. The ISC has worked out the overall satellite communication requirements of the three services till 2020 in coordination with the ISRO. A contract was signed this month to equip two regiments of the Indian Army with the BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile System.

3.Focussing on the situation in Afghanistan, the report observes that “the security and stability of Afghanistan is critical to India’s own security concerns. The report takes note of the deployment of additional 30,000 US troops in the AfPak region by May this year and President Barack Obama’s July 2011 timeframe for troop’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.

4.“The continued infiltrations across the LoC and the existence of terrorist camps across the India-Pak border however, demonstrate the continuing ambivalence of Pakistan in its actions against terrorist organisations. India has exercised exemplary restraint in the face of gravest provocation. Pakistan needs to take effective steps to address India’s concern on terrorism directed against it from the territory under Pakistan control. India has never shut the door for dialogue with Pakistan, and is of the view that meaningful dialogue with Pakistan is possible only in an environment free of terror or threat of terror. This calls for Pakistan to take effective measures to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism on its soil which is directed against India”.


5. On the internal security challenges, the focus has shifted from the proxy war in Jammu & Kashmir to the left wing extremism and insurgency in North-Eastern States. The report says the arrest of the top leadership of ULFA including its Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has been a major breakthrough. On Jammu & Kashmir, the report says “all parameters of proxy war are at an all time low and the current situation indicated a shift towards normalcy and peace… the ceasefire on the borders / LoC is holding out with a few minor aberrations”. Despite improving security situation in the State, infiltration attempts continued. During the period April 01, 2009 to February 28, 2010, 33 infiltration bids were foiled with 50 terrorists killed in the process. During the same period, 213 terrorists were also killed and 68 apprehended in encounters with the Armed Forces.


6. On China, the report says that the relations with it have generally progressed well in the last year based on their strategic and cooperative partnership. “There has been a convergence of views and actions on various issues of international fora. A regular mechanism for exchanges in the military sphere has been established through the ongoing confidence building measures between the Armed Forces of both countries and other military interactions”. But at the same time, the report adds, “India also remains conscious and alert about the implications of China’s military modernisation…”. Rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China’s military Force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility. “Necessary steps have been initiated for the upgradation of our infrastructure and force structuring …along the northern borders.”


7. On Iran’s controversial Nuclear Programme, the report says that “India continued to support a peaceful resolution of the issue which would be in the interest of peace and stability in West Asia. The report also takes note of the worldwide economic slowdown, saying that the challenges confronting the global financial system created strains in the global security environment.


8. On the other hand, the report has praised Bangladesh on security concerns. “Relations with Bangladesh have been strengthened since the restoration of multiparty democracy in that country. India is appreciative of the increasing cooperation with Bangladesh in security matters, especially vis-à-vis Indian insurgent groups operating from its territory”. Going further East, the report says that cooperation with Myanmar in security matters is being enhanced, while India continues developmental activities in the country which lies at the tri-junction of South and South-East Asia. On Sri Lanka, the report says, there lies “a historic opportunity” to find lasting political settlement in Northern Sri Lanka after the conclusion of operations against the LTTE



Courtesy:MoD/DPR release

Monday, March 29, 2010

First Ship To Have Home-made Ice-cream, Fresh Baked Bread Counters !



Besides many firsts attached to this ship, there's one which would interest not just children but civilians outside, which is that she is the first ship to have a provision for home-made ice-cream and freshly baked bread for its 35 officers and over 250 crew, the accommodation arrangements for whom have been provided by Godrej, meeting all requirements as per laid down criteria for crew comfort and space management.

Depending on when the PM is back in the country after his nuclear summit in the US and Brazil, India's first indigenous stealth frigate, Shivalik, (cant call it INS Shivalik, as its not part of the Navy yet), will be commissioned soon. Chindits reported here about the date being April 12, but that doesn't appear possible as the PM leaves on April 11 for a week.

The ship's domestic requirements of fresh water are met through two reverse osmosis plants and a fully automated galley enabling the crew to be treated to Indian, Continental and Asian cuisine.

Shivalik is the first of the multi-role, Project-17 class of stealth frigates of the Indian Navy built by Mazagaon Docks Ltd. Concieved and designed by the Indian Naval design team, Shivalik class will be the mainstay frigates of the Indian Navy in the first half of the 21st century. She has been provided with structural, thermal and acoustic stealth features to augment the potent capability of the ship.

The sensors and weapons of Shivalik are controlled throgh a Combat Management System (CMS 17), designed and developed by an Indian Navy establishment WESEE and manufactured by Bharat Electronics.With its ability to detect and engage surface, air and sub-surface targets at extended ranges, the ship is being referred to as a virtual 'Brahma Astra', when unleashed.

The ship's sophisticated weaponry includes the Klub long range surface-to-surface missiles. For air defence it has the SHTIL and Barak, 76/62 Oto Melara and AK 630 guns. The ship also has indigenous Chaff system KAVACH and indigenous Sonars and anti-submarine warfare systems. The indigenous communication and electronic warfare systems have also been manufactured indigenously by Bharat Electronics.

Normally powered by two Pielstick diesel engines for long voyages, the ship can do over 30 knots when the two LM 2500 Gas Turbines are brought into action. The ship's electric power generation capacity is about 4 MW of power, enough to light up a small city and controlled through an automated power management system.

Shivalik is fitted with state of the art defence against Nuclear, Biological and Chemical attack. The Total Atmospheric Control (TAC) system filters and controls the temperature and humidity of air going into the ship at all times, including the air being used by the engines, removes any radio-active, chemical or biological impurities, thereby protecting the crew and the systems even when under a NBC attack.

Text courtesy: Press Release provided by Cdr PV Satish-Navy PRO/MoD.

Indian Navy Offers Submarine Sortie To President, Prez Says, Being Worked Out.

After the IAF has had its share of glory by flying the Supreme Commander of the armed forces, President Pratibha Patil, its the turn of the other two services to follow suit. I met the President on Women's Day, March 8, at Rashtrapati Bhawan, and asked her if she had similar offers from the Navy and the Army and would she follow her predecesser for a submarine sortie and Siachen, as she had for a Sukhoi sortie.

Her Excellency said, "The Indian Navy has offered me a submarine sortie, but when will it materialise is not known, perhaps they are working it out. As for Siachen, nothing is certain because of the inhospitable weather."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A K Antony To Launch INS Chennai, On April 1, In Mumbai.


Defence Minister A K Antony will preside over the launch function of the third destroyer of the P-15A Kolkata-class, INS Chennai, constructed by Mazagaon Dock Ltd. (MDL). The second ship in this class, INS Kochi, was launched in September 2009. These 6700 ton destroyers are 163M long by 16M wide. They will be fitted with the state of the art weapons and communications equipment and on commissioning will form the Navy's frontline warships.

Photo: INS Kolkata-- Suman Sharma, Defexpo-2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Second AWACS Joins IAF Today

Indian Army Enters NCERT


Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal, released a book titled ‘The Indian Army – A Glorious Heritage’ today at Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi. Army Chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, Director, NCERT Prof G Ravindra and other dignitaries from the Army and the ministry were also presented during the function. .

The book published by NCERT specifically compiled for the young age group contains authentic inspirational accounts from India’s wars, traces the history, sacrifice and evolution of the Army and provides details on the entry system in to its ranks. The book attempts create an awareness towards army in a readable style.

The minister and the Army Chief both appreciated the effort and reiterated the need of constantly upgrading our military capabilities for the country.

Speaking on the occasion, Gen Kapoor revealed that the book comes as a culmination of sustained effort to reach out to the vast talent pool available at the school level. Through the efforts of NCERT and state boards, photographs and promotional material has been included in text books.

Courtesy:MoD/DPR-Army

Antony To Review NDA POP Once Again This Summer !

Hope the Minister doesn't faint this time !!

Defence Minister A K Antony will once again be the Reviewing Officer and take the salute of the National Defence Academy (NDA) passing out parade (POP) on May 31, 2010, when the 118th course passes out. This is the second time that the Minister will be the RO at the NDA after he did the honours in May 2008, during the Diamond Jubilee parade of the academy, when he fainted. Sir, have you agreed to go there again in the same season just to wipe out the earlier blot? Good luck !!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Five Killed As Minister's Convoy Hits Auto In A Head-On Collision

Minister of State for Defence, MM Pallam Raju's convoy today met with an accident in Kakinada (AP), in a head-on collision with an auto-rickshaw, killing five women and injuring three constables. The convoy with the police escort jeep, ahead of the Minister's car, was racing at a break-neck speed of 100 kmph, when the incident took place in his constituency. The Minister is safe.

Calling it a terrible event, the Minister of State told Chindits, "It is unfortunate that the women lost their lives. The erring auto was on the wrong side of the road."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

BrahMos Successfully Test Fires From INS Ranvir.


Today at 11.30 hrs BRAHMOS took off vertically from INS Ranvir, hitting the target within minutes.

India on Sunday successfully test fired BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile from a vertical launcher fitted in a moving warship INS Ranvir from off Orissa coast. The missile performed supersonic maneuvering following the exact flight path and homed on to the decommissioned target ship INS Meen. "The launch met all mission requirements and was 100 per cent successful,'' Dr. A S Pillai, CEO and MD of BrahMos Aerospace, has confirmed.

This would mean that the missile, which has a range of 290-km and flies at a speed of 2.8 Mach, can take on a target lying anywhere in the 360-degree range of the ship. Senior Naval officials who witnessed Sunday's launch termed it a “landmark event.” Honourable President Smt. Pratibha Patil and Defence Minister Shri A K Antony congratulated the missile scientists and naval officers for the successful launch of the supersonic cruise missile.

DRDO along with Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia is jointly designing and developing the BRAHMOS missiles which are capable of carrying conventional warheads up to 200 -300 kg and a range of 290-km, to be with the international regulations.

The state of the art Universal Vertical Launcher from which the missile was test fired has been designed and developed by BrahMos Aerospace and patented. The launcher is designed to be fitted under the warship’s deck, thereby protecting it from atmospheric conditions and imparting stealth to the weapon system. It also allows the missile to be turned to cover 360 degree.

Three 15 A Alpha-class ships being built at Mazagon Docks in Mumbai and three more Talwar class ships (known as 1135.6 class in Russia) built at Kaliningrad in Russia will be fitted with similar Vertical Launcher modules, the sources said.

With the latest launch, BRAHMOS has once again proved its mettle to be launched from both Vertical and Inclined configurations from Naval platforms. The Army has plans to induct three regiments of BRAHMOS in near future to use the missile as a “precision first strike weapon.”

Courtesy:DRDO Release

Thursday, March 18, 2010

F-35B Demonstrates Hover, Short Take-Off Capability.


Photo: LM

INS Nirdeshak Assists Mauritius In Hydrography.


INS Nirdeshak set sail for Mauritius for a hydrographic survey mission on 17 Mar 10. The ship is likely to operate in Mauritian waters for about four weeks.

The deployment of INS Nirdeshak is in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Mauritian government. During the last four years about ten hydrographic surveys have been conducted by the Indian Navy in Mauritian waters. Some of the important surveys undertaken include those for Mauritian capital Port Louis harbour, Port Mathurin in Rodrigues Island, Carajos Cargados Shoals and Agalega Island. It is noteworthy that before the survey by the Indian Navy, Agalega was last surveyed over 100 years ago.

In addition to hydrographic survey of important ports, harbours and designated sea areas around the islands, the MoU encompasses training of Mauritian hydrographic personnel at National Institute of Hydrography at Goa and provision of expertise for setting up of a hydrographic infrastructure at Mauritius.

As a result of the sustained hydrographic assistance, four navigational charts of Mauritian waters have been produced and handed over. This is likely to give a boost to their sea trade. The survey will also be assisting land based ocean industries being set up in Mauritius.

This survey will also include collection of supporting data for the continental shelf claims of Mauritius. Surveys related to the development of the tourism industry in the islands are also conducted

The regular presence of Indian Naval survey ships in Mauritius has generated a swell of goodwill and further reinforced the strong links between the two countries. The crew of the survey ships have not only been involved in surveying unchartered waters but have also endeared themselves to the local populace by participating in community building exercises during their short visits to the harbour, providing assistance in reaching supplies to far flung islands and acting as goodwill ambassadors.

It may be recalled that Indian Naval Ship Nirdeshak was the last ship to visit Mauritius during March - April 2009. On her return passage to India the ship was diverted to Seychelles to demonstrate Indian Naval presence and to deter piracy in the region. During her deployment off Seychelles the ship was involved in the successful capture of nine pirates in an operation which was coordinated with Spanish frigate Numancia.

Courtesy:Indian Navy.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bangladesh Army Chief Meets Antony.

SC Gives Relief To Armed Forces Over IV Pay Commission Rank Pay Anomaly Case !

In accordance with the recommendations of the IV Pay commission, officers of the Army, Navy, &Air Force were granted Rank pay in addition to the basic pay in the integrated pay scale of Rs 2300-100-3900-150-4200-EB-150-5100. In addition to the pay in the integrated scale it was directed that rank pay will be admissible to the officers as Capt(Rs 200/-), Major(Rs 600/-), Lt Col(Rs 800/-), Col(Rs 1000/-),Brig(Rs1200/-). It was notified that the above revision of pay will be retrospective in force with effect from 01/01/1986. The method of fixation of pay recommended for civilian employees would be applied to the Armed Forces also. Thereafter the rank pay would be added to the total emoluments.

While fixing the pay in the integrated scale a ‘faux paus’ was created by deducting ‘rank pay’ from the total emoluments and then doing the pay fixation resulting in huge financial loss to the officers with cumulative effect on pay, DA, Pension, gratuity, commutation etc.


Retired Defence Officers Association--Press Release

In the case of Maj AK Dhanapalan Vs Union of India in OP 2448/96, The Hon’ble High Court of Kerela allowed the plea of the officer and held that the deduction of the rank pay was not correct and directed to re fix the basic pay of the officer from 1.1.1986. Appeal filed by the Union of India before the larger bench of the Kerela High Court & SLP in the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the judgment was dismissed. Although Govt sanction to pay arrears to Maj AK Dhanapalan were issued, the benefit was not extended to similarly placed officers of the three Services.


Since pay fixation of the IV Pay Commission was wrong, the consequential fixation of pay as per V Pay Commission was also wrong, so also pension, commutation, leave encashment etc.


This injustice became a ‘CAUSE’ for few retired officers to form ‘RETIRED DEFENCE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION’ to take further legal action. The Founder Members initiated action to enroll like minded affected officers who were willing to join this noble cause. The membership drive resulted in 2000 officers joining up with initial membership fees of Rs 500/- to meet the legal expenses.
Representations sent to the Defence Secretary, Chief of the Army Staff and Adjutant General bore no results. So much so, no information was given to the officers under the RTI Act and appeal made to the CIC was un answered.
Before seeking recourse to legal action the ‘Core Group’ of the association met the Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Shri A Antony and apprised him of the facts of the case. Although Shri A Antony was sympathetic with the error committed. He expressed his limitations on account of financial clearance from the Finance Ministry. Left with no option the RDOA approached the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. Many similar petitions were filed in various High courts all over the country by other officers as well. These were clubbed together and transferred to the Supreme Court to be heard along with an Transfer petition of similar nature (NK Nair & others) that had arisen out of a case that was allowed on the basis of the judgment in Major Dhanapalan’s case.
The Supreme Court on 08 March 2010 upheld the judgment in Dhanapalan’s case delivered in 1998.The matter was heard and finally disposed of by the Bench of Justice Markendey Katju & Hon’ble Justice RM Lodha.
The Apex Court has held that the prayer in these writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution is for grant of benefits awarded by a learned Single Judge of the Kerala High Court vide his judgment dated 5.10.1998 in O.P. 2448/1996 which has been affirmed by the Division Bench of the High Court in Writ Appeal No. 518/1999 by judgment dated 4.7.2003.
“We have carefully perused the judgment dated 5.10.1998 of the learned Single Judge as well as judgment dated 4.7.2003 of the Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala and we respectfully agree with the reasoning given therein for grant of rank pay retrospectively from 1.1.1986. We also direct interest to be paid thereon at 6%p.a. Accordingly, these writ petitions as well as the transferred writ petitions are allowed. No order as to the costs.”
With this judgment the pay of all affected officers will have to be refixed from 01 Jan 1986 with consequential benefits on pay, pension, commutation, leave encashment etc. The anticipated arrears would range from a couple of thousand rupees to few lacs per officer depending upon the rank held and reckonable service of the officer. About 30000 to 40000 officers both serving and retired including widows would be directly affected.
The case was dealt by Group Captain KS Bhatti (Retd), and Aishwarya Bhati, both Advocate on Record of the Supreme Court on behalf of RDOA.

Press Release:Retd Def Offrs Association.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Four PBORs Killed In Pokharan Firing Range !!!

Four army PBORs (Personnel Below Officer Rank) got killed yesterday in the Pokharan firing range during a routine exercise. A premature barrel burst while handling a mortar shell is said to be the reason.

Target Missile Malfunction Intercepts AAD Test !!

The flight test under Programme AD was planned to be conducted today to demonstrate the interception of Tactical Ballistic Missile in endo-atmospheric region. As part of the mission, a target missile mimicking the incoming ballistic missile in terms of altitude and speed, was launched from ITR, Chandipur on March 15, 2010 at around 1010 hrs.

The target missile took off in normal way; at T+20 sec (approx) the target deviated due to some onboard system malfunction and could not maintain the intended trajectory, failing to attain the desired altitude profile. The Mission Control Centre computer found that the interception is not warranted as the deviated target did not present the incoming missile threat scenario and accordingly the system intelligently did not allow take-off of the interceptor missile for engaging the target. The cause of the target malfunction is being investigated by analysis of tele-metered data.

Courtesy: DRDO release.

In Parliament Today:

In Lok Sabha today:

1. Joint manufacturing of aircraft:

India and Russia signed Inter Governmental Agreements (IGA) for Co-development and Co-Production for Multi Role Transport Aircraft (MTA) on November 12, 2007 and for a Prospective Multi Role Fighter Aircraft (PMF) on October 18, 2007.

The percentage share of investment by the Indian side towards development will be 50 % each for both aircraft. The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) would be comparable to the best of its type/class in the world. The project would be set up in India, as well as in Russia. MTA & FGFA, both are design and development programmes. It is estimated that the aircraft would be inducted by the Indian Air Force in the 13th Plan period.


2. Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya:


Contracts and supplementary agreements comprising repair and re-equipping, logistic supports, training, etc were concluded with Russian side for acquisition of the aircraft carrier, ex-Admiral Gorshkov, in January 2004 at a cost of US Dollars 974 million. The Russian side submitted a revised Master Schedule indicating a delay in the project and an increase in price for repair and re-equipping of the aircraft carrier, due to increase in scope of work not originally envisaged.


The Government approved the proposal for conducting negotiations with the Russian side for finalizing a revised Repair and Re-equipping Contract and other related contracts/agreements affected due to delay in the project and Additional Works projected. The negotiations have since been concluded by the Contract Negotiation Committee (CNC). The revised cost of USD 2330 million has been approved by the Government. Prices for the works to be carried out under the revised contracts/agreements are fixed. The aircraft carrier was originally scheduled to be delivered in August 2008. The ship’s delivery is re-scheduled to December, 2012. Re-scheduling of the ship’s delivery and revision in its cost were necessitated due to emergence of Additional Works projected, detailed agreed scope of trials, etc.


3. Satellite for Navy:


A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with Indian Space Research Organisation to provide a communication network to the Navy, including space based resources.

Government has initiated several measures to strengthen coastal security. An integrated approach has been put in place. The coastal surveillance and patrolling has been enhanced. Joint and operational exercises are taking place on regular basis between Navy, Coast Guard, Coastal Police, Customs and others to check the effectiveness of the new system. Further, continuous review and monitoring mechanism have been established at different levels and involving various agencies including the State/UT authorities.


DPR-MoD

Chindits Column: Women In The Armed Forces; Misconceptions And Facts !!

Major General Mrinal Suman (Retd), AVSM, VSM, PhD

The recent debate about the induction of women in the armed forces has been highly skewed and shallow. An issue that critically affects the fighting potential of the armed forces has been reduced to ‘equality of sexes’ and ‘women’s liberation’. Many ill-informed observers have trifled such a sensitive matter by terming it as ‘conquering the last male bastion’. Sadly, stances have been taken more on the basis of personal views and mind-sets rather than on well evolved logic.

Both military and non-military experts are equally guilty in this regard. In the recent past, the nation was shocked to hear a retired senior Army officer recommending constitution of all women battalions in the Indian Army. There cannot be a more preposterous and perilous proposition. It is equally common t to hear the argument that if the Naxalites and LTTE can have women fighters, why the Indian armed forces should be reluctant to do so. Often people quote the number of American women fighting war in Iraq and Afghanistan to question India’s stance against allowing women in combat. This article endeavours to remove some common misconceptions and put all issues in their proper perspective.

To start with, it needs to be stressed that the services carry no male chauvinistic mindset. The very fact that daughters of service officers have excelled in all fields proves that service officers do not suffer from any gender bias and are very supportive of women’s advancement.However, the issue of women’s induction in the services
warrants singular treatment.

It will be instructive to take a look at the genesis of the issue. Earlier, entry of women was limited to the Army
Medical Corps, the Army Dental Corps and the Military Nursing Service. In the early 90s, a service Chief visited the United States and saw women participating in Guards of Honour. He was suitably impressed and wondered why India should lag behind in this aspect. Thus the decision to induct women was neither need-based nor well thought-through. The first batch of women Short Service Commission (SSC) officers joined in 1992. No attempt was made to study likely long term implications of multiple issues involved and their effect on the fighting potential of the services. In other words, a decision of colossal significance was taken in a totally cavalier, slapdash and hasty manner. As the other two services did not want to be seen as ‘male-chauvinists’, they followed suit. Soon a race got underway between the three services to induct women in maximum number of fields. It is only now that a plethora of complex issues are getting thrown up with resultant adverse fall-out.

Presently, the Indian Army counts 2.44 percent women in its ranks, the Indian Navy 3.0 percent and the Indian Air Force 6.7 percent. The tenure of women SSC officers has since been increased to 14 years. The Government has also approved grant of Permanent Commission to SSC (Women) officers prospectively in Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department and Army Education Corps (AEC) of Army and their corresponding Branch/Cadre in Navy and Air Force, Accounts Branch of the Air Force and Corps of Naval Constructors of the Navy.

Common Misconceptions and Facts

* Women must get equal opportunities in the services

The concept of equality of sexes is unquestionable. Its application should, however, never affect the fighting potential of the armed forces. Two points need to be highlighted here. First, the armed forces are constituted for national defence and there can be no compromise on that issue. Secondly, the armed forces are not a ‘Rozgar Yojana’ to provide employment to all segments of the society in equal proportion. As it is a question of nation’s defence, the best man or woman should be selected for every job. In other words, women should be inducted in the services only if they add value or at least not affect it adversely. No right thinking individual can advocate
women’s induction at the cost of the fighting potential. That would be disastrous for the country.

Interestingly, demand for equal opportunities is selective in nature. Women want to join only as officers and not as soldiers. Additionally, the concept of equality is given a go-by soon after commissioning. Applications for peace postings and other special dispensations proliferate. They join the military on the plank of equality of sexes but this plank vanishes the day they join the training academy. Thereafter, they again become the weaker sex needing special privileges.

* Women can perform all physical tasks as well as men

Standards of physical fitness of women can never be the same as those of men. It is a biological reality and is true for all fields including sports. In the case of women officers, Indian army has lowered the standards to
appallingly low levels. Even then many women fail to qualify during their pre-commission training. Whereas male cadets are required to run 5 km in 28 minutes, women are given 40 minutes. Similarly, males are required to jump across a 9 feet wide ditch with full equipment and personal weapon; women have to negotiate only a 5 feet wide ditch. Worse, most women fail in the test.

All male officers and soldiers are subjected to annual Battle Physical Efficiency Tests till they attain the age of
45 years. No such tests have been prescribed for women officers to avoid embarrassment to them in front of the troops. Concerns have also been expressed about the susceptibility of Indian women to frequent back problems,
pelvic injuries and stress fractures.

A recent review conducted by the British army concluded that women have neither the upper-body strength nor the physical resilience to withstand intensive combat. Tests in 2000 respondents found that women were eight times more likely than men to sustain injuries other than wounds in action.

* Physical fitness is of lesser importance in modern fighting

Need for physical effort is dictated by two factors - level of technological development and nature of military’s
involvement. Requirement for physical prowess undoubtedly reduces as the armies advance technologically. In other words, quantum of physical effort needed is inversely proportional to technological progression. Thus, as an army evolves technologically, more high-tech jobs get generated where technically qualified women can be gainfully employed. In a high-tech army like the US, a woman sitting in the US mainland can effectively guide drone attacks in Afghanistan. India on the other hand is still a second generation technology force which is trying desperately to graduate to the third generation. Indian defence forces are man-power
intensive needing physical ground effort. India has very few high-tech jobs.

As regards degree and extent of a military’s involvement in active combat duties, countries like Canada and Australia face no internal or external threat and their militaries are generally in peacetime mode with routine passive duties. They can certainly afford to have a larger percentage of women in their forces. Contrast this with India where the majority of Army troops are deployed on active combat duties in remote, inhospitable and uncongenial areas. Only physically fit and tough troops can survive. Worse, peace
tenures are short and there are very few periods of comparative lull.

Therefore, the Indian services continue to be physical-power intensive and will remain so in the near
future. Only the very fit can survive to deliver in India’s hostile environment.

* The US has deployed a large number of women soldiers for fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Although a large number of women have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, their employment has been confined to support functions. Although till the end of 2009, the US and allies had suffered a total of 4689 casualties, there has not been a single woman war casualty. Similarly, despite the fact that the US and allies have suffered 1555 casualties, not a single woman has lost her life in the Afghanistan war so far. Many people tend to confuse casualties due to hostile action with combat casualties. The US has lost 19 female servicemen in Iraq to hostile activities like car bombs, IED blasts and helicopter crashes since the beginning of 2007, but there has been no combat casualty. It is simply because of the fact no women are deployed in combat duties. As a matter of fact, they are forbidden to be placed in direct ground combat with enemy.

They generally perform medical, intelligence, logistic and traffic control duties. Women are thus kept sheltered in
safe appointments, away from the risk of capture by the
adversary.

Even in Israel which has conscription for women (as well as men), women are not allotted active battle field duties. They serve in technical, administrative and training posts to release men for active duty.

* If BSF can have an all women battalion to guard border, why not the Indian Army

The Border Security Force (BSF) has certainly raised an all women battalion and deployed it on the international border. However, the following important facts need to be highlighted: -

· The battalion is led by male officers and subordinate functionaries.
· The battalion has not been positioned on the Line of Control where firing and infiltration attempts are frequent.
Instead, it has been deployed near Ferozepur on the International Border (IB) which is totally peaceful and
where Indian and Pak troops routinely exchange sweets on festivals.
· Even on IB no independent sector has been entrusted to the women battalion. It has been superimposed on an existing male battalion. Importantly, women perform no night guard duties
– these are performed by males.

Earlier, village women were not allowed to go across the border fence to cultivate their fields as no women sentries were available to frisk them. It was a sore point with the border folks. The sole purpose of raising the women battalion is to redress this long standing grievance. Their task is akin to what CISF women have been carrying out at the airports for long – frisking of women. Therefore, it will be incorrect to call the BSF battalion a fighting force.

* Women officers help overcome the shortage of officers in the forces

It is an erroneous impression that there is a shortage of male volunteers for the services. As per the report of the
Union Public Service Commission for 2006-07, there were a total of 5,49,365 candidates for 1724 vacancies for all civil services examinations with an Applicants to Post Ratio (APR) of 319. On the other hand, 3,41,818
candidates applied for 793 vacancies in the National Defence Academy (NDA), maintaining APR at a healthy 431. It implies that for every seat in NDA there were 431 applicants. Therefore, it is a fallacy that male volunteers are insufficient. It is just that the services seek very exacting standards for males while women are accepted with abysmally low standards.

* Short service commission for women has proved highly productive

As a matter of fact, short service commission (normally extended to 10 years) has proved to be a totally wasteful
and counter-productive exercise. Women normally get commissioned at the age of 23 to 25 years. Within two to three years of their commission, they get married, mostly to colleague male officers. Soon thereafter they start applying for peace postings on compassionate grounds to be with their husbands. Every pregnancy means three years’ exemption from physical activities – one year pre-natal and two years post-delivery. With the standard two-child norm, a women officer remains physically inactive for close to six years. It implies that after the first
post-commission tenure, a woman officer is rarely in a position to participate in field exercises and has to be exempted all out-door work. Thus the services gain little.

In an informal interaction, a senior Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) questioned the rationale of granting SSC to women. “In the case of men, 25 to 35 years age span is most productive and grant of SSC is understandable. On the other hand, women have to raise their families during that period. By granting SSC to women, we have achieved nothing except increase the load on maternity wards of military hospitals,” he opined.

* If women can fight as soldiers in LTTE and Naxalite outfits, why not in the services

Comparing irregular outfits with constitutionally created regular forces shows speciousness of the logic. In any case, even LTTE recruited women only after it fell short of male volunteers. Moreover, women held no high appointments and were generally used as pawns in indoctrinated suicide squads. If one was to carry the comparison forward, LTTE had recruited boys of 15 years to take up arms and act as human
bombs. A lawfully structured formal organisation cannot be expected to follow suit.

* Indian women officers have proved themselves and established their credibility as leaders

Not withstanding the public posturing of the services top brass, the experience so far has been highly discouraging. Superior male officers admire their enthusiasm despite the environmental difficulties, but are faced with the twin problems of their safety and useful employment. Additionally, as many duties (like night duty officer) cannot be assigned to women, male officers have to be given additional work load, which they resent. There are also concerns, based on Israeli studies, that soldiers first instinct may be to defend the women in their ranks rather than to fight the enemy.

Male officers also question the logic of having women only as officer. Indian officers pride themselves in the fact
that they lead from the front and hence have to be better than their soldiers both physically and professionally. But, by having women only in the officer cadre an impression gets conveyed to the environment that officers’ duties are softer and can be carried out by women as well, thereby lowering their standing.

As per an informal survey carried out, 81 percent of the troops were convinced that women officers could never lead them in war efficiently. The balance 19 percent were unsure of their response. Acceptability of women as leaders was thus very poor. Another segment of respondents viewed the whole issue as a political gimmick which did not warrant serious attention. “How can the Government be naïve enough to think that a leader who cannot run, train and exercise with troops and lacks required physical fitness can lead them in war?” they query.

* Women in Western forces are well accepted and adjusted

It is a fallacy. Acceptance of women in the military has not been smooth in any country. Despite efforts made to
sensitise the environment, they continue to be confronted with social, behavioural and psychological problems at all levels. To date most countries do not allow women tank crews because of the cramped conditions and lack of privacy. There are also concerns about cramped living conditions on board submarines and dangers posed by fumes inside the submarine to a foetus if a woman becomes pregnant.

Sexual harassment and assaults of women soldiers is known to be blatant and quite prevalent in the US forces. A sexual harassment hotline set up at Aberdeen received 6,825 calls from women from all branches of the military in just two months. Hundreds of women are said to have complained of sexual assault in the forces since the beginning of Iraq war in 2003. Level of moral degradation can be gauged from the fact that ‘command rape’ has come to be accepted as a common phenomenon in the military - a superior official, under the might of his command authority, can force a subordinate woman soldier to accede to his sexual demands. A joint survey carried out in 2006 in the UK by the Ministry of Defence and the Equal Opportunities Commission found that 67% of the respondents had experienced sexualised behaviour directed at them personally in the previous 12 months. Worse, over half of those who made a formal complaint stated that there had been negative consequences as a result of which 64% were considering leaving the services.

On the other hand, Indian armed forces can be rightfully proud of their record which is far better than that of any
advanced nation in the world. Women are treated in a manner befitting their dignity and their safety is ensured.

India Needs to Exercise Caution

It is universally accepted that induction of women in the services should be dictated by the level of technology,
prevailing security environment and the nature of likely deployment. Availability of adequate number of male
volunteers is another major consideration.

India should follow a graduated approach. Women’s expertise, talent and competence should be profitably
utilised in areas which are totally non-combat in nature. For the present, women must continue to play their established role in the medical, dental and nursing services, both as short service and permanent commission
officers. However, they should not be granted short service commission in any other branch. The Government has rightly approved grant of permanent commission to women in legal and education departments of the three services, accounts branch of the Air Force and constructors of the Navy. Grant of permanent commission should also be considered for women in Survey of India, Military Engineering Service Militarised Cadre and Director General Quality Assurance.

The current policy of non-induction of women in combat arms should continue. Additionally, their entry into Engineers, Signals, Supply Corps, Ordnance and EME (Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) should be deferred till infusion of technology generates adequate number of high-tech jobs.

Finally, it should never be forgotten that the raison d'être for the constitution of the armed forces is to ensure security of the country. Decisions which have a far reaching effect on the defence potential of the armed forces must be taken with due diligence. Instead of replicating a model, India must chart its own policy. It has an experience of 18 years. Honest feedback must be sought to appreciate the true ground situation and initiate corrective measures. Most importantly, the military brass must show moral courage to admit that the present mess demands a holistic review of the policy, protestations of self-styled champions of gender-parity not withstanding. Decisions taken as a matter of political and populist expediency can prove disastrous
for the nation in the long run. Defence matters cannot be treated as publicity gimmick to flaunt sexual equality.


Copyright: Indian Defence Review Jan-Mar 2010

Photos: Bangladesh Army Chief Arrives On Indian Visit.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ex-servicemen To Deposit Medals Seventh Time, Sign Memorandum In Blood !!

ANGUISHED BY APATHETIC ATTITUDE OF GOVT TOWARDS THEIR DEMAND OF OROP, EX SERVICEMEN DEPOSIT MEDALS WITH THE PRESIDENT THE SEVENTH TIME ON 14 MAR 2010 AT

JANTAR-MANTAR NEW DELHI FROM 10AM TO 2 PM :

“SIGN MEMORANDUM IN BLOOD”




"1. The Govt has not accepted the most genuine demand of ex servicemen ‘One Rank One Pension (OROP)’. The committee headed by Cabinet Secretary had six more secretaries. Since the government has accepted the recommendations of the Committee, reference to that report is relevant. It was expected that the Committee members, based on their experience and wide vision would come up with a fresh approach. Unfortunately, they failed to fulfill those expectations. The Committee only recommended that the dividing line between the pre-1997 and post 1997 pensioners be removed. They equated the pre -1997 pensioners with ‘post-1997 –and-pre-2006’ pensioners, thus removing a 12 years old anomaly. But the difference between the pre and post 1.1.2006 pensioners stays untouched. It did not even touch OROP. Even the enhancement of pensions announced by the Govt on 06 Jul 2009 has not been implemented.

2. Deeply anguished by the apathetic attitude of the Govt, the IESM has decided that ESM from all states will deposit their medals with the President of India on 14 Mar 2010 the seventh time alongwith a Memorandum signed in Blood."

Video: GR8! Women Awards-2010, Mumbai

Friday, March 12, 2010

*Flash*: Delhi High Court Rules Permanent Commission For All Serving Women Offrs !!

Delhi High Court today ruled that women officers serving in the Army and IAF (whichever branch/department/arm) would continue to serve till retirement, like male officers, as a permanent commissioned officer. All those women officers who have retired or sought premature retirement but have age on their side, can also apply and come back, subject to fulfilment of other requirements.

About the same being applicable to the Navy, High Court advocate, Mrs Rekha Palli told Chindits, "I only had cases from the army and the IAF and none from the Navy, so I can only say about these two services. I am not sure about the same being applicable to Navy as well."

About combat arms, Delhi HC said that its a policy matter, therefore the court would not interfere in that. There were around 50 cases pertaining to permanent commission and gender rights and hearing had already begun, which is why these cases were not transferred to the armed forces tribunal, though there was a suggestion for the same. Women officers present, Maj Leena Gurav, WgCdr Pushpanjali, Maj Seema, Maj Sandhya Yadav, were jubiliant at the court ruling. From the army was present, Capt Rahul Soni.

In 2008 the government had agreed upon permanent commission for women officers in the JAG and AEC (corresponding branches in IAF and Navy), and IAF's accounts department and the constructor branch of the Navy. But permanent commission was for new recruits, not for the ones already serving.

F-35B Lightning II Prepares For Vertical Landing


The first Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter passes overhead at 40 knots (46 mph) prior to a slow landing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Wednesday, March 10. The flight was one of the last missions before the aircraft's first vertical landing, and confirmed the jet's power and controllability at very low speeds. The aircraft's short takeoff/vertical landing (STOVL) propulsion system generates more than 41,000 pounds of vertical thrust, and enables airspeeds from zero to Mach 1.6. The F-35B will be flown by the United States Marine Corps, the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, and the Italian Air Force and Navy. It will be capable of operating from small ships and austere bases near front-line combat zones. F-35 Lead STOVL Pilot Graham Tomlinson was at the controls for Wednesday's flight.

Photo: Randy Hepp, U.S. Navy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Ria Novosti: India-Russia Iron Out FGFA, MTA By 2018, HAL Chairman.

In an interview to Ria Novosti, HAL Chairman Ashok Nayak said that the Russian-Indian military transport plane could make its maiden flight by 2018, and that both countries have agreed in general on shared responsibility for the joint development of the fifth-generation fighter, and are expected to sign a contract on the joint development of the new fighter in the near future.

The FGFA will be most likely based on Russia's T-50 prototype fifth-generation fighter, which has already made two test flights and is expected to join the Russian Air Force in 2015.

"The MTA will be most likely developed on the basis of the Il-214 twin-engine military transport aircraft designed by the Ilyushin Design Bureau.The new aircraft will feature a takeoff weight of around 55 tons, flight range of 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) and a payload of up to 20 tons."

Russia and India signed an intergovernmental agreement on the joint development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) in 2007. The cost of the $600-mln project is being equally shared by the two countries.


Courtesy:Ria Novosti.

Photos: Brazil Defence Minister Visits India



Courtesy:DPR-MoD

Mission Seven Summits By Indian Air Force


IAF team consisting of five air warriors has successfully returned after hoisting the Indian tricolour and the IAF flag on top of the highest peak of South American continent – Mt Aconcagua(6962mts). The expedition was part of the IAF Mission Seven Summit’ in which air warriors plan to attempt the highest peaks of all seven continents. The team had to negotiate long treks of 8-9 hours through the dry, treacherous, barren and dusty mountains. Strong winds and chilled factor made the things difficult.

Admiring the spirit of the team, the expedition was flagged-in by Air Mshl J N Burma, Air Officer-in-Charge Administration (AOA) in a befitting ceremony in Air Head Quarters on 11 Mar 2010. Wg Cdr R C Tripathi, leader of the Mission Seven Summit handed over the Ice-Axe containing Tricolor and IAF flag to the AOA to mark the flag-in ceremony. Other members of the expedition were Wg Cdr Jai Kishan, Sqn Ldr Namit Rawat, JWO Nikku Choudhury and JWO Suresh Pal.

Courtesy:MoD/DPR-IAF

Indian Army's New DG-Infantry.

Lieutenant General SN Handa would assume the appointment of Director General of Infantry at Army Headquarters on Mar12 ,2010.

Commissioned on November 14,1971 into the 5th Battalion of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles on the eve of Indo - Pak War 1971. He has served along the borders of the country from Rajasthan and Punjab in the West to J&K in North, Himachal – Tibet Border in the Centre and Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh in the East in different environments. He commanded his battalion at Dera Baba Nanak (Punjab) at the peak of Punjab militancy from 1990 – 1993, an Infantry Brigade during Op Parakram and Op Aman (Gujarat Riots) and was later Deputy General Officer Commanding of an infantry division in Op Parakaram.

He has also commanded the Ahmedabad based Golden Katar division in 2005 – 06 and was Chief of Staff of Strategic15 Corps in the Srinagar Valley in 2007 and commanded Jodhpur based 12 Corps after which he assumed the appointment of the Chief of Staff, HQ South Western Command. Gen S N Handa is the President of the Gorkha Brigade Fraternity and the Colonel of the Third Gorkha Rifles Regiment. As Director General Infantry he will play a pivotal role in the ongoing transformation of the Infantry soldier to a modern net centric subunit.

Courtesy:MoD/DPR-Army

Video: First Flight Of CC-130J Super Hercules For Canada !!











Courtesy: Lockheed Martin.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Parliament Today:-

In Rajya Sabha today:

1. Acquisition of C-17 Globe Master-III aircraft:

Government proposes to get 10 C-17 Globe master – III giant strategic aircraft from US and sent a letter of request to the US Government. The proposal to procure C-17 Globemaster II aircraft from the US Government to meet the strategic airlift requirement of Indian Air Force was approved by the Defence Acquisition Council on October 19, 2009. The Letter of Request was issued to the United States Government on January 01, 2010.

2. Deficiencies in Naval Tejas airframe:

The prototype of the naval variant of Tejas aircraft is being built for aircraft carrier. The project has lagged behind its schedule due to various requirements connected with the development of a new aircraft.

Deficiencies have been detected in the airframe and other associated equipment of the aircraft. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working out modalities with various organisations for rectifying these deficiencies by suitable modifications to the engine / airframe design.

3. Upgradation of existing fleet of fighter aircraft:

The Government has signed a contract for upgrade of the MiG-29 aircraft with Russian Aircraft Corporation (RAC MiG) on March 07, 2008. The total cost of the contract is USD 964,082,937.46. The MiG-29 aircraft upgrade is planned in two phases namely Design & Development phase in Russia followed by series upgrade in India.

The Government has signed a contract for ugpradation of AN-32 aircraft with Spets Techno Export, Ukraine on June 15, 2009.

Defence Minister A K Antony replied today in Parliament.
Courtesy-MoD/DPR.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Southern Naval Command Launches Anti-piracy Operation.

The Southern Naval Command early today deployed INS Sujata in response to a call for assistance from MV Melina I, a bulk carrier. The ship on passage from Ukraine to Paradip is learnt to have encountered pirates approximately 200 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep. Indian Coast Guard vessel CGS Annie Besant and a Dornier aircraft have also been dispatched to render assistance. INS Sujata has embarked an armed helicopter and Marine Commandos (MARCOS) to effectively deal with any emergent situation.

Courtesy:DPR-Navy/Kochi

Friday, March 5, 2010

*Flash* : MoD Issues RFP For Mi-17 Upgrade !!!

The request for proposal (RFP) or tender, for the avionics upgrade of the Indian Air Force (IAF)'s Russian medium-lift twin-engine utility Mi-17 helicopters, has been issued to American Honeywell, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), and the Russian State Export Agency. The 100 million dollar upgrade would primarily be a cockpit upgrade in the almost two-decade old choppers, where state of the art LCD screen, touch screen and other features would be installed in the cockpit, so as to reduce attention of the pilot from the cockpit.

Around 100 Mi-17 helicopters will be fitted with the new generation avionics. Since the engines would not be changed or upgraded, therefore life of the helicopter is not expected to increase, said a source.

The choppers are primarily used for troop insertion/extraction, casualty evacuation, logistic supply, search and rescue, reconnaissance and observation, in high altitude areas like Siachen Glacier and have also been part of UN missions abroad,

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Antony Expresses Concern Over Supply Of Sophisticated US Mil Equipment To Pak !!

The Defence Minister, AK Antony, has expressed concern over the reported decision of the United States to supply a whole array of sophisticated Laser Guided Bomb kits, Surveillance drones and late-model F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. In a statement, here today, Antony said, given our bitter past experience of how Islamabad used such aid against India, Washington should ensure that the latest tranche of military aid is used only for the purpose of countering Al Qaida and Taliban terrorists and not against India.

Courtesy:MoD/DPR


R.I.P Army Capt Martyred

Capt Deepak Sharma of 42 RR--Assam Regiment, was martyred today morning in Avantipore, Victor Force, in an operation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

R I P: One Of These Kirans Has The Deceased Pilots Flying During MiG-29K Induction !!


These four Kiran Mk-II aircraft performed in the Goa-based INS Hansa during the MiG-29K induction on February 19, for which I was there, watching the eight pilots doing all kinds of stunts in air, after which the same team landed in Hyderabad, an aerobatic maneuver killing Cdr S K Maurya and LtCdr Rahul Nair today. Little did I know on Feb 19th that one of these planes and two pilots would no longer exist after 12 days !!

The Team started training for aerobatic aerobatics in end 2001. The Squadron Commander of INAS 551, then, was Cdr JS Tewatia. The work-up at that time was, however, informal. The drive gained formal momentum in later part of 2002. The paint scheme of the aircraft was changed to the current one and the aircraft were modified for smoke emission with the inboard stations modified for carriage of kerosene tanks mixed with colour dyes (if you do not mix a dye, the smoke is white in colour).

The Team was initially called as Sagarkiran and it is under this name that the team made its formal inaugural debut display (then with only three aircraft) in Kochi,on May 11, May 2003 for the Golden Jubilee of the Indian Naval Aviation. The founding Leader of the Team was Cdr Surendra Ahuja. The formation of the team gave the Indian Naval Air Squadron 551 a new role. The squadron had on some occasions in the past also attempted to set up an aerobatic team and but the attempts were informal and were not sustained for long enough to assume any significant formality.

The other members of the inaugural Team in 2003 were Lt Cdr Yogesh Garud (who himself later, as a Commander, led the Team) and Lt Cdr N Thiagarajan. The Team's name was later changed to the present name of Sagar Pawan (Hindi equivalent of sea breeze). The new name was selected (among a few others that were suggested) by the then Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Arun Prakash (later Admiral and CNS). The Team is also fondly referred to as INSPAT - Indian Navy Sagar Pawan Aerobatic Team or simply SPAT. Since then the other Team leaders have been Cdr Sameer Mehra, Cdr Yogesh Garud and Cdr Satyen Vartak. The Team is presently being led by Cdr Yashwant Hemant Karkare. Since inception the Team has performed in Kochi, Vizag, Mumbai, Pune, Lonavla
and a number of other locations as also at their home location in Goa.

The Team members use every opportunity to interact with their Air Force counterparts, Suryakirans, who also fly the same aircraft, and the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows who have performed in Goa on a couple of occasions. The Squadron that boasts of the Team (INAS 551) has, for its contribution to the Navy as a training squadron as also for its contribution in setting up an aerobatic team (only second Navy aerobatic team in the world), been recently awarded the Chief of the Naval Staff's Unit Citation which is a matter of great honour for all the pilots who have trained in this squadron in the past. It is also to the Team's credit that they have kept, flight safety wise, a clean record thus far. They truly do the Indian Navy proud.

Today Cdr Maurya and co-pilot Nair were killed apart from a civilian casualty. More details about the crash are awaited.

An officer told Chindits that the aircraft are safe, as we await the Board of Inquiry results and so were both pilots experienced, Cdr Maurya with 1800 hours and LtCdr Nair with 1000 hours.

Condolences to both families.

Courtesy:DPR-MoD/ Navy-Press Release.