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Aircrafts and Military Exercise for UPSC Exam

Apache Helicopter

  • Eight US made Apache AH-64E stealth attack helicopters, has been inducted into IAF.
  • The IAF has signed a contract with ‘The Boeing’ and the US government for 22 Apache attack helicopters.
  • Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.
  • It’s modern capabilities includes, fire-and-forget, anti-tank missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and other ammunition.
  • Apaches has their ability to operate at much higher altitudes, unlike the aging Russian Mi-24/Mi-35 attack helicopters.
  • It also has modern electronic warfare capabilities to provide versatility in network-centric aerial warfare.
Apache Helicopter UPSC by Legacy IAS Academy
  • It is day/night, all weather capable, and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.
  • These are easily maintainable even in field conditions, and are capable of prolonged operations in tropical and desert regions.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas

  • LCA Tejas is a single-engine multirole light combat aircraft.
  • It replaced the aging Mig 21 fighter planes.
  • It is the second supersonic fighter jet that was developed by HAL (the first one being HAL HF-24 Marut).
  • Bodies involved: Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO is the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer
  • It is the lightest and smallest multirole supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
  • It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8. 
  • It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided and standoff weaponry.
  • It is a single pilot aircraft that has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,300 kg. 
  • It has a general range of 850 km and a combat range of 500 km.

MiG-21 Fighter Jets

  • MiG is a product of Soviet Union which entered in to the service in 1959.
  • India inducted the MiG-21 in 1963 and got full technology transfer and rights to license-build the aircraft in the country.
  • It is the first supersonic fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
  • Russia stopped producing the aircraft in 1985, while India continued operating the upgraded variants.
  • In the upcoming India-Russia Bilateral summit, India is likely to gift 3 MiG fighter jets to Russia.
  • MiG-21 fighter jets will be phased out of service by 2021-22.
  • Tejas, an indigeneous fighter aircraft will replace the ageing MiG-21.

Dhanush Regiment

  • It is an indigenously developed gun and upgraded version of the Swedish Bofors gun procured by India.
  • It is a 155 mm ammunition system with a range of 36 km.
  • It is compatible with all North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) 155mm ammunition systems.
  • It is fitted with an inertial navigation system having GPS based gun recording, an automated gun sighting system equipped with camera, thermal imaging, and laser range finder.
  • The Indian Army, will have the first regiment in place by March 2020 and will get all 114 guns by 2022.
  • Last year, the Army inducted its first modern artillery guns system which include M-777 Ultra Light Howitzers (ULH) from the U.S. and K9 Vajra-T self-propelled artillery guns from South Korea.

Sukhoi Su-30MKI

  • The first indigenously overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI supersonic aircraft was recently handed over to the Indian Air Force.
  • During the overhaul, the aircraft was stripped completely and rebuilt from scratch, replacing certain worn out parts/components.
  • The aircraft was overhauled in country’s only fighter aircraft repair depot “Ojhar” in Maharashtra.
  • Sukhoi Aircraft was developed by Russia. The license for building it was given to Indian Air Force in the past 2 decades.
  • It is twin-finned, twin-jet multi-role aircraft capable of attaining speeds of Mach 2 at high altitudes.
  • It can carry guns, missiles, bombs, rockets and other weaponry.

Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft

  • It is India’s next indigenous fighter and expected to make its first flight by 2032.
  • It is built under India’s only fifth generation aircraft programme.
  • The aircraft will feature geometric stealth which is different from material stealth feature.
  • In material stealth, radar-absorbing materials are used to absorb the radio waves thus reducing the radar footprint.
  • Whereas, in geometric stealth, the aircraft is designed at such angles to deflect away maximum radar waves to minimise radar cross section.
  • Thus, the fighter will have low radar cross section, making it difficult for the enemy to spot it.

Kamov Ka-226T

  • Russia plans to deliver 10 Kamov Ka-226T military helicopters to India in a first tranche as part of a $1-billion deal, signed in Indo-Russia Summit in Moscow, 2015.
  • The Kamov 226T is a light weight, twin-engine multi-role chopper offers services for both military and civilian purposes.
  • It will replace India’s ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak.
  • The military version is capable of working in extreme and difficult weather conditions such as hot climate, marine areas and high mountains.
  • The helicopter has a maximum speed of 250 km/hour and maximum takeoff weight is 3,600 kg.

Project NETRA

ISRO has initiated ‘Project NETRA’ – an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites. 

What is Project NETRA (Network for space object Tracking and Analysis)?

  • Under the project, the ISRO plans to put up many observational facilities: connected radars, telescopes; data processing units and a control centre.
  • They can, among others, spot, track and catalogue objects as small as 10 cm, up to a range of 3,400 km and equal to a space orbit of around 2,000 km.

Significance of the project:

  1. The project will give India its own capability in space situational awareness (SSA) like the other space powers — which is used to ‘predict’ threats from debris to Indian satellites.
  2. NETRA’s eventual goal is to capture the GEO, or geostationary orbit, scene at 36,000 km where communication satellites operate.
  3. The effort would make India a part of international efforts towards tracking, warning about and mitigating space debris.


  • Netra is the first indigenously built Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) developed by DRDO.
  • It is light-weight autonomous UAV for long range surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
  • This radar system is mounted on Embraer aircraft which gives 240-degree coverage of airspace.
  • It helps to detect and track aircraft, missiles, ships and vehicles.
  • The other countries which have developed AEW&C are United States, Russia and Israel.
  • For the first time, an IL-78 refueller aircraft has recently carried out air-to-air refuelling of the Embraer aircraft.
  • Air-to-air refuelling allows the aircraft to stay airborne much beyond their limits, allowing better exploitation of capabilities.

IL-78 Refueller Aircraft

  • It is a multi-purpose four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Russia.
  • The IAF is one of the few air forces in the world to operate mid-air refuellers. It now operates six Russian IL-78 refuellers.
  • The name of the air-to-air refuelling method is ‘Probe and Drogue’.

Swathi Weapon Locating radar

  • Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) bags $40mn defence deal from Armenia for supplying four Swathi Weapon Locating Radars (WLR)
  • Swathi WLR was indigenously developed by DRDO and manufactured by BEL.
  • It is an electronically scanned phased array radar 
  • It automatically locates hostile artillery, mortars and rocket launchers and tracks friendly fire to locate the impact point of friendly artillery fire to issue necessary corrections.
  • The radar is designed to detect projectiles with small cross section across the battle space horizon, and has the capability to handle simultaneous fire from weapons deployed at multiple locations.
  • The radar uses advanced signal processing techniques for detection and tracking projectiles in the presence of ground, weather clutter and other forms of interference in Electronic Warfare scenario.

Sagar Maitri Mission-2

  • It is a unique initiative of DRDO which aligns with the objective of  “Safety And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)”.
  • Marine & Allied Interdisciplinary Training and Research Initiative (MAITRI) is the specific scientific component of DRDO.
  • It is to promote greater scientific interaction especially in ocean research among ‘Indian Ocean Rim’ (IOR) countries.
  • INS Sagardhwani, will embarks on a two-month long mission.
  • The mission commemorates the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of India’s lone research ship INS Kistna’s mission.
  • INS Sagardhwani will revisit the selected tracks of INS Kistna.
  • The prime objectives of the mission are,
  1. data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean,
  2. focussing on the the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and
  3. establishing long-term collaboration with IOR countries in the field of ocean research and development.
  • It will promote closer co-operation in socio-economic aspects with IOR countries.
  • The IOR countries, includes Oman, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Bhabha Kavach

  • It is the India’s lightest and cheapest ‘bullet-proof jacket’ for the CRPF and the Ministry of Home Affairs personnel.
  • It is indigenously developed by the Ordnance Factories Board, a public sector undertaking MIDHANI along with BARC.
  • It is named after nuclear physicist Dr. Homi J. Bhabha.
  • The jacket weighs just 6.6 kg in comparison to the 17-kg jackets in use.
  • It can shield from AK-47 (7.62 mm hard steel bullets), SLR and INSAS (5.56 mm) weaponry.
  • It is made using extremely hard boron carbide ceramics, carbon nano-tubes and composite polymer.
  • BARC has transferred the technology to Mishra Dhatu Nigam, Hyderabad, for its large-scale production.

Digital Sky Platform

  • Digital Sky Platform, as part of Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR), for registration of drones, pilots, and operators for online permission was recently launched.
  • Nano drones in India can start flying legally from now. 
  • For micro and above categories, operators and pilots are required to register on the Digital Sky Portal.

Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR):

  • In August 2018, Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) was announced by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to enable safe flying of RPAS in India.
  • The CAR detailed the obligations of operators, remote pilots/users and manufacturers for safe operations of RPAS and co-operative use of airspace.
  • CAR is for Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly referred to as drones.
  • As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large.
  • As of now, RPAS was allowed to operate within visual line of sight (VLoS), during day time only, and upto maximum400 ft. altitude.

Digital Sky Platform:

  • The platform has begun accepting registrations of users.
  • Payments for Unmanned Aerial Operator’s Permit (UAOP) and Unique Identification Numbers (UIN) will be accepted through the Bharat Kosh ( portal. 
  • It is envisioned that in the future Digital Sky Service Providers (DSPs) will be extending the functionality of the platform through Application Program Interfaces (APIs). 


  • The K9 VAJRA-T 155mm/ 52 is a tracked self-propelled howitzer (a short gun for firing shells on high trajectories at low velocities), which has its roots in the K9 Thunder, the mainstay of the South Korean Army.
  • It offers a high rate of fire at long-range and is compatible with Indian and standard North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) ammunition.
  • The K9 Thunder platform is made of all-welded steel armour protection material.
  • The K9 gun has been developed under the ‘Buy Global’ programme of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) where foreign companies are allowed to participate.
  • In this case, Hanwha Techwin of South Korea is the technology partner of L&T.
  • The first 10 K9 Vajra guns have been imported from South Korea and assembled by L&T in India. The balance 90 guns will be largely manufactured in the country.
  • L&T Defence is currently executing the ‘K9 VAJRA-T’ Tracked, Self-Propelled Howitzer Guns program – the contract awarded to the company by the Ministry of Defence through global competitive bidding.

Related Articles:

Indian Missile Systems for UPSC
Indian Submarines and Naval Ships for UPSC Exam
Space Technology and Telescopes for UPSC Exam
NASA-Global Space Missions for UPSC Exam
Indian Space Missions for UPSC Exam

March 2024