UAVs

UAVs

This article deals with the ‘UAVs.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Introduction

  • UAV is an aerial vehicle without a pilot on board.  
  • UAVs can be remote-controlled aircraft (e.g. flown by a pilot on the ground) or fly autonomously based on the program. 

Applications of UAVs

Applications of UAV
  • UAVs can be remotely controlled. Therefore, it saves any loss of soldiers. 
  • In modern warfare, Armies use them in operations to have a view from above and coordinate the movement of Soldiers. 
  • Police are using them during rioting and monitoring people’s assembly during Strikes. E.g., Chandigarh Police  
  • UAVs can be used for real-time surveillance of rugged terrain.
  • Companies like Facebook plan to use it for internet delivery (Aquila).
  • Logistic companies are making drones to deliver products. E.g., Zomato is working on a hybrid drone for food delivery. Earlier, Amazon too tested such drones. 
  • Healthcare: Drones can be used for improving the delivery of medicines. E.g., the Telangana government’s ‘Medicine from the Sky’ project under which medicines (especially vaccines) will be transported from district headquarters to PHCs using a drone named Marut.
  • Agriculture: Drones have application in agro-management, especially in spraying pesticides, crop nutrients etc. In an experiment conducted in Brazil, the use of drones helped in reducing the use of pesticides.

Challenges 

  • Regulatory loopholes: There are policy and legal loopholes wrt the regulation of drones in India.
  • Quality Control: Most of the drones are imported in India.
  • Privacy Issues: Drones can collect images and data of common citizens infringing their right to privacy.
  • Use by Terrorists: These drones can be easily procured and used by terrorists for carrying out their nefarious activities. For example, drones are to drop weapons and drugs along the Punjab border. 
  • Issue with Air Traffic Management: Drones cant be detected by conventional radars and puts conventional air traffic in danger.

UAVs as a threat to National Security

Drones have changed the ways wars are fought and have posed new challenges to security agencies.

Recent developments in this regard include

  1. In 2021, Kashmiri terrorists dropped IEDs over Indian Airforce Base using UAVs.
  2. Pakistan use drones to smuggle drugs to India.
  3. In 2021, Azerbaijan defeated Armenia’s much more potent force using drones, which have completely changed the ways warfare is fought.
  4. Iran supported Shia Houthi rebels attacked oil facilities of Saudi Aramco and oil refinery in UAE, bypassing sophisticated missile defence systems.
  5. The US killed Iranian General Qasim Soleimani in a drone attack.

Ways to defend drone attacks 

The best way to defend is the installation of Anti-Drone systems. These includes

  1. Foreign Anti-Drone systems such as Iron Dome (of Israel), S-400 (of Russia), DroneHunter (of USA) etc.
  2. India is also making indigenous anti-drone systems. These include
    • DRDO’s ‘Anti-Drone System” can neutralize detecting the drones in the range of 3 km and destroy using laser technology.
    • Grene Robotics of Hyderabad has developed Anti-Drone System named ‘Indrajaal’. 

Drones of India

#1. Indian Drones

1.1. Rustom

  • Rustom is developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of Bangalore under DRDO.
  • It comes in two versions – Rustom 1 and Rustom 2.
  • Use: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR

Features of Rustom

  Rustom-1 Rustom-2
Weight 95 Kg 350 Kg
Endurance 12-15 hour 24 hour
Range 250 km 250 km
Speed 125-175 km/hr 125-175 km/hr

1.2 Nishant

  • It is developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of Bangalore under DRDO.
  • Primary use: Intelligence gathering, surveillance, target designation and damage assessment.
  • Features
    1. Endurance: 4 hours and 30 minutes.
    2. It has a range of 100 Km.
    3. It can reach up to a speed of 216 km/h.
    4. It is launched using a catapult and doesn’t need a runway.
    5. It has day and night flying capability.

1.3 Panchi

  • It is the wheeled version of Nishant. 

1.4 Lakshya-I

  • Lakshya-1 is pilotless target aircraft.
  • It is manufactured by HAL.
  • Primary use: Used to perform discrete aerial reconnaissance of battlefield and target acquisition.
  • Features
    1. Maximum Speed: 0.7 Mach
    2. Range: 150 km
    3. Its launch is rocket-assisted, while recovery is made using a two-stage parachute.
  • Later, the Nirbhay missile was also made from its design.

1.5 NETRA

  • It is a Mini-UAV. 
  • It is developed by DRDO.
  • Its use includes following
    1. CRPF will use it to fight Naxals. 
    2. BSF in counter-insurgency. 
  • It has the following specifications
    1. Range of 4 to 5 km.
    2. Endurance of 40 to 60 minutes.
    3. It weighs around 6 kg.
Indian UAVs

#2. Foreign UAVs bought by India

2.1 Guardian Drone

  • India has bought  Guardian Drones (naval & unarmed version of Predator UAVs).
  • It has provided enhanced Indian capabilities in maritime defence.  
Guardian Drone

2.2 Heron TP

  • It is an Israeli Armed UAV.
  • India has bought this UAV.  
  • It is India’s first armed drone, significantly expanding the aerial offensive capabilities of the military.
Heron TP

2.3 Harpy and Harop

  • These UAVs are bought from Israel.

Indian Air Force

Indian Air Force

This article deals with the ‘Indian Air Force.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Airforce

  • Indian Airforce with 1.27 active personnel defends the Indian airspace.
  • At present, the Indian Airforce (IAF) has 34 fighter squadrons. But to be effective against China and Pakistan, India needs at-least 45 squadrons.
Indian Air Force

Aircrafts of India

Combat Aircraft

Dassault Rafale 26
Sukhoi Su-30 MKI 272
HAL Tejas 22
Mig-29 66
Mirage 2000 49
Jaguar 120
MiG-21 Bison 107 (retire in 2025)

Reconnaissance

Boeing 707 1
Global 5000 2
Gulfstream 2

Tanker

Il-78 : 6


Transport

Ilyushin IL-76 17
Boeing C-17 Globemaster 11
C-130J Super Hercules 12
Antonov A-32 104
Dornier 228 50

Helicopters

HAL Light Combat Helicopter Attack Helicopters
HAL Rudra Armed
HAL Dhruv Utility
Boeing Apache Attack Helicopters
Mi-24 Attack Helicopters
Chinook Heavy Transport

UAVs

Harop Loitering Munition
Heron Surveillance
Searcher Surveillance
DRDO Lakshya Target Drone

Side Topic: Generations of Aircrafts

  Period Features Examples
1st Gen Fighters 1940s-50s Turbojet Engines Mig-15 and Mystere-IV
2nd Gen Fighters 1950s-60s Delta Wings
Guided and Beyond Visual Range Missiles
Mig-21, Su-7 and F-104
3rd Gen Fighters 1960s-70s Improved Radars, Missiles and Avionics Mig-25 and F-4 Phantom
4th Gen Fighters 1970s-90s Fly by wire controls
Multi-role capabilities
Mirage-2000, Mig-29, Su-27, F-16 Fighting Falcon
4.5th Gen Fighters 1990s onwards Some stealth features
Advanced avionics
Su-30 MKI, Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 Desert Falcon
5th Gen Fighters In development Advanced Stealth
Highly sophisticated avionics
Thrust Vectoring
Supersonic cruise without the use of afterburners
F/A-22 Raptor, F-35 and Sukhoi T-50

Detail of Combat Aircrafts in news

1. Rafale & MMRCA

Rafale is 4.5 generation Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) aircraft made by Dassault Aviation of France.

Rafale and India

Main features of Rafale

  • 4.5 generation Multirole combat aircraft, i.e. can be used for ground support, in-depth strike, and anti-ship strike.
  • Rafale is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
  • Equipped with precision air to air and air to surface missiles.
  • Range: 3,700 Km
  • Max Speed: 1,389 Km/hr
  • Load Carrying Capacity: 9,500 Kg

Rafale Acquisition: Chronology of Events

2007 Tender for MMRCA was invited, and various bidders such as  Eurofighter (of British Aerospace), F-16 (of Lockheed Martin), MiG-35 (of Russia) and Rafale (of Dassault (France)) applied for the bids.  
2011 Rafale was shortlisted. It was decided that India would buy 126 Rafale. In this, 18  were to be purchased in fly-away condition, and the rest 108 were to be made by HAL under Transfer of Technology.  
2015 But the issue was Dassault was not prepared to guarantee the performance of aircraft manufactured in IndiaThe plan was changed, and the government decided to buy 36 Rafale in the ready-to-fly condition given to India in two years.
2018-19 The case went to Supreme Court to increase the cost per aircraft and give offset contract to Reliance instead of HAL.  
2020 Delivery of Rafales started. The first batch of 5 aircraft was delivered to India.

Issues

  • The stealth system of Rafale is outdated compared to other competitors in the same class.
  • Rafale doesn’t have STOVL (Short take-off and vertical landing) capability, present in other competitors.
  • Brazilian Airforce was earlier interested in buying Rafale but later changed to Swedish Gripen jet.

2. Tejas / HAL’s LCA

  • HAL Tejas or Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is a 4th Generation fighter aircraft made by India.
  • It is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL).
  • The program to build indigenous Indian combat aircraft started way back in the 1980s. After long delays, the first Tejas was delivered to the Indian Airforce in 2015. In 2021, the Indian government announced to procure 83 Tejas.
  • Tejas is going to replace India’s ageing MiG 21 aircraft.
  • Features of HAL Tejas
    1. It has ~60% indigenous content.
    2. Maximum Speed: 1,350 Kmph.
    3. Its radius of action is 400 Km without refuelling.
    4. It can carry a weight of up to 12 tonnes. 
    5. Delta wing configuration 
    6. Numerous integrated technologies like Fly by wire flight control system, advanced digital cockpit, digital avionics, advanced composite material structure etc.
    7. It is equipped with operational capabilities like Beyond Visual Range Missile and Air to Air Refueling.
    8. It has STOBAR (Short Takeoff But Arrested Recovery) capability.
Tejas

Side Topic: (LCA) Kaveri

  • Kaveri is the name of Tejas’s engine that was to be used, but India couldn’t make it on time to be used in the plane.
  • It would have been India’s first indigenous gas turbine engine.

3. Sukhoi T-50 (Fifth Generation)

Sukhoi T-50 is an Indo-Russian collaborative project to make 5th generation fighter aircraft. It is a joint venture of Russia’s Sukhoi and India’sIndia’s HAL.

It will have the following characteristics

  1. Stealth features like specially designed airframes, engines intakes, and radar absorbing material
  2. Thrust vectoring nozzles
  3. One or two seated
  4. 30 mm cannon
  5. Eight weapon internal points and eight external points.
  6. Max speed of 2 Mach.
  7. Fuel capacity of 10,300 kg.

But in 2018, India has conveyed its unwillingness to Russia to go ahead with this project due to the high costs involved. 

Sukhoi T-50

Detail of Transport Aircrafts in news

1. C-17 Globemaster

  • It is a large military transport aircraft of US origin developed by Boeing. 
  • Indian Airforce has 11 Globemasters.
  • It can be used for
    1. Transporting troops.
    2. Maintaining supplies and carrying equipment to small airfields in remote and harsh terrain (E.g., Ladakh)
  • Its main features include
    1. Ability to take off from very high altitudes
    2. Land on paved as well as unpaved airfields during day and night.
C-17 Globemaster

Helicopters

Important Made in India Helicopters

1. Dhruv (ALH)

Dhruv Helicopter

Dhruv features of this helicopter

  • Dhruv was designed for the military as well as civilian purposes.
  • It is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
  • It can play multiple roles: logistics, rescue and attack for Army, Navy, Airforce and Coast Guard.

History

  • The project was first announced in 1984 & was designed in assistance with MBB of Germany.
  • First flew in 1992 but developments prolonged due to budget restrictions and various restrictions placed on India after Pokhran 2 in 1998.
  • Entered into service in 2002. 
  • First exported to Nepal & Israel & is on order by several other countries.

2. Rudra

  • Rudra is an armed version of Dhruv. 
  • It is equipped with 
    1. Forward-Looking Infra Red and Thermal Imaging Sights Interface
    2. Turret gun
    3. Anti-tank missiles 

Foreign Helicopters bought by India

1. Chinook

Chinook
  • Chinooks are the heavy-lift helicopters used by the US Army. 
  • India decided to buy 15 Chinook helicopters from the USA in 2016, and the first batch was delivered in 2019.
  •  Features of Chinook Helicopters
    1. Twin Engine with Tandem Rotor.
    2. Can carry up to 35 troops or 24 stretchers with 3 attendants or 10,500 kg payload.
    3. Advanced Avionics. 
    4. Advanced M240 Machine Gun

2. Apache

  • Apache is USA’s most advanced ‘attack helicopter’. 
  • India has bought 22 Apache Helicopters.
  • Features of Apache Helicopters
    1. Twin Turboshaft Engines
    2. Armed with missiles like Hellfire, Spike and Stinger missiles
    3. Armed with advanced M230 Chain Guns
    4. Night vision systems
    5. Advanced avionics

3. Mi-17

  • Mi-17 is a Russian origin transport helicopter manufactured by Kazan Helicopters.
  • It is one of the most advanced transport helicopters equipped with advanced features such as 
    1. Advanced self-defence system equipped with 23 mm cannon and heat-seeking missiles
    2. Twin-engine single rotor
    3. Highly sophisticated navigation and avionics system
    4. Maximum speed of 250 km/hr
    5. Range of 675 Km
    6. Payload capacity of 4,000Kg
    7. Capacity to transport up to 36 troops.
  • It is used for the transportation of VVIPs, including PM and army chiefs.

Indian Navy

Indian Navy

This article deals with the ‘Indian Navy.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Structure of Indian Navy

  • Indian Navy protects the territorial waters, coast and Indian geopolitical interests.
  • It has 58,000 active personnel.
  • It has 3 operational commands 
    1. Eastern Command – Vishakhapatnam
    2. Western Command – Mumbai
    3. Southern Command – Kochi

Side Topic: Blue Water navy

  • It is a mighty navy that can operate across the deep waters in open oceans. E.g. US Navy.
  • Indian Navy also wants to be a Bluewater navy. The purchase/induction of Vikramaditya, nuclear submarines, fifth-generation air crafts etc., are part of that strategy.


Naval Ships

How are naval ships named?

Different countries follow different conventions

Corvettes

  • Corvette is the smallest class of ships that can be considered a proper warship.
  • Their main use includes
    1. Coastal Patrol
    2. Fast Attack
  • In India, Corvettes are named after personal arms. Eg : INS Khukri, INS Kirpan and INS Khanjar. 

Frigates

  • Frigates are warships with mixed armaments.
  • In India, they are named after mountains or rivers or weapons. E.g., INS Sahaydri, INS Shivalik, INS Satpura, INS Talwar, INS Teg etc.

Cruise or Destroyer

  • Destroyer is a fast, highly manoeuvrable ship with long -endurance. Generally, it escorts a fleet of vessels intending to protect them.
  • In India, they are named after a state capital, a large city, or a great king or warrior from India’s history. E.g., INS Delhi, INS Kolkata, INS Mysore, INS Mumbai, INS Rana and INS Ranjit.

Submarines

  • In India, Submarines are named after a predatory fish or an abstract name associated with the ocean. 
  • INS Arihant and INS Chakra are nuclear submarines; the conventional ones have had names from INS Sindhughosh and INS Sindhukirti to INS Shalki and INS Shankul.

Aircraft Carriers

  • Aircraft Carrier is the highest class of warships whose presence can provide strategic advantage. They are used to carry aircraft to carry operations away from home shores.
  • These are very expensive and generally escorted by destroyers, frigates, submarines etc.
  • There is a special procedure to name such special ships. A committee is formed that invites the name and decides to name it. For Example, 
    1. INS Vikramaditya: It is named after Vikramaditya meaning Sun of Prowess, a name taken after many Indian sovereigns.
    2. INS Vikrant: It is named after India’s first Aircraft Carrier, which India bought from the UK in 1957.

Indian Aircraft Carriers

1. INS Vikramaditya

It is an Indian Aircraft carrier. It is of Soviet origin and was known as Admiral Gorshkov. India bought this from Russia in 2004, and it was finally delivered to India in 2013.

INS Vikramaditya

2. INS Vikrant or IAC-1

  • INS Vikrant is the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier. India has joined the elite club that can manufacture its aircraft carriers. It will join the Indian Navy on 15 August 2022, marking 75 years of Indian independence.
  • It is designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL).
  • Its features include
    1. Weight = 19,500 Kg
    2. Displacement of 40,000 tonnes.
    3. Speed of 28 knots
    4. It will carry 24 Russian MiG-29 aircraft and Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R Seahawk Helicopters and Advanced Light Helicopters.
    5. Two runways.
    6. It has STOBAR capability (i.e. Short Take-Off But Arrested Recovery)
    7. Long-range surface to air missiles.

Note: It is named after decommissioned INS Vikrant, India’s first Aircraft carrier, and was bought from Britain in 1961. It played an essential role in the Indian victory over Pakistan in 1971.

INS Vikrant

3. INS Vishal

  • INS Vishal is the proposed name of India’s third aircraft carrier.
  • It is not yet approved by the Government of India. However, it will be India’s second indigenous aircraft carrier when approved. 

Other Warships

1. Kolkata Class (Project 15-A)

  • Kolkata class is a group of destroyers made under Project 15A. These are a class of guided-missile destroyers constructed for the Indian Navy. 
  • There are three ships built under the Kolkata class.  
    1. INS Kolkata
    2. INS Kochi 
    3. INS Chennai
  • These are built at Mazagaon Dock Limited (MDL) in India and are the largest destroyers to be operated by the Indian Navy. 

2. Vishakhapatnam Class (Project 15-B) 

  • It is the Indian Navy’s 1st stealth destroyer, INS Visakhapatnam.
  • The destroyers of this class are more advanced than the Vishakhapatnam class.
  • There are four ships built under this Vishakhapatnam Class
    1. INS Vishakhapatnam (undertrials)
    2. INS Mormugao (construction)
    3. INS Imphal (construction)
    4. INS Porbandar (construction)

3. Nilgiri Class (Project 17-A)

  • Nilgiri Class is a group of frigates made under Project 17A. 
  • There are seven frigates made under Nilgiri Class (all named after hills)
    1. INS Nilgiri
    2. INS Himgiri
    3. INS Udaygiri 
    4. INS Dunagiri
    5. INS Taragiri
    6. INS Vindhyagiri
    7. INS Mahendragiri 
  • These are built at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) in India.

4. Talwar or Krivak Class

  • It is a class of Indian Stealth Frigates being built in Russia.
  • Total four frigates are to be built under the project, two of which have already been built
    1. INS Tushil
    2. INS Tamala 
    3. 2 more are under construction.
  • Features of this class include 
    • Stealth features with low radar and underwater noise signatures
    • Installed with Surface to Surface Missiles
    • Equipped with Surface Surveillance Radar and Sonars

5. Kamorta Class (Project 28)

  • Kamorta class is a group of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
  • There are four corvettes built under Kamorta Class. 
    1. INS Kamorta
    2. INS Kadmatt 
    3. INS Kiltan
    4. INS Kavaratti
       

6. INS Astradharini

  • India’s first indigenously designed (95%) and built torpedo launch and recovery vessel (TLRV). 
  • It is an advanced replacement for Astravahini. 

Side Topic: Decommissioned Ships

INS Vikrant

  • The warship was decommissioned in 2014.
  • Initially known as HMS Hercules, India purchased it from Britain in 1961. It played a strategic role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.
  • Now Bajaj is using its steel in making motorcycles.

Submarines

 Submarines are of three types & India need the correct mix of all three  

1. Conventional Submarines (SSK)

  • They use the diesel-electric engine as their source of power & have to surface daily to get oxygen for fuel combustion.
  • India needs 20 SSKs but has only. 
    1. 9 Sindhughosh Class (Russian Kilo Class) 
    2. 4 Shishumar Class (German Type 209) 
    3. 5 Scorpene Class submarines inducted from Project 75

India had plans under Project 75 & Project 75(I), under which the intention is to build two production lines in collaboration with two foreign submarine builders to build 6 submarines each. In the meantime, the Navy would come up with indigenous designs to produce 6 submarines immediately, each on these production lines producing a total of 24 subs by 2030. Although the project is behind schedule, we have made 5 subs under Project 75.

Project 75

5 Subs (out of 6) under Project 75 has been made (Scorpene-Class Submarines made by French Maker DCNS ) 

1. INS Kalvari

  • It was inducted in 2017 (5 years behind schedule).
  • It is the first submarine constructed under Project 75. 
  • The literal meaning of “Kalvari” is ‘ Sea Tiger.’  

2. INS Khanderi

  • It was inducted in 2018.
  • Khanderi is the name of Maratha Island Fort.  

3. INS Karanj

  • It was inducted in 2019. 
  • The name ‘Karanj’ is derived from Karanja island, a town in the Raigad district. 

4. INS Vela

  • It was inducted in 2021.
  • The name ‘Vela’ is derived from the name of a predatory fish. It was also the name of one of India’s decommissioned submarines of Soviet origin. 

5. INS Vagir

  • Construction of INS Vagir has been completed and sea trials have been currently going on.
  • Vagir is the name of sandfish (a predatory variety of fish).

6. INS Vagsheer

  • It is the sixth submarine being developed under Project 75.
  • It is yet to be inducted into the Indian army.

2. Nuclear Submarines (SSN)

  • These are powered by nuclear reactors (but they can’t launch Ballistic Missiles). As a result, they can remain submerged for months.
  • Given the security needs of India, the Indian Navy needs 6 SSNs. 
  • MoU was signed with Russia to provide 2 Akula Class SSNs on lease for 10 years. India got one in 2012 (INS Chakra)  & the other one has still not reached India.


3. Nuclear Submarines with Ballistic Missiles (SSBN)

  • They are nuclear-powered submarines along with the capability to launch Ballistic Missiles with nuclear warheads.  
  • These Submarines act as the third leg of the nuclear triad. 
  • India needs 3 to 5 SSBN but don’t have any. 
  • India is building an SSBN class submarine known as INS Arihant indigenously. The submarine is almost ready.
Arihant Submarine
  • INS Aridhaman is the next in line after Arihant and is still in the development stage.

Side Topic: Nuclear Triad

Nuclear Triad means the 3-pronged capability to launch a nuclear strike

  1. Land-launched nuclear missiles (e.g., Agni Missiles of India).
  2. Nuclear-missile-armed submarines (INS Arihant is SSBN).
  3. Strategic aircraft with nuclear bombs and missiles (Su 30 MKI can be integrated with Brahmos).
Indian Navy

Torpedo

Torpedoes are underwater weapons fitted in warships and submarines with the aim to destroy enemy ships.

How Torpedoes Work
How Torpedoes Work?

List of Indian Torpedoes

Varunastra Anti-Submarine Torpedo (India’s first indigenous torpedo)
Shyena Anti-Submarine Torpedo
SMART Long Range Torpedo

Navy Aircrafts

Indian Navy has aircraft for reconnaissance and attack purposes.


List of Naval Aircrafts

1. Reconnaissance

P-8I US Aircraft manufactured by Boeing
Dornier 228 German origin reconnaissance aircraft
IL 38 Russian origin reconnaissance aircraft

2. Attack

MiG 29: Russian origin attack planes posted on INS Vikramaditya    


P-8I

  • P-8I is the maritime surveillance, coastline defence, search and rescue and anti-submarine aircraft.
  • Manufacturer: Boeing
  • India has been using these since the delivery of the first aircraft in 2013.

Tanks, Artillery and Guns

Tanks, Artillery and Guns

This article deals with the ‘Tanks, Artillery and Guns.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Tanks and Artillery

1. Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1)

  • Arjun or MK-1A is an indigenously designed, developed and manufactured tank.
  • Manufacturers: DRDO & CVRDE (Combat vehicle research & development establishment).
  • The latest batch of Arjun tanks, delivered to the Indian Army in 2021, has ~55% indigenous content. 

Timeline

1972 Arjun Main Battle Tank Project initiated by DRDO
1996 Mass production began
2004 The first batch of 16 Arjun tanks was delivered to the Indian Army.
2009 Arjun Regiment consisting of 45 tanks was made.
2011 The number of in-service Arjuns crossed 100.
2021 118 more Arjuns inducted into the Indian Army.

Features of Arjun Tank

  • All-terrain mobility.
  • 120 mm calibre gun.
  • Computer-controlled integrated fire control system with 360 degrees and day and night view.
  • Machine gun and an anti-aircraft gun.
  • Missile firing capability.

2. Bhishma (T-90)

  • T-90 is the ‘third generation’ Russian main battle tank. Bhishma is the Indian version of Soviet T-90 tanks.
  • India has 310 Bhishma tanks, of which almost half are Russian made, and half were manufactured in India. 
  • They are the improved version of T-72 and have been used by the Indian Army since 2001.
  • Features of Bhishma tank
    1. 125 mm gun
    2. Range of 6 km
    3. Automatic loader
    4. Day and night sighting system
    5. Thermal imaging device.


3. Ajeya (T-72)

  • Ajeya or T-72 are the Soviet main battle tanks.
  • India has ~2,000 Ajeya Tanks in the Indian Army, and they are the backbone of the armoured division of the Indian Army.
  • Initially, they were ordered from the Soviet Union, but since 1980, India has been manufacturing it at Avadi (Tamil Nadu).


Tanks, Artillery and Guns

4. Pinaka

  • Pinaka is India’s indigenous multiple rocket launcher.
  • It is developed by DRDO. 
  • It has a maximum range of 40 km and can launch 12 rockets in 44 seconds. 
  • It can be mounted on Tatra Truck for mobility.  
  • Pinaka rockets played a vital role in the Kargil war, where they successfully neutralized enemy positions on the mountain tops. 
  • Pinaka-Extended Range (Pinaka-ER), successfully tested in 2021, has a range of 70 km.
Pinaka

5. Pinaka Mark – II

  • The earlier version of Pinaka was an unguided rocket system. It has now been transformed into a guided version- Pinaka Mark-II, with a navigation, guidance and control kit. 
  • Pinaka-II has a range of more than 70 km (compared with Pinaka-I, which has a range of 40 km). 
  • It can fire 12 rockets within 40 seconds. 


6. Bofors

  • It is a 155mm Howitzer gun.  
  • India has bought it from Sweden.
  • Bofors has played an essential role in Indian victory during Kargil War.
  • Note: Howitzers are important in hilly terrain because Tanks can’t be used there. 
Bofors 155mm Howitzer

7. Dhanush

  • It is an indigenous Howitzer of India with 81% local components. In 2019, Ordnance Factory Board made the first delivery of Dhanush to the Army.
  • It is an upgraded version of Bofors with a maximum range of 38 km.
  • It is also a 155 mm calibre gun.
  • It can fire 15 rounds in 3 minutes.


8. M-777

  • India has bought M-777 from the USA (Deal is for 145 guns. 25 will come from BAE Systems, and the rest will be assembled in India with Indian Partner).
  • It is an ultra-light howitzer (ULH). 
  • Calibre = 155 mm
  • M-777 can be easily transported to any battlefield using a helicopter-like Chinook.
M-777

9. K9 Vajra T

  • It is a Korean made Howitzer.
  • It was inducted into the Indian army in November 2018.


Rifles in Service in India

Following rifles are used by the Indian forces

1. INSAS

  • INSAS=Indian Small Arm System.
  • It is a 5.56 mm Self Loading Rifle (SLR). 
  • It is the main rifle used by the Indian Army.
  • It was designed and developed by DRDO.
  • It has been decided that INSAS Rifle will be decommissioned shortly. 

2. Dragunov

  • Russian origin sniper rifle used by Indian forces.

3. AK-203

  • India is importing 70,000 AK 203 Assault Rifles from Russia. Later, these will also be manufactured indigenously at Korwa Defence Factory (UP) by a joint venture between India and Russia named Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited. The total requirement of the Indian Army is 7.7 lakh. 
  • These are very advanced versions of famed AK-47 or Kalashnikovs.
  • AK 203 will replace INSAS Assault Rifles. 
  • Main Characteristics of AK 203 
    1. Highly reliable, durable and easy to maintain.
    2.  Weighs 3.8 Kg.
    3. Range: 800 m
    4. 30 round standard magazine.

Anti-Missile System

Anti-Missile System

This article deals with the ‘Anti-Missile System.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Indian Ballistic Missile Defence  (IBMD) System  / Anti Missile System / Air Defence System

  • IMBD is an Anti-Missile System or Missile Defence System.
  • It is an initiative to protect Indian cities from Ballistic Missile attacks.
  • It was proposed in the mid-1990s by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • The functioning of the Anti-Missile System is explained in the infographic below. 
Anti-Missile System

Side Topic: Iron Dome System of Israel

IBMD System is just like the Iron Dome of Israel. Israel faces a large number of short-range rocket attacks from Gaza. Hence, they have installed Anti Missile System to protect important cities like Tel Aviv from such attacks. It is the most effective system with a success rate of up to 90% (very high).

Iron Dome System of Israel

Side Topic: THAAD System

  • US has installed THAAD System in South Korea after the threat of Missile attacks by North Korea. 
  • THAAD is also an Anti-Missile / Ballistic Missile Defence System.


Indian System

India’s IBMD System is double-tiered, consisting of two interceptor systems.

1. Pradyumna or Prithvi Air Defence (PAD)

  • It uses Prithvi Missile.
  • It is used for high altitude interception and can intercept missiles up to an altitude of 80 km.
  • It is the preferred option because the target would be engaged at a far distance.

2. Ashvin or Advanced Air Defence (AAD)

  • It uses Akash Surface to Air Missile.
  • It is used for low-altitude interception and can intercept missiles at 15-30 Km.
  • It is not a preferred option because the missile is already very close & in the case of a nuclear missile, immense destruction can happen.

  • Both are manufactured by DRDO.
  • For tracking & guidance, Swordfish Radar System is developed by India in conjugation with Israel. 
  • The programme began in 1999
    • Phase I: completed. 
    • Phase II: It was expected to be completed by 2016 & first to be placed in Delhi & Mumbai 
    • Present Status: DRDO was not able to complete it & it is still in the development stage.
  • The current system can intercept up to 1000 km class Ballistic missile at the speed of Mach 5. 
  • After the USA, Israel and Russia, India is the 4th country to develop indigenous Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems. 

S-400 Triumf

  • Russian Air Defence System, which India is in the process to buy. 
  • It is considered the best Air Defence System (full defence and not just missile) and can protect air space against strategic bombers, stealth fighters, spy planes, missiles and drones.
  • It is a long-range surface-to-air missile with a range of 400 km. Hence, if deployed on the Indo-Pakistan border, it can track the movement of Pakistani aircraft from the instance they take off from the runway.
  • It can track 300 targets simultaneously with the help of its has a 3D phased array acquisition radar. 
  • Turkey and Qatar are also interested in buying this. China has already received the first delivery of the system.
  • It will receive delivery by the end of 2021 and integrate with India’s indigenous Ballistic Missile Defence system developed by DRDO to create a multi-tier air defence. 
  • Problem: USA can impose sanctions on India under CAATSA (i.e. Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). Earlier, India got a waiver from the USA to buy this system, but the Ukraine crisis has put this deal in danger.
S-400 Triumf

NASAMS – II

  • NASAMS = National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System 
  • It was developed by Raytheon (US) in partnership with the Kongsberg Defence System of Norway.
  • India will use it to defend the VIP-89 Region (consisting of Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament etc.)
  • It is equipped with the latest 3D sentinel radars and missile launchers which can rapidly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAVs and cruise missiles. 
  • The same system is used to protect Washington DC and numerous NATO countries.

Indian Missiles

Indian Missiles

This article deals with the ‘Indian Missiles.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Classification of Missiles

Missiles can be classified in a number of ways

1. Type 

  • Cruise Missile: It is an unmanned self-propelled (till the time of impact) guided vehicle and aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path. 
  • Ballistic Missile: It is propelled for the initial stage and later works under the influence of gravity.

2. Launch Mode

  • Surface-to-Surface Missile
  • Surface-to-Air Missile
  • Surface (Coast)-to-Sea Missile
  • Air-to-Air Missile
  • Air-to-Surface Missile
  • Sea-to-Sea Missile
  • Sea-to-Surface (Coast) Missile
  • Anti-Tank Missile

3. Range

  • Tactical Missiles: 150 to 300 Km
  • Short Range Missile: 300 to 1000 km 
  • Medium Range Missile: 1000-3500 km 
  • Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile: 3500-5500 km
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missile  : >5500 km

4. Propulsion System

Missiles can have the following type of propulsion systems

  • Solid Propulsion: Uses solid fuel.
  • Liquid Propulsion: Uses liquid fuel.
  • Hybrid Propulsion: Uses a mixture of fuels.
  • Cryogenic: Uses gaseous fuels solidified at extremely low temperatures.

5. Warhead

5.1 Conventional Warhead

  • Conventional warheads are filled with chemical explosives. 
  • It relies on the detonation of the explosive and the resulting metal casing fragmentation as kill mechanisms.

5.2 Strategic Warhead

  • Radioactive materials are present, and when triggered, they exhibit tremendous radioactivity that can wipe out cities.
  • They are generally designed for mass annihilation.

6. Guidance Systems

Guided Missile

  • Guided missiles can manoeuvre within a flight. They are guided by the sensors fitted in them. E.g., infrared sensor. 
  • They are primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armoured tanks & other armoured fighting vehicles. 
  • They can be launched from aircraft, helicopters, tanks, and shoulder-mounted launchers.

Type of guidance systems

  1. Wire Guidance
  2. Command Guidance
  3. Terrain Comparison Guidance
  4. Terrestrial Guidance
  5. Inertial Guidance
  6. Beam Rider Guidance
  7. Laser Guidance
  8. RF and GPS Reference

On the basis of type

1. Cruise Missile

What are Cruise Missiles?

  • A cruise missile is
    1. self-propelled 
    2. unmanned
    3. guided vehicle
  • It sustains flight through aerodynamic lift for most of its flight path. 
  • Its primary mission is to place ordnance or special payload on a target.
  • Cruise missiles fly within the Earth’s atmosphere. 
  • It sustains the flight using Jet Engine Technology. 
  • Cruise Missile can have the varying speed or ability to penetrate the enemy’s defences.

Parts of Cruise Missiles

Cruise Missiles have the following components

  1. Guidance system: This guides the missile during its flight.
  2. Payload: Conventional or strategic warhead which missile intends to deliver. 
  3. Propulsion System: Engine (usually Jet Engine) which propels the missile.

Classification of Cruise Missiles

1. Subsonic Cruise Missile

  • Subsonic Cruise Missiles fly at a speed lesser than the speed of sound (around 0.8 Mach). 
  • E.g., Nirbhay of India, Harpoon & Tomahawk of USA and Exocet of France.

2. Supersonic Cruise Missile

  • Supersonic Cruise Missiles travel at a speed of around 2-3 Mach, i.e. it travels a kilometre approximately in a second. 
  • Its lethal capabilities are further improved due to the combined effect of supersonic speed and mass of warhead, which provides enormous kinetic energy.
  • BRAHMOS (a joint venture of India & Russia) is the only known versatile supersonic cruise missile system in service globally. 

3. Hypersonic Cruise Missile

  • Hypersonic Cruise Missiles travel at speeds higher than 5 Mach. 
  • Countries including India are working on manufacturing this class of missiles. Examples include Brahmos-II.
  • China has recently tested Hypersonic Cruise Missiles. 

2. Ballistic Missiles

What are Ballistic Missiles?

  • Ballistic Missiles have ballistic trajectories, i.e. they are guided only during the relatively brief period of the initially powered phase of flight & the rest of the course is determined by the law of orbital mechanics & ballistics. 
Indian Missiles
  • They are categorised according to their range & carry a huge payload. 
  • They can be launched from various platforms such as ships and land-based facilities. 
  • For example, Prithvi I, Prithvi II, Agni I, Agni II and Dhanush ballistic missiles. 

Side Topic: Anti Ballistic Missiles

  • They are used to neutralise ballistic missiles. 
  • They are missiles for missile defence. 

Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP)

  • Dr A P J Abdul Kalam conceived IGMDP to enable India to attain self-sufficiency in missile technology. 
  • Keeping in mind the defence forces’ requirements, the team recommended developing five missile systems. 
  • IGMDP finally got approval from the Government of India in 1983

What was the need for IGMDP?

  • It has the advantage of delivering a higher payload beyond the range of the combat aircraft. 
  • These are one-way devices. Hence, there is no danger of loss as associated with loss of combat aircraft & their crew. 
  • These missiles travel at a very high speed that makes interception difficult.  
  • DRDO ended IGMDP on 8 January 2008 after making India self-reliant in Missile Technology. Presently, the Agni Missile Development Program to develop new versions of Agni is running as a separate program. 

The missiles developed under the programme are

P Prithvi Short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile
A Agni Intermediate-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile 
T Trishul Short-range low-level surface-to-air missile 
N Nag Third generation anti-tank missile 
A Akash  Medium-range surface-to-air missile

1. Prithvi 

  • It was the first missile developed under IGMP and was inducted into the Indian Army in 1994.
  • Prithvi is a surface to surfaces missile. 
  • It has a short range of 150-350 km. (Range increases as number increases: Prithvi I=150, II=250 and III=350kms.)
  • Its naval version is known as Dhanush. Dhanush can be launched from Navy ships.

1.1 Prithvi 1

Name SS150
Range 150km
Used by Army
Payload 1000kg

Update: Prithvi 1 will be replaced by Prahar Missile, developed by DRDO. It has a range of 150 Km. It is extremely precise and is fitted with modern navigation, guidance and actuation systems.  


1.2 Prithvi II

Name SS250
Range 250 Km
Used by Air Force
Payload 300 Kg

1.3 Prithvi III

Name SS 350
Range 350 Km
Used by Navy
Payload 1000  Kg

1.4 Sagarika/ K-15

Name K-15.
Speciality Nuclear capable submarine variant of  Prithvi missile.
Range 250-350 KM
Engine It has 2 stage engine, and both the engines are solid fuelled
1. First Stage: Underwater booster that powers the missile to 5 Km above the surface of the ocean. 
2. Second Stage: Propels the missile above the water.

1.5 Dhanush

Speciality Ship launched version of Prithvi.
Range Initially, 150 km but later increased to 350 km.
Payload 500-1000 kg

1.6 Pradyuman

  • Prithvi Air Defence Missile/Anti Ballistic Missile is named Pradyuman Ballistic Missile Interceptor. 
  • It can intercept the ballistic missiles of 300 to 2000 km class up to the altitude of 80 Km.
  • DRDO is working to enhance it to intercepts till 5000+ km range & engaging them at an altitude of 150 km.

2. Agni

  • It is the intermediate & long range Surface to Surface Ballistic Missile built by DRDO. 
  • These are capable of delivering nuclear warheads. 

2.1 Agni-1

  • Range: 700 -900 Kms
  • Max speed: Mach 12
  • It was the first missile in the family of Agni Missiles.
  • It bridges the gap between Prithvi & Agni 2. 

Agni Prime

  • It is the advanced version of Agni-1. 
  • It was test-fired successfully in June 2021.
  • Range: 1000 to 1500 Km 
  • Payload: 1,000 Kg
  • It has advanced features like
    1. High Agility
    2. Road Mobility
    3. Cannisterisation i.e. can be transported in canisters
    4. Lighter and sleeker than Agni-1

2.2 Agni-2

  • Range: 2000 km  
  • Max speed: Mach 13
  • It can carry a nuclear warhead.  
  • It is also provided with GPS to hit targets accurately. 

2.3 Agni-3

  • Range: 3000 km
  • It is the most accurate missile in this class.

2.4 Agni-4

  • Twenty meters tall and has two stages solid-fuel engine.
  • It can carry nuclear weapons
  • Range: 4000 km
  • It has heat shields. Hence, the missile can withstand above 4000°C temperature when it re-enters the earth’s atmosphere.

2.5 Agni-5

  • Agni-5 was inducted into the elite Strategic Forces Command in 2018.  
  • It has a design similar to that of Agni-3 with an extra stage.    
  • Range: Above 5000 (but Chinese experts say that Agni’s range is 8000 km and India is misguiding the world).
  • Max speed: Mach 24
  • It has MIRV capability (MIRV = Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicle . MIRV means one missile can carry several warheads, each for different targets).
  • Newspapers say it to be Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile(ICBM) (but according to definition, ICBM has a range greater than 5500 Km). 
  • It can be launched from canister & is road-mobile. Cannisterization makes this missile very agile and increases the shelf life of the missile by protecting it from the harsh climate.
Agni-5

Strategic Importance of Agni-5

  • It has brought areas as far as Beijing within the striking capability of New Delhi. Hence, it will act as a deterrent
  • Possibility as Anti-Satellite Missile: It can be converted to Anti Satellite Missile with certain modifications. 

2.6 Agni VI

  • It is an ICBM. But it is speculated to be in very rudimentary stages of development, albeit never formally acknowledged by DRDO.
  • It can be launched from submarine and land.
  • It has a range of (approx.) 6,000 Km along with MIRV capabilities. 
  • There are some speculations that this missile has already been christened as Surya. 

Side Topic – ICBM

  • ICBMs have a range of more than 5500 km. 
  • It can carry both conventional & nuclear warheads. 
  • Russia has the largest number of ICBMs (only five countries have them, i.e. 5 Permanent members of the Security Council). 

3. Trishul

  • It is a ‘Short-range Surface to Air Missile’ (SAM).
  • It has a range of 9 Km.
  • It can be fitted with a 5.5 Kg warhead. 
  • Trishul is Radar guided missile.
  • It is developed for two purposes.
    1. To defend naval vessels against missiles.
    2. As a short-range surface to air missile.
  • But Trishul missiles have faced persistent problems. Hence, the Trishul missile is planned to be replaced by the Maitri Missile, a blend of French Mica Missile and DRDO’s Trishul.


4. Nag

  • It is a ‘Third generation Anti Tank missile’. 
  • Range = 3 to 7 km
  • Payload = 42 kg 
  • It is an all-weather, top attack missile with fire and forgets capability.  

It has various versions such as helicopter or rooftop or tank mounted.

HeliNa Helicopter Version of Nag.
SANT SANT = Standoff Anti-Tank Missile
It is a ‘fourth generation’ upgraded version of the HeliNa missile with an advanced node-mounted seeker.
NAMICA Nag Missile Carrier or NAMICA is an amphibious and armoured le carrier designed for Nag Missile.

5. Akash

  • It is a ‘Surface to Air Missile‘ (SAM).
  • It can target aircraft up to 25 km away (Medium Range), at altitudes up to 18Km.
  • Its launch weight is 720 kg.  
  • It can achieve a speed of 2.5 Mach.
  • It has an integrated ramjet propulsion system.
  • A self-destruction device is also integrated into it.  
  • It uses RAM jet propulsion while the booster stage is solid fuelled. 
  • Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5.
  • It can destroy many targets at once, using the Rajendra radar system. Since Rajendra Radar completely guides it without any active guidance system, it allows greater capability against jamming as aircraft self-protection jammer has to work against high power radar.
  • It can be launched from static platforms and mobile platforms such as tanks and armoured missile carriers.
  • It was inducted into Indian Armed Forces in 2014. 
  • In 2020, the Indian Government decided that Akash Missile could be exported to friendly foreign countries.  
Akash Missile

Side Topic: Akash-NG

  • Akash-NG = Akash New Generation
  • It is a new generation of Surface to Air missiles.
  • It is meant for use by the Indian Air Force to intercept high manoeuvring low RCS (Radar Cross Section) aerial threats.

Guided Missiles outside IGMDP & in news

1. K Series

  • K series is explicitly developed for submarines. 
  • These missiles are dedicated to Abdul Kalam (K stands for Kalam).

Missiles of the K series include 

K-15

  • It is also known as Sagarika.
  • It is a submarine variant of the Prithvi Missile.  

K-4

  • K-4 is a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM).
  • It will arm the Arihant-class submarines. 
  • Range: 3,500 Km
  • Note: K-4 was developed to overcome the difficulty of fitting AGNI-III in equipping INS Arihant.

K-5

  • K-5 is equivalent to Agni-5 for Submarines. 
  • It is in developing stages. 
K Series Submarine Launched Missiles

2. Barak -8 / LRSAM

  • It is a Surface to Air Missile. It is also known as LRSAM (Long Range Surface to Air Missile). 
  • It is a Joint Venture of DRDO & Israel Aerospace Industries.
  • Speed: 2 Mach 
  • Range: 90 KM (80-100 Km) 
  • Flight Ceiling (max height achieved) = 16 Km
  • It will also be installed on INS Vikramaditya.
Long Range Surface to Air 
Missile (LRSAM) 
Joint Venture of DRDO & 
Israel Aerospace Industries 
Range 
= 90 KM (80-100 KM) 
Speed 
= 2 Mach 
civilspedia.com 
Barak8

3. MRSAM

  • MRSAM = Medium-Range Surface-to-Air Missile
  • DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries have developed it. 
  • It has naval and army versions. 
  • It has a range of more than 50 km.
  • It can reach up to the speed of 2 Mach.
  • It can target multiple targets simultaneously. 

4. QRSAM

  • QRSAM = Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air missiles 
  • It is being developed to replace Akash Missiles. 
  • Range: 25-30 Km
  • It has the ability to strike low flying targets.
  • It can hit multiple targets. 

5. VL-SRSM

  • VL-SRSM = Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile 
  • It is designed specifically for Indian Naval warships.
  • It has been developed jointly by DRDO.
  • Range: 40 Km
  • It can hit multiple targets.

6. Astra

  • Astra is an ‘Air to Air missile’ to destroy enemy aircraft.
  • It is developed by DRDO
  • It can be integrated into Su-30 MKI, Mirage 2000, LCA, MIG 29 etc. 
  • It has Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air to air capability with a 25 to 40 km strike range.  
  • Speed = up to 4 Mach. 
Astra Missile

7. Python-5

  • Python-5 is an Air-to-Air Missile of Israeli origin.
  • It has a range of 20 to 50 km and Beyond Visual Range (BVR) capabilities.
  • It has been integrated into Tejas fighter aircraft.

8. Popeye

  • Popeye is an Air-to-Surface missile and can be easily integrated into fighter aircraft. 
  • Range: 80 km
  • India has procured it from Israel.
  • It can carry nuclear warheads.

9. Rudram

  • Rudram is an Anti-Radiation Missile indigenously developed by DRDO. 
  • It will be installed on Sukhoi aircraft and used to destroy enemy radars by detecting the radio signals coming from those radars.
  • With this, IAF can perform SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) operations deep into enemy territory to destroy enemy air defence setup.

10. Shaurya

  • Shaurya is a hypersonic missile with nuclear capabilities. 
  • Range: 1,000 Km
  • Shaurya has a canister based system, giving it extra mobility. 
  • Shaurya is a land-based parallel of the submarine-launched K-15 missile.

11. Pralay

  • Pralay is a Surface to Surface missile indigenously developed by DRDO.
  • Range: 150-500 km.
  • It is equipped with state of the art navigation mechanisms. 

12. Spike Missiles

  • Spike Missiles are Anti-Tank Missiles from Israel. 
  • It will be made in India in plant setup in Hyderabad with Kalyani Group holding 51% and Rafael Aerospace (of Israel) holding 49% stake.

13. Amogha -I

  • It is an indigenously developed ‘second generation‘ ‘anti-tank’ guided missile. 
  • Range: 2.8 km  
  • It is developed by Bharat Heavy Dynamics Limited (BDL).

14. Dhruvastra

  • Dhruvastra is an Anti-Tank Guided Missile indigenously developed by DRDO.
  • It comes in two variants i.e.
    1. Helicopter launched: It will be integrated into helicopters.
    2. Tank launched: It will be integrated into Arjun Tanks.

15. SANT (Stand-Off Anti-Tank) Missile

  • Helicopter launched Anti-Tank Missile indigenously developed by DRDO. 
  • Range: 10 km

Cruise Missiles of India

1. Brahmos

  • It is a joint venture of DRDO & Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia  – BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd.
  • It is named after two rivers, i.e. Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
  • Brahmos is essentially an anti-ship missile. 
  • Brahmos is unique because it is the only Supersonic cruise missile worldwide (with a speed close to 3 Mach).
  • It has a range of 290 km. 
  • It can carry a payload of 300kg.
  • Other specifications include internal guidance, high speed, stealth properties, advanced jamming protection.  
  • It can be installed on ships, submarines, aircraft and ground vehicles. 
  • BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) is making BrahMos II with hypersonic capabilities speed up to Mach 8.
  • In 2022, the Philippines bought BrahMos missiles from India.

In 2016, India became a Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) member. Subsequently, India and Russia planned to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with a 600 km-plus range. Earlier, its range was restricted to sub-300 km. (note: MTCR applies on missiles with a range of more than 300 km).

Brahmos

2. Nirbhay

  • It is a ‘Surface to Surface cruise missile’. 
  • Speed: 0.7 Mach. 
  • Range = 800 km. 
  • Nirbhay is India’s first long-range subsonic cruise missile.
  • It is almost similar to the American Tomahawk missile. 
  • DRDO designed Nirbhaya from a pilotless Lakshya drone (0.68 Mach speed).  
  • It is a loitering missile as Nirbhay can circle over an area for many minutes and pick out the target.
  • It can avoid detection by flying at a very low altitude.  
  • 80% of Nirbhay parts are built in India.
Nirbhay


Governance of Indian Defence Sector

Governance of Indian Defence Sector

This article deals with ‘Governance of Indian Defence Sector – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles on Science and technology, you can click here


Indian Defence Apparatus

Legally, the President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Defence Forces. 


Ministry of Defence

  • Ministry of Defence controls the administration of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is headquartered at Cabinet Secretariat, Raisina Hill (in New Delhi).
  • Ministry of Defence has the following child agencies. 
    1. Department of Defence
    2. Department of Defence Production
    3. Defence Finance
    4. Department of Defence Research and Development
    5. Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare
    6. Indian Armed Forces
    7. Inter-Services Organisations

Three services of Indian Armed Forces

Indian Defence System has been divided into 3 services, i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force.

1. Army

  • Indian Army defends the territorial sovereignty of India.
  • India has the third-largest army with 13 lakh active personnel.
  • It has 7 commands (6 operational and 1 training)
    1. Northern Command – Udhampur
    2. Western Command – Chandigarh
    3. Central Command – Lucknow
    4. Eastern Command – Kolkata
    5. South Command – Pune
    6. South – Western Command – Jaipur
    7. Training Command – Shimla

2. Air Force

  • Indian Air Force defends the Indian airspace.
  • There are 1.27 lakh active personnel in Indian Air Force.
  • It has 7 commands (5 operational + 1 training + 1 maintenance)
    1. Eastern Command – Shillong
    2. Western Command – New Delhi
    3. Central Command – Allahabad
    4. Southern Command – Thiruvananthapuram
    5. South – Western Command – Gandhi Nagar
    6. Training Command – Bangalore
    7. Maintenance Command – Nagpur

3. Navy

  • Indian navy protects the territorial waters, coast and Indian geopolitical interests.
  • It has 58,000 active personnel.
  • It has 3 operational commands. 
    1. Eastern Command – Vishakhapatnam
    2. Western Command – Mumbai
    3. Southern Command – Kochi

4. Joint Commands

  • There are two joint commands of the Indian Armed Forces, and these include 
    1. Tri-Service Command is headquartered at Andaman and Nicobar
    2. Strategic Force Command (It looks after India’s nuclear weapons)

Side Topic: DRDO

  • DRDO = Defence Research and Development Organisation. 
  • It was formed in 1958 by the merger of the Directorate of Technical Development and Production & Defence Science Organisation.
  • DRDO is headquartered in New Delhi, India.
  • It works under the administrative control of the Defence Ministry.
  • Its primary function includes developing defence technologies. Earlier, it has spearheaded important projects, including Integrated Guided Missile Program (IGMP). 
  • But DRDO is often criticized for delayed projects and cost overruns.

Defence Acquisition Council

  • It was established in 2001 to tackle corruption and accelerate military weapon procurement.
  • It is headed by Defence Minister.

Defence Expenditure of India

The defence budget for 2022 is Rs. 4.05 lakh crore constituting around 14% of total government expenditure and 3% of India’s GDP.

Governance of Indian Defence Sector

Side Topic:  SIPRI Report 2021

  • India is the 3rd largest spender on defence globally (behind USA and China).
  • India is the second-largest importer of arms globally, behind Saudi Arabia. 
  • India accounted for 3.7% of money spent on military globally (while the USA spent 39% and China spent 13%, respectively). 
Defence Expenditure of India (SIPRI)

Integrated Theatre Command

  • This term has its origin in ‘theatre warfare’, which means ‘the entire land, sea and air areas are involved directly in the war operations. 
  • Theatre Command refers to the unified command under which all the Army, Navy and Air Force resources are pooled, depending upon the threat perception.
  • The present plan includes bringing all 17 service commands into 5 unified Theatre Commands.
    1. Northern Land Theatre
    2. Western Land Theatre
    3. Eastern Land Theatre
    4. Maritime Theatre Command
    5. Air Defence Command

Need of Integrated Theatre Command

  • Various committees constituted in the wake of the Kargil War opined for the enhanced coordination between armed forces for a prompt and effective military response.
  • It will bring down the cost for procurement as the use of resources can be rationalized, and duplicity in resource procurement can be tackled. 
  • It will help India fight any future war, especially with countries like China using a unified approach. 

Challenges in the creation of Theatre Command

  • There is a lack of consensus over the basic structure of Theatre Command. 
  • The Indian Air Force has already expressed reservation about the idea of the formation of Integrated Theatre Command because it is already short of assets. The formation of Integrated Theatre Command will spread its resources thinly over all the Theatre Commands.
  • There is a feeling that Theatre Command will lead to army superiority over the other forces. 
  • There is concern regarding the method that will be used to integrate the other security forces such as BSF, ITBP, Assam Rifles and CRPF into Theatre Commands. 
  • The Theatre Commands have been based on the idea of conventional security threats. However, in the age of cyber and nuclear warfare, the possibility of conventional attacks is very low. But, Theatre Command can’t tackle such challenges.

Defence Manufacturing

India is the world’s second-largest arms importer, accounting for about  12% of global arms imports. This external dependence on Defence Goods not only poses a security risk but is also a challenge to Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.


Present status of Defence Production and Trade of India

  • Total Defence Manufacturing in India: Rs 80,000 crore (80% – Public and 20% – Private)
  • Import: India is the second-largest importer of defence goods after Saudi Arabia (SIPRI).
  • Indian Exports
    • Indian defence exports increased from 1500 crore in 2016 to 8500 crore in 2020.
    • HAL and Indian Ordnance Factory are included in the Top 100 Defence companies of the world.

Initiatives

  1. Budget 2022: 68% of defence purchases would be made from local producers. 
  2. Positive Indigenization Lists: The government has issued a “positive indigenization list” comprising 209 items. These items can’t be imported, and the government has to procure items listed in it from domestic Industry. 
  3. De-reserve the Defence Manufacturing: Private participants are now eligible to work in defence manufacturing. 
  4. Liberalized FDI Regime: 74% FDI can be done through automatic route, and 100% FDI can be done through approval route.
  5. Defence Offset Policy: If the deal is more than Rs. 2,000 crore, 30% of the deal’s value, has to be invested in the Indian economy.
  6. Defence Procurement Procedure, 2020: The highest priority is given to the Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured in India. 
  7. Defence Corridors has been set up in India.

Defence Industrial Corridors

Two Defence Industrial Corridors are being constructed in

  1. Tamil Nadu
  2. Uttar Pradesh
Defence Industrial Corridors

Benefits of Defence Industrial Corridors in India

  • It will boost the Make in India project.
  • It will provide employment opportunities.
  • It will help India become self-reliant (Atma Nirbhar) in defence manufacturing.
  • It will help save a large amount of foreign reserves and earn foreign currency by selling defence equipment to other countries.
  • It will also help in attracting FDI in India.

Defence FDI Reform

Under the present rules, 100 % FDI in the defence sector is allowed. 

FDI in defence is good?

  • Public sector companies have consistently failed to meet the requirements of the armed forces. 
  • Superior management culture of the private sector will come in India.
  • It will help India in saving foreign reserves.
  • It will help Indian companies to set up a base in the defence sector. E.g., Boeing’s contract with Tata will help Tata to develop expertise in the defence sector.
  • It will help in the generation of jobs.

FDI in Defence is not a good model for India

  • Foreign subsidiaries will always put pressure on India for repeat orders. 
  • Would dependence on a Lockheed Martin (India) or a Bharat Boeing differ from relying on U.S. principles?
  • FDI will not ensure that R&D will happen in India. It just means that the Indian subsidiary of that company will produce hardware in India. In strategic sectors like defence, it is important to achieve the ability to create our fighters & tanks.  
  • It will increase the danger of creating a powerful lobby of the armament industry which will aim to protect its interest in future even by promoting insurgencies and terrorism in India.
  • A better option is to invest in HAL, DRDO etc. If ISRO can perform well with the provision of autonomy and financial resources, other PSUs can perform as well.

Indian Private Sector in Space

Indian Private Sector in Space

This article deals with ‘Indian Private Sector in Space‘. This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Introduction

  • Under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, the Government has envisioned the private sector’s role in India’s space programme, including satellites, launches, and space-based services.
  • The Government also announced Space Park in Bangalore in 100 Acres, where companies will set up their plants to synchronize their projects. 
  • ISRO is also taking up various steps to promote the Indian private sector in space. These include
    1. The private sector has been allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities.
    2. ISRO is helping a consortium of companies to build polar satellite launch vehicles.
    3. In 2018, ISRO had signed a contract with three companies to build 27 satellites in three years.
  • Draft Space Activities Bill, 2017 was proposed to promote and regulate space activities of India. It talked about the participation of private-sector agencies in space activities in India under the guidance and authorization of the Department of Space.


Organisations

Indian Private Sector in Space

Antrix

  • Antrix is the private arm of ISRO & is helping ISRO to get commercial deals. 

Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe)

  • The Government of India has created In-SPACe to boost private sector participation in the entire range of space activities like building routine satellites, rockets and commercial launch services.
  • It will have its directorates for technical, legal, safety and security, monitoring and activities promotion. It will function autonomously and parallel to ISRO.

New Space India Limited

  • NSIL is the commercial arm of ISRO. 
  • It was incorporated in 2019 as a Government-owned enterprise.
  • The main functions of NSIL include 
    • NSIL will enable Indian industries to build the capacity of the domestic market for space manufacturing.
    • NSIL will facilitate the transfer of ISRO technologies to the industry. 
  • The launch of a Brazilian satellite named ‘Amazonia-1’ in 2021 was the first commercial deal of NSIL.

Private Space Agencies

1. SpaceX

  • Owned by Elon Musk.

2. Blue Origin

  • Owned by Jeff Bezos (of Amazon). 
  • The primary rocket system of Blue Origin is called New Shephard, which will take tourists to space 100 km above Earth and start a new space tourism industry.
  • In June 2021, New Shephard auctioned the first ticket for space tourism sold for $28 million.

3. Virgin Galactic

  • Owned by Richard Branson
  • The company is working on space tourism

Indian Space Startups

Various Indian Startups are also coming into this business. Latest examples

1. Earth2Orbit

Earth2Orbit (India’s first space startup) has been set up to solve climate change from outer space.


2. Pixxel India

  • Pixxel India is a Bengaluru-based startup.
  • It is working on a project to place a large number of Remote Sensing Satellites for continuous observation of every part of the Earth, and data thus generated will be used for climate change, agriculture and urban planning. 
  • The first satellite of Pixxel India has been named called Anand.

3. Dhruva Space

  • It is a Bangalore based startup. 
  • It is the first Indian startup that will design and manufacture satellites with the capacity to manufacture 10-12 satellites annually.

4. Exseed Space

  • Mumbai based startup.
  • It launched India’s first private satellite named ExseedSat-1 in 2018 using SpaceX’s Falcon-9 launch vehicle.

ExseedSat-1

  • It is India’s first private satellite built by space startup Exseed Space.
  • It was launched by SpaceX using Falcon-9 launch vehicle in 2018.
  • It is a small satellite weighing 1 Kg.
  • This satellite will boost the amateur radio community and provide a big boost to private radio operators, along with helping the country in times of disaster.

Benefits of entry of private players

  • Increasing demand for satellites with the need to launch 18-20 satellites every year. With the existing ISRO workforce, it is challenging to meet this target, and the private sector can play a role here.
  • Getting latest innovations and trends: Public-Private Sector collaboration will boost the Indian space sector as the private sector can get access to ISRO’s cutting edge technology and innovations.
  • Reducing dependence on taxpayer’s money: Involvement of the private sector will help the government save government funds as private capital can be used to carry out expensive space projects.
  • Job creation: It will help in creating new jobs in the high skilled space industry.


Concerns

  • Security and strategic concerns as critical and sensitive information may fall into the wrong hands.
  • It is a hazardous business involving negative returns and failures. Very few companies may have the appetite to bear the cost of such losses.

Telecom Governance

Telecom Governance

This article deals with ‘ Telecom Governance.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.



Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY)

  • Earlier, it was a department under the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology. But now it has been made a full-fledged Ministry.
  • Vision: e-Development of India as the engine for transition into a developed nation & empowered society. 
  • Its main objectives include
    1. e-Government: To provide e-infrastructure for delivery of e-services.
    2. e-industry: To promote electronics manufacturing and the IT industry.
    3. e-Innovation: To provide support for the creation of Innovation Infrastructure in the emerging areas of technology.
    4. e-Education: To provide support for the development of e-skills and knowledge network.
    5. e-Security: To secure India’s cyberspace.
Telecom Governance

C-DAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing )

Origin

  • It was established in 1988 as an autonomous scientific society of MEITY.
  • C-DAC was started because of the abortive attempt of IISc in purchasing supercomputer purely for academic purposes from the US. The demand for purchase was rejected under the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). 
  • Two thrust areas of its first decade were 
    1. Supercomputing 
    2. Indian Language Computing 
  • But in the subsequent period, C-DAC has diversified its activities to various areas like financial & capital market simulation & modelling, networks & internet software, health care, e-governance, artificial intelligence etc.

Various Missions of C-DAC

1. Supercomputer

  • C-DAC made the first supercomputer of India i.e. Param 8000. 
  • After that, it made various supercomputers like Param Ananth, Param Padma (using Cluster Architecture) and Param Garuda (using Grid Computing). 
  • In 2019, C-DAC has started National Supercomputing Mission  & PARAM Shivay was the first supercomputer designed & built under the mission at IIT-BHU.

2. Cloud Computing

  • C-DAC has played important role in making Meghraj (Government of India’s cloud).

3. Current Focus

C-DAC was initially started with a mandate to make supercomputer & Indian language computing but later diversified its scope in years to areas like

  1. Artificial Intelligence & Speech Processing 
  2. Power Electronics 
  3. Embedded Systems & VLSI design 
  4. Cyber Security 
  5. Broadband, wireless & internet technology 
  6. Health Informatics 
  7. E-Governance & ICT for removing Digital Divide 
  8. E-Learning 

Achievements of C-DAC

  • C-DAC made the first Supercomputers in India with gigaflop capabilities (Param 8000, Param 10000, Param Ananth etc.). 
  • C-DAC has made National Knowledge Network (NKN) in which Academic Centres, R&D labs, Educational Institutes etc. are connected with the grid so that they can use supercomputing facilities.
  • C-DAC has played important role in developing Simulation Modelling for weather, defence and other sectors. 
  • C-DAC developed Indian Language Computing. Examples include e-Shiksha and Megh Shikshak. 
  • Health Informatics: For managing the diseases in the country through the use of ICT, C-DAC has developed systems like E-Shushruta Program for Cancer Patients. 
  • Internal Security: C-DAC is working in the following areas for strengthening the Internal Security of India:-
    1. Cyber Forensics to analyse cellphone data, hard drives etc.
    2. Encryptology i.e. Method to encrypt information so that only authorized parties can access it.
  • Bioinformatics: CDAC has made a supercomputing system called Param Bio-Blaze which helps to capture the movement of molecules and interaction between two molecules. 

TRAI

  • TRAI = Telecom Regulatory Authority of India 
  • It is the statutory body constituted under the provisions of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Act, 1997.
  • Functions of TRAI
    1. Regulation of telecom services and tariffs.
    1. Look into various complaints and acts as a quasi-judicial body.
    2. Licensing a new company and looking into the sale of spectrum.
    3. Regulate DTH services.
    4. Ensuring Net Neutrality in India.

TDSAT

  • TDSAT = Telecom Dispute Settlement Appellate Tribunal
  • It was established in 2000.
  • Membership = Chairman and 2 Members
  • If a person/company is not satisfied with the decision of TRAI, he/she can approach TDSAT.

NASSCOM

  • NASSCOM = National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM)
  • NASSCOM is a trade organisation of the Indian IT and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry. 
  • It was set up in 1988, as a non-profit organisation and registered under the Indian Societies Act, 1860.

Telecommunication Companies

Indian Telecommunication sector can be divided into public and private companies.

Telecom Companies

PSUs

MTNL

  • MTNL = Metropolitan Telephone Nigam Limited.
  • MTNL was set up in 1986.
  • Objectives of MTNL 
    1. Expand quality telecom network.
    2. Raise revenue for developing telecommunication facilities in India’s key metros i.e. Delhi and Mumbai.

BSNL

  • BSNL = Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited
  • It was set up in 2000 in the whole of India except Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Rural areas as well as broadband connectivity was its thrust areas. 

Private Players

The main players in the private sector are

  1. Jio
  2. Airtel
  3. Vi (Idea and Vodafone)

Controversy: Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR)

  • As part of the LPG reforms of the 1990s, private telecom companies were allowed to operate in IndiaTo start operation, companies have to obtain the license and pay annual fees in the proportion to their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).  
Issue: How to calculate AGR?
  • There was an issue regarding the method to calculate the AGR and the matter went to Supreme Court. Companies wanted that only their income from the subscriber base should be counted as their AGR while the government wanted to include income from the subscriber base as well as income from other sources as well (like rent from properties etc.). Supreme Court ordered in favour of the government and ordered telecom companies to pay the AGR dues to the Government of India. Eg: Bharti Airtel has been ordered to pay AGR dues of ₹36,000 crores and Vodafone-Idea will have to pay ₹58,000 crores.

# Various Schemes

1. Digital India Mission

  • Digital India Mission is implemented by MEITY (Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology)
  • It has 9 components.
Digital India Mission

1. Broadband Highway

  • To take fast internet to all rural and urban areas using National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) and many other projects.

2. Public Internet Access points

  • Public internet access points are needed to access the internet.
  • For this following things would be created
    1. CSC (Common Service Center)
    1. 1.5 Lakh Post offices 
    2. Public Wi-Fi to be provided via Smart city projects, Amrut, Prasad, Hriday etc.
    3. Railway stations will have wi-fi.

3. Universal Mobile

  • Since by any way, one cant use wi-fi at all places. For those not covered via wi-fi, internet services on their mobiles can be provided. 
  • This will be funded by  Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).

4. E-Governance

E-Governance will be promoted via systems like

  1. Automatic Workflow in office.  
  2. Public grievances redressal via ONLINE TICKET SYSTEM.
  3. Digital Locker to save all certificates ranging from school certificate to Voter ID card.

5. E -Kranti Module

The government will develop more infrastructure, apps, websites and portals to improve efficiency and reduce corruption. These include

E-Education Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs)
Free Wi-Fi in the schools.
E-Healthcare Online Medical Records
Telemedicine
E-Justice E-Courts
Prosecution Database
Financial Inclusion e-Banking
UPI and BHIM
Security CERT-In
CERT-Fin

6. Info to all

There will be two-way communication between citizens & the government. The government will do this via

  • Social networking sites like Twitter
  • Mygov.in

7. Zero import

  • Import of IT appliances will be reduced to zero.

8. IT Jobs

  • MEITY will train a 1 crore IT-ready workforce in RURBAN areas. 
  • The government will promote BPOs in the North East because of the proficiency of North-Easterners in English. 
  • The government will give large benefits to mobile manufacturers to set up their manufacturing units in India. Eg: World’s largest Mobile factory has been set up in Noida by Samsung (in 2018). 

9. Early harvest programs

There were some programmes on which work was already going on. They will be completed rapidly. These include

  • Secure email service for all employees.
  • Standardised government email/file design /template to decrease time.
  • E-greeting through mygov.in
  • Biometric attendance in public offices.

Side Topic: Common Service Centres

Common Service Centres
  • It is part of the Digital India Mission.
  • CSCs are hi-tech kiosks having broadband connectivity. Through CSCs, even a poor person who doesn’t own a computer can have access to digital services provided at CSC. 
  • Common Service Centres have been opened in all gram panchayats.  
  • Each CSC will employ a minimum of 4 persons directly or indirectly, thus creating jobs in India.
  • In 2020, CSC started a program named ‘Gramin e-store’ under which rural entrepreneurs can sell their product online using the infrastructure of CSCs.

Side Topic: Pradhan Mantri Grameen Digital Saksharta Abhiyaan (PMGDISHA)  

  • PMGDISHA was started in 2017 under Digital India Mission.
  • PMGDISHA aims to increase digital literacy in rural areas as only 6% of rural households have a computer. Hence, a large number of households in rural India are digitally illiterate.   
  • Aim: Make 6 crore rural households digitally literate.  

Criticism of Digital India Mission

  • NIC /MEITY is not equipped with the manpower to deliver public internet & e-governance on such a large scale. 
  • Giving internet connection to people is not end in itself. People should also have a mobile, tab or PC to access it.  
  • India has one of the lowest spectrum per million customers in the world. This should be improved.

Human Resource Issues                                        

  • NIC is not equipped for a fraction of this task. It needs a serious revamping.
  • MEITY needs more program managers – at least 4 times more officers at the senior levels.

Coordination Issues 

  • The program covers many other departments. Hence, there is a need for commitment and effort.

How to overcome the challenges?

  • Bharat Net Program should be executed in mission mode.
  • Availability of spectrum should be looked into.
  • Private telecom operators should take a proactive role in the expansion of services in rural areas. 
  • E-literacy among senior citizens in rural areas should be taken up. In this, Internet Saathi by Tata Trust & Google can serve as an example. 
  • The cost of smartphones should be brought down. 
  • A viable PPP Model to execute the projects at a faster pace should be devised. 
  • Overall mindset of people should be changed.

2. Bharat Net Project

  • It was earlier known as National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN).
  • It was started in 2011 by the Ministry of Communication.
  • Aim:
    1. Providing broadband connectivity to over 2 lakh gram panchayats (GPs) with a minimum of 100 Mbps bandwidth given to each Gram Panchayat.
    2. Enable the Centre to provide e-services and e-applications nationally.
  • Present StatusFirst Phase has been completed (i.e. 1 Lakh Gram Panchayats have been connected with Optical Fibre Network) & the Memorandum of Understanding for the Second Phase is under consideration.
  • Implementing Agency: Bharat Broadband Network Ltd. ( special purpose vehicle created under the Companies Act of 1956 ) under telecom ministry with BSNL, Railtel & Power Grid Corporation as main executing Agency.
  • Idukki district of Kerala was the first district to connect all its Gram Panchayats with NOFN.
  • The project is funded by  Universal Service Obligation Fund and ₹20,000 crores will be spent on it.

Other models at work in different states

  • States such as Andhra Pradesh took up the work of laying the optical fibre cable network with the Centre paying earmarked fund to Andhra Pradesh to speed the project.
  • Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have also come up with a similar proposal for the implementation of the NOFN/Bharat Net project.

Side Topic: Optical Fibre

  • Optical fibres are long and thin strands of very pure glass about the diameter of a human hair that works on the principle of Total Internal Reflection. 
  • Using Optical Fibres, signals can be sent from one place to another without any loss. 
  • Indian Government is connecting all villages through Optical Fibres under Bharat Net Project to provide broadband services.
  • Optical Fibres are also used by doctors in endoscopy. 
Optical Fibre

Narinder Singh Kapany

  • He invented optical fibre and coined the term ‘fibre optics’. He is known as the ‘father of fibre optics’ for his contribution.
  • He was a great inventor and has more than 100 patents in his name.
  • The scientific community feels that he deserved a Noble Prize but Royal Swedish Academy failed to appreciate his work. 
  • Timelines
1948 Graduated from Agra University.
1955 Completed PhD from Imperial College (London).
1961 Company named ‘Optics Technology’ was started by him in Silicon Valley.
1999 Fortune named him as  ‘Unsung Heroes’ of Science.
2020 Died in the USA.

3. PM-WANI Scheme

  • PM WANI = Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface
  • The scheme has been started by the Ministry of Communication in 2020.
  • Aim: To provide public Wi-Fi Service to all by opening public data offices (PDOs).

How will it work?

PM-WANI
  • PDO will deliver broadband services to the customers by starting Wi-Fi Access points using the internet taken from Internet Service Providers such as Jio, Airtel, Vi etc.
  • The customer who wants to access the internet can do so after making payment for the usage of data and eKYC authorisation.

Benefits

  • It will create employment in India.
  • It will enhance the disposable income of small and medium entrepreneurs in India.
  • It will help in making broadband accessible to millions of users.
  • It will help in making India a digital economy.

Criticism

  • It will be difficult to ensure the safety of data.
  • Wi-Fi has lost its relevance in India due to very cheap mobile data rates.

4. Digital India Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge 

  • In 2020, MEITY and Niti Aayog (under  Atal Innovation Mission) has launched Digital India Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Innovate Challenge to identify the best Indian Apps that are already being used by citizens and have the potential to scale and become world-class in their respective categories.
  • Top-three under each of the categories will get Rs 20 lakh, Rs 15 lakh, and Rs 10 lakh for first, second, and third positions
  • It has 8 broad categories:
Office Productivity & Work from Home Zoho Workplace & Cliq and SureMDM
Entertainment CaptionPlus, Meme Chat and FTC Talent
News Logically and IsEqualTo  
Games Hitwicket Superstars, ScarFall: The Royale Combat and World Cricket Championship 2
E-learning Disprz, Kutuki Kids Learning App, and Hello English: Learn English
Business Zoho Invoice, Books & Expense , Mall91 and GimBooks
Social Networking Chingari, YourQuote and Koo
Others MapmyIndia Move, AskSarkar, and myitreturn
  • Apart from that, government agencies like NIC too are preparing indigenous apps like
Sandesh App Messenger app (similar to Whatsapp) made by NIC.
Government Instant Messaging System (GIMS) Messenger app for central and state govt organizations for Intra and inter-organization communication.

5. Bharat QR

  • Bharat QR code has been developed jointly by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), Visa, MasterCard and American Express under instructions from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 
  • Note: QR is a two-dimensional machine-readable matrix. QR Code can store up to 7089 digits as compared to conventional bar codes which can store a maximum of 20 digits.

Advantages

  • It eliminates the need for using card swiping machines for digital payments. There is no need to have Swiping Machines in Shops. Just have QR printed & payments can be easily done via that. 
  • Interoperability: Using the BharatQR code, the merchants will be required to display only one QR code instead of multiple ones. 
  • For the buyer, there is no need to carry a Card. Payment can be done via Mobile. 
Bharat QR

6. #OpenGovDataHack / Hackathon

  • #OpenGovDataHack is an on-site 24Hrs Challenge organised by Government. 
  • Till now, it has been conducted in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
  • Participating teams are required to submit the app prototype and infographics by using Open Government Data. Out of these, selected apps are taken up for further development and the winner is being awarded. 

7. Internet Saathi

  • It is a joint venture of Google India and Tata
  • Aim: Increasing digital literacy among women in rural India.
  • The program trains the Saathi’s in villages that in turn educate other women from their village in the use of the internet.
  • It has reached up to 2.6 lakh villages in 18 states. In 2019, it was expanded to Punjab and Odisha as well.


#Various Policies

Telecom Policies

National Telecom Policy, 2012

To develop the telecom sector in India, the Government of India made Telecom Policy in 2012 having following features:-

  1. Provide secure, affordable and high-quality telecom services to citizens.
  2. Implementation of One Nation, One License Policy.
  3. Implement provision of Mobile Number Portability. 
  4. Develop broadband infrastructure in the country.
  5. Achieve 70% telecom density in rural areas by 2017 & 100% by 2020.
  6. Develop IPV – 6 till 2020. 

All these have been implemented.


National Telecom Policy, 2018

Given the changing needs and world stepping into the age of modern technological innovations in the Telecom Sector such as 5G, IoT etc., the Government released Telecom Policy in 2018 with the following provisions:-

  • Providing broadband facility to all (512 kbps).
  • Attract investment of $100 billion in the Indian Telecom Sector.
  • Creating at least 40 lakh jobs in the digital sector.
  • Increase the contribution of the digital sector to 8% of GDP. 
  • Strengthening Digital Connectivity through the following:-
    • Using Bharatnet
    • Connecting rural panchayats with 10 Gbps internet broadband.
    • Nagar Net to provide 10 lakh public Wi-Fi’s.
    • Jan Wi-Fi to provide 20 lakh WI-FIs in villages.
  • Securing Big Data in India.
  • Safeguarding ‘Digital Sovereignty’ of India.
  • Ensuring complete data protection, individual privacy, autonomy and choice.
  • Giving support to Net Neutrality. 
  • Creating a roadmap for transition to Industry 4.0 by 2020.
  • Recognizing Spectrum as a key natural resource. 

National Electronic Policy, 2019

  • To make India a global hub for Electronics Manufacturing and R&D, the National Electronic Policy was made in 2019.
  • Targets for 2025 under the National Electronic Policy of 2019 are
    • Achieve turnover of $400 billion. 
    • Produce 100 crore units of mobile handsets & export 60 crores units out of that. 
    • Create 1 crore jobs. 
  • The government will do the following:-
    • Tax benefit, subsidies and other incentives for R&D.
    • Focus on training and skill development.
    • Sovereign Patent Fund: Government will buy patents from innovators and corporate companies and allow MSME industries to use those Intellectual Property Rights for electronics manufacturing, without paying large royalties to the original patent holder.
    • The government will set up 15 new laboratories under PPP Model for testing hardware and software before their launch in the market. 
    • The government will allow 100% FDI via automatic route in data processing, software development, consultancy services and business market research services.


National Software Policy, 2018

To make India a ‘Software Product Nation‘ and create 65 lakh jobs by 2025, the Government of India formulated National Software Policy in 2018 with the following terms:-

  • It aims to establish an Indian Software products Industry worth $70-80 billion which will, directly and indirectly, employ 3.5 million by 2025.
  • Creating an Indian Software Ecosystem by creating an Indian Software Product Registry. 
  • Creating incubation centres
  • Creating Software Product Development Fund (SPDF).
  • Promoting Software Startups through Hackathons (at least 10,000 Startups especially in Tier-2 and 3 cities).
  • Overcoming Language Barriers.

Mobile Number Portability (MNP)

  • This facility allows the subscribers to retain their existing telephone numbers even after switching their service provider or from one technology to another of the same service provider.


Interconnection Usage Charge (IUC)

  • IUC is the charge that one telecom operator (originating network) pays to other (receiving network) for carrying through or even terminating a call. 
  • It is decided by TRAI. In September 2017, TRAI has reduced it from the existing 14 paise per minute to 6 paise per minute. It has been scrapped on 1st Jan 2021.
  • IUC was seen as a great entry barrier and restrict the competition in the telecom sector as the new operator will have to pay a large amount as IUC as most of its limited user-base will make calls to the users of existing telecom operators.
  • The move to scrap IUC altogether is going to benefit Jio which had a higher proportion of outgoing calls to other wireless operators since its launch a few years ago, thus having to pay significant net interconnection charges.

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

This article deals with ‘ Net Neutrality.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is an important pillar of the GS-3 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.


Net Neutrality was in the news because

  • Federal Communication Commission of USA decided to END Net Neutrality. 
  • TRAI upheld net neutrality in India. 
  • Countries like Chile have made laws to protect Net Neutrality.
  • Internet.org / Free Basics of Facebook was in the news. 


Concept of Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality is derived from how telephone lines have worked since the inception. In the case of telephone, whether a person is calling a government office or restaurant or school or drug seller, the Operator cant deliberately delays the call or block the access, unless forced by the law.  

View it using another example. Internet acts as a road for websites and apps to reach their customers. Presently, there is the same road for all websites whether it is giant like Facebook or any other site. But in case of its absence, giants like Facebook, Youtube etc can pay ISPs to reserve the fastest lane of the road for them so that they can reach their customers at a higher speed.

Net Neutrality

In the 1990s, when the internet started to gain popularity, no rules were specifying that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have to follow these rules but since Telecom Operators were ISPs they extended this principle to Internet Services as well. This came to be known as Net Neutrality.

Hence, ISP can not control the traffic that passes its servers. When a web user connects to a website or any web service, he or she should get the same speed. The data rate for Youtube videos and civilspedia.com should be theoretically the same. 

In simple language, every packet of data should be charged & considered the same whether it is used for any purpose & the user can be charged only for the volume of data packets.

For a system to be Net Neutral, it should satisfy three conditions –  

  1. For every type of surfing, there should be the same speed. 
  2. To use a specific site or application there should be no separate charges. 
  3. Access to any site or application should not be given free of cost. 

Side Topic: Internet Fast Lanes

  • Internet fast lanes will enable Internet providers to make deals with certain companies to give preferred access to their services, thereby hampering the principle of equality.
  • This practice could potentially restrict the growth of Startups and strengthen illegal monopolies. 


How Net Neutrality Shapes the Internet ?

  • Level Playing Field: Net Neutrality has created a level playing field for all players irrespective of their size and money power on the internet. To start a website or any web service, a person doesn’t need a lot of capital (the idea is more important).  If the service is good, it will automatically attract users.
  • Net Neutrality is the main reason why companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc. have been able to challenge earlier web giants like Oracle, IBM etc. despite their modest resources in the beginning.  


If there is no net neutrality  then??

There are a large number of implications:-

  • ISPs will have the power and inclination to shape internet traffic. They can give free access or fast access to certain websites to give them extra leverage. 
  • It can end in the monopoly of old giants.  
  • It will also spell doom for innovation on the web. This will create an unlevel playing field for start-ups and small players in the business.
  • The right to receive information from diverse media resources is included in Right to Freedom of Speech (Supreme Court in Indian Express Newspapers vs Union of India (1985)).

Arguments against net neutrality in India 

  • Government auctions only limited amounts of spectrum and create artificial scarcity forcing companies to pay huge amounts to acquire spectrum. Hence, Companies are right to charge differently for the usage of different bandwidths.
  • To increase investment in Broadband infrastructure, Net Neutrality regulations need to be relaxed so that ISPs can charge companies like Netflix (This argument was given by the Federal Communication Commission of the US).
  • These services are hardly used by India’s poor and end up slowing down access to the basic services that less economically privileged citizens need more. 
  • Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web did not patent it so the world could benefit.


AK Bhargava Committee Recommendations (2017)

  • The committee accepted the principle of Net Neutrality. 
  • But opined that there is not a single standard definition of Net Neutrality. 
  • We need a proper regulatory mechanism wrt Net Neutrality in India and for that TRAI should take appropriate steps. 


TRAI Guidelines

  • It upheld Net Neutrality.  
  • TRAI also felt the need for a watchdog for enforcing Net Neutrality.