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Putin to be invited for Make-in-India defence chopper deal

NEW DELHI, Dec 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inviting Russia to take part in a $3 billion light-utility helicopters project — the first big-ticket Make in India initiative in the defence sector — during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. The choppers are meant for both Indian armed forces and export.

This is the first India-Russia summit after the Modi government came to power.

Speeding up the process for setting up reactors 3 and 4 at Kudankulam without further price escalation, specific energy cooperation measures like tanker-shipments of gas, mid-sea trading will form a major part of the agenda at the summit.

Modi is also expected to take up Russia’s defence cooperation with Pakistan and China.

The deepening of India-Russia energy cooperation comes in the wake of Moscow inking a $400 billion deal with Beijing for supplying gas for 30 years earlier this year, which Putin had termed a “watershed event”.

For the chopper deal, public sector unit Hindustan Aeronautics Limited or an Indian private firm could partner with a foreign firm for production of Kamov-226T helicopters. In India, the bidding for these ‘reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters’ is restricted to Indian firms and their joint venture partner.

In the first phase, the order could be for 384 helicopters, which could later be increased to 600 to replace the ailing Cheetah/Chetak fleet used by the Indian army and air force. officials told HT.

This invite, rather inserted late into the programme, is intended to be a signal that India-Russia ties should go beyond the “ordinary buyer-seller” ties and reflect the true nature of a “growing partnership”. Sources said the two sides are likely to sign around 20 pacts, including two commercial ones, after the summit meeting but that this invite could send a clear “message of intent for closer ties”.

The Modi government scrapped acquisition of 197 light-utility helicopters from foreign firms; the selection process had been married by allegations of corruption in October.

Russian Kamov-226T and Eurocopter and Bell were eying this contract. The tender was cancelled for the second time in seven years.

RSH helicopters can be used for day and night operations. They include reconnaissance and surveillance, evacuation, scout role, and aiding civil authorities to deal with any crisis.

Agni-IV launch successful

NEW DELHI, Dec 2: India on Tuesday successfully test-fired Agni-IV strategic missile for its full strike range of 4,000 km from the Wheeler Island, off the Odisha Coast.

The nuclear weapons capable long range missile in deliverable version was launched for the first time by the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) around 10.15 am. Carrying a one-tonne dummy warhead, the missile splashed down near its pre-designated target point in the waters of Indian Ocean with high degree of accuracy as two naval ships located nearby recorded the terminal event.

From the start till the end, the trajectory of the missile and its other parameters were tracked and monitored by a network of radar and telemetry stations and electro-optical systems along the East Coast.

The missile’s re-entry vehicle’s heat shield enabled it to withstand searing temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees C when it re-entered the earth’s atmosphere. Highly sophisticated Ring Laser Gyros based navigation system and modern avionics provided reliability in steering the missile to its target point.

The two-stage, solid fuelled Agni-IV along with other missiles in Agni series, would be the mainstay of India’s nuclear deterrence programme.

This was the fourth success in a row for Agni-IV as three previous flight trials carried out by Defence Research and Development Organisation’s missile technologists achieved their respective mission objectives in November 2011, September 2012 and January 2014.

After a few more user trials by SFC personnel, the missile would be inducted into the Army.

Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister Avinash Chander, Top DRDO missile scientists, including Director-General Missiles and Strategic Systems Dr. V,G.Sekaran, project director Tessy Thomas and RCI Director Satheesh Reddy were present.



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