HEADLINES:
Possible sale of Boeing C-17 aircraft to India approved – Pentagon। President Trump tweets: Look forward to welcoming to India’s PM Modi to White House on Monday. Important strategic issues to discuss with a true friend! । Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for three-nation tour to Portugal, US and the Netherlands June 24 । India, Portugal sign MoUs in areas of Space, and Collaborative Research । Agreements signed during PM Modi’s first leg visit of the three-nation tour । US clears sale of 22 General Atomics Sea Guardian drones for Indian Navy । Deal likely to be announced during PM Modi’s visit to Washington June 26 । These unmanned, or Remotely Piloted, Aircraft will be used for ISR Missions in Indian Ocean । The G-to-G deal, under the US FMS program, should be around $2 Billion । India launches Cartosat-2 along with 30 other satellites June 23 । PSLV-C38, the 40th flight of PSLV, carrying 31 satellites took off from first launch pad of SDSC Sriharikota । President Mukherjee, PM Modi and the Defence Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the successful launch । Lockheed Martin, Tata announce F16 India Partnership । Partnership aims to produce F16 Block 70 in India if selected by IAF । GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) orders 100 A320neo aircraft । Paris Air Show 2017 opens at Le Bourget, France June 19 । Chairman COSC and CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba on a visit to Isreal। India, Pakistan become full member of SCO। India’s entry into SCO was backed by Russia, and Pakistan’s membership by China। PM Modi calls on Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of SCO। He also thanked the Chinese President for supporting India’s entry into SCO। Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchange greetings with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in the Leader’s Lounge before the SCO concert in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan। It was the first time the two had met in nearly a year, during which period bilateral relations have deteriorated। PM Modi greeted his Pakistani counterpart and asked about PM Sharif’s health and about the health of his mother । Prime Minister Narendra Modi departs for 2-day visit to Astana, Kazakhstan to attend SCO Summit । India to be admitted as full member of SCO during the Summit । India signed Paris climate pact for its commitment towards protecting the environment, says EAM Sushma Swaraj । The EAM said this during MEA’s annual conference in New Delhi June 5 । It did not sign the pact of any greed or fear from any country: EAM । Ms Swaraj was rebutting US President Trump’s allegation saying India signed the deal to receive billions of foreign aid । India successfully launches communication satellite GSAT 19 June 5 । The heaviest ever rocket GSLV Mk III carrying GSAT 19 lifted off from SDSC (SHAR) Sriharikota । Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE cut diplomatic ties to Qatar । The 4 Gulf nations took the step following Qatar’s relations with Iran and support of Islamist groups। They also cut off its land, sea and air routes to the outside world । Libya, Yemen also joined the four Arab nations in snapping ties with Qatar । India, Russia sign pact for two nuclear power units at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu । INS Kalvari, the Indian Navy’s first Scorpene class submarine, will be battle ready from Day One, French collaborator DCNS announced June 1 । Kalvari, meaning shark, will be commissioned in July । Kalvari is the first of the six modern submarines ordered by the Indian Navy । Indian Navy is looking at 200 ships and 400 aircraft, all with hitech systems । Vice Adm Karambir Singh also told a seminar on Future Indian Navy that poor quality systems are not acceptable । Indian shipyards are building 40 ships at present । PM Modi reaches St. Petersburg in the 3rd leg of his 4-nation visit । He is to participate in 18th India Russia Annual Summit and SPIEF 2017 । India, Spain sign 7 agreements including one each on Cyber Security and Civil Aviation । Naval Chief Adm Sunil Lanba calls for cutting edge technologies with a Made in India stamp । Addressing a seminar on Building India’s Future Navy, he said ToT from foreign vendors would be say now with Strategic Partnership model । Adm Lanba said selection process for shipboard fighter is moving at desired pace and they should be inducted in about 5 years । About 80 killed, several injured in a bomb blast near Indian embassy in Kabul । Indian embassy staff were safe: MEA । PM reached Madrid on the second leg of his tour for a day- long visit to Spain May 31 । India, Germany sign 11 MoUs including one on Cyber Security । MoUs signed during Prime Minister Modi’s 2-day Germany visit on May 29-30 । We are made for each-other, says PM Modi on India-Germany ties । The Prime Minister is on 4-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France from May 29-June 3 । India’s distinguished police officer, Mr KPS Gill passed away at 82 । Hassan Rouhani re-elected Iranian President । Prime Minister Modi congratulated him on his re-election । India, Palestine sign 5 MoUs including one on visa exemption for diplomatic passport holder । Agreements were signed after Prime Minister Modi’s meeting with President Abbas May 16 । Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas is on 4-day State visit to India beginning May 14 । Abbas is visiting India on the invitation of President Pranab Mukherjee । This is the fifth visit and the third State visit of President Abbas to India । Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Colombo May 11 on his two-day visit to Sri Lanka । He was received by his Sri Lankan counterpart Ranil Wickramsinghe on his arrival at the Colombo airport । PM Modi is the chief guest at the International Vesak Day celebrations of Sri Lanka । India marks 19th National Technology Day । National Technology Day is marked to commemorate the anniversary of Pokhran nuclear tests of 1998 । On this day, Prime Minister Modi hails the then PM Vajpayee’s courage to conduct the nuclear tests । India launches GSAT-9 satetllite from Sriharikota । India to make Israeli rifles and small arms । Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) collaborating in the venture । Trump to visit Israel and Saudi Arabia this month । This will be his first foreign visit as US President । India, Turkey signed three agreements including one between the Foreign Services Institute of India and the Diplomacy Academy of Turkey । Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on President Mukherjee, Vice President Ansari, PM Modi and EAM Sushma Swaraj during his State visit to India । The Turkish President, visiting from April 30-May 1, backs India in fight against terrorism । Turkey conveyed its support for India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) । PM Modi expressed his gratitude on Turkey’s support । Indian Army celebrates 79th Armour Day । On 1 May 1938, Scinde Horse cavalry regiment was equipped with Vickers tanks and Chevrolet armoire cars । The Indian Army’s Armourerd Corps has played decisive role against Pakistani intruders in 1947, 1965 and 1971। India, Cyprus sign 4 agreements including one on Air Service Agreement । Agreements signed during Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades’s visit to India April 28 । Cyprus President called on President Mukherjee, Prime Minister Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi । The visiting President and PM Modi agreed on urgent need for all countries to decisively act against the states supporting factories of terrorism । PM Modi also thanked the Cyprus President for his support to India’s claim of Permanent Membership in UNSC । North Korea test fires a ballistic missile which landed in the Sea of Japan । India, Sri Lanka ink pacts on economic cooperation and road infrastructure development । The agreements signed during Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to India । Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called on him । Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar accompanied Sushma Swaraj when the latter called on the visiting Sri Lankan PM । India-Russia defence engagement will continue to grow, says Defence Minister Arun Jaitley । He was speaking at the 6th Moscow Conference on International Security in Moscow । India, Russia are celebrating 70 years of Diplomatic Relationship । China launches its first indigenous aircraft carrier । The new carrier will accommodate 36 aircraft and will be commissioned in 2020 after sea trials । It’s a 50000 ton platform with a ski jump deck modeled on Soviet carriers but has many design innovations । India, South Korea Sign Inter-Governmental MoU for Defence Industry Co-Operation in Shipbuilding । The MoU signed by Secretary (Defence Production), India, Ashok Kumar Gupta and Minister of Defence Acquisition and Programme Administration (DAPA), South Korea, Chang Myoung-Jin । The Inter-Governmental MoU was conceived under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership’ between both countries । The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for signing the MoU । The CCS also gave a go ahead for nominating Hindustan Shipyard Ltd, Visakhapatnam for collaboration । Indian Navy successfully test-fires land attack version of Brahmos supersonic cruise missile । Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari calls on President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Home Minister and Defence Minister in New Delhi Apr 18 । Nepalese President is on a State visit to India April 17-21 । This is her first ever visit to India since taking over in 2015 । She was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on her arrival at Rashtrapati Bhawan । Canada’s Minister of National Defence, Harjit Singh Sajjan, called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley Tuesday । He was presented a Tri-Services Guard of Honour on his arrival at South Block । 12 killed in Saudi military helicopter in Yemen । Unconfined reports say the Blackhawk was accidentally shot down by a Saudi Patriot missile। US NSA Gen HR McMaster meets Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi । Gen McMaster also exchanged views on Indo-US relations with Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar । Happy Easter । US drops its biggest 21,000 pound bomb on ISIS in Afghanistan April 13 । Designated GBU 43, the Mother of All Bombs is designed to hit deep caves and tunnels in hardy mountains । GBU 43 is the biggest non-nuclear bomb, carried by the US Air Force (USAF) and the British Royal Air Force (RAF) । White House Press Secretyary Sean Spricer confirmed the night bombing but there was no immediate word from Taliban । Spicer said the ISIS terroists were targeted as they used the caves and tunnels to hit the US forces । GBU 43 is a concussion bomb carrying an explosive charge of 8,500 kg, equal to 11 tons of TNT । India, Australia sign 6 MoUs including on Combating Terrorism and Civil Aviation Security । Agreements signed during Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull’s Visit to India April 10 । He calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । This is the first ever visit of Turnbull after taking over as Australian PM in 2015 । The Australian PM along with his Indian counterpart took a Delhi metro ride to visit city-based Akshardham Temple । India, Bangladesh signed 22 agreements April 8 including key pacts on defence cooperation and civil nuclear cooperation । India announced an additional $4.5-billion concessional line of credit for infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, and another $500 million for Dhaka to procure defence equipment from New Delhi । A joint India-Bangladesh event saw both PMs honour the 1,661 Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the 1971 war for Bangladesh’s independence । Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrives in New Delhi for 4-day State visit to India । Prime Minister Modi himself goes to the airport to greet the Bangladesh PM on her arrival । External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj calls on Sheikh Hasina at Rashtrapati Bhawan । She is the special guest of President Pranab Mukherjee during her State visit to India । The Bangladesh PM has a full day of bilateral discussions with her Indian counterpart on Saturday (April 8) । 20 agreements are expected to be signed between India and Bangladesh । India, Malaysia sign 7 agreements । The agreements signed during Malaysian PM Najib Razak’s visit to India from March 30 to April 4 । Malaysian PM calls on President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Prime Minister Narendra Modi । India and Malaysia joint statement, issued after Modi, Razak meeting, calls for a deeper ties between the two nations ।
June 27, 2017
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ISRO’s inroads in Regional Navigation

Published: May 2016
 

Within next few months India would have in place its indigenous fully operational navigational system. On April 28, India has launched into orbit its seventh and final navigation satellite thus completing the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

Before this India had launched six regional navigational satellites (IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, ID, 1E and 1F) as part of a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has kept two satellites ready on ground to address difficulties, if any.

ISRO began its journey in the field of navigation with the launch of its first IRNSS-1A in July, 2013. ISRO was able to launch all seven satellites within a span of three years. The first six satellites have already been made operational, and ISRO’s ground stations are able to receiving signals and the process of collaboration is in progress.

India’s navigational system which for all these years was getting referred as IRNSS is now has an operational name called NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation, in vernacular the meaning of this word is Sailor or Navigator). This system is expected to offer two types of services: Standard Positioning Service (SPS) available to all the users, and Restricted Service (RS), an encrypted service provided to specific (read strategic) users. The entire system would have a lifetime of 10 years and it is expected that after a decade India would have a second generation system. The cost of entire project is expected to be less than Rs 1500 crore.

The success of recent launch speaks volumes about ISRO’s professionalism. The system is expected to have ground support from 15 ground stations across the country responsible for the generation and transmission of navigation parameters, satellite control, satellite ranging and monitoring, and other tasks. Presently, the Global Positioning System (GPS), a United States (US) constellation of more than 24 satellites is providing assistance to more than one billion civil users. This system mainly gets used for the purposes of rail, road, and air and sea navigation.

This system is available free of cost to all global users. For years, many nations have been using GPS, which offers real-time position, navigation, and timing (PNT) services. GPS is controlled by the US Air Force and has a global footprint; it remains the most popular global navigational system. The GPS signals are made freely available to users and its global importance is unlikely to diminish in spite of other options becoming available in near future. The US Air Force continues to upgrade this system with launching new spacecraft’s as per the requirements.

India is not the only country in the world apart from the US to develop its own navigational system. Today, EU and China are developing their own satellite based navigational systems, essentially for three reasons: one, to avoid over-dependence on the US; two, freely available GPS “products” are appropriate only for the civilian use and have very little utility for strategic purposes; and three, satellite navigation offers various commercial prospects.

Presently, apart from the GPS, three other global satellite navigational constellations are available as options either fully or partially. The Russian system called GLONASS is one of the oldest navigational systems and it was dormant/semi active for few years, particularly after the disintegration of the erstwhile USSR. However, the system is now fully operational.

The European Union’s system called Galileo was announced with a lot of hope and enthusiasm and the project officially began during 2003, but economic compulsions have delayed this project significantly. However, during last year or so the more than 10 satellites have been launched and it appears that the ESA is determined to make the system operational quickly.

China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system consists of two separate satellite constellations — a limited three satellite test system (operational since 2000). A new global navigation system known as Compass (BeiDou-2), a 35-satellite constellation, is being viewed as a system capable of challenging the supremacy of the GPS, and has both civilian and military utility.

It has been reported that its civilian service has a 10-metre location-tracking accuracy while the military service has a far better accuracy. Apart from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) the military service also facilitates Pakistan’s military establishment. China’s fourth-generation BeiDou navigation chips are capable of locating within an accuracy of 2.5 metres, higher than the international standard. The BeiDou navigation market is estimated to be around $3-5 billion and likely to grow further.

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is set to promote the BeiDou satellite navigation system for civilian use. A capital of around $160 million has already been invested, and is expected to increase tenfold. China’s proposed “Belt and Road” (B & R), a gigantic proposal linking China with Europe through Central and West Asian region via rail, road and waterways also has additional components, like the “Air Silk Road” and a “Space-based New Silk Road. “Naturally, their space based navigational systems has a major role to play in this regard.

Japan is also developing system which is somewhat similar to India, essentially a regional navigational system. This system is known as Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is under the process of development (it may be completed by 2017 or 2018) and would have four satellites while aiming at a final seven-satellite constellation in the future.

For India, NAVIC is important both for civilian usage as well as for tactical reasons. Indian armed forces are expected to benefit much from this system. ISRO claims the accuracy of the system to be less than 20 meters. This is greatly going to benefit all the three services both for the purposes of deploying platforms like tanks, aircrafts, UAVs and ships/submarines and also for accurate delivery of the weapons onto the targets.

In recent times, apart from launching of a dedicated satellite for the Indian Navy, followed by a satellite decided for strategic purposes, now ISRO is also found establishing a navigational system for the military. This indicates that now India has started using its space expertise for defence purposes too. Indian Prime Minister is also proposing that India’s neighbours should also use NAVIC for its various usages (civilian component of the signal). This shows that India is planning to use space technology as a part of its foreign policy initiative too.

Now, ISRO is proposing to undertake a launch of the indigenous version of the space shuttle. The purpose behind this proposed launch is to test the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology. Such vehicle would be of use for the purposes of launching satellites as well as for human space mission. The proposed RLV, is a very small model (say approximately one sixth of the actual) for testing re-entry (from space to the earth’s atmosphere) technology. It is expected that it would take more than a decade’s time for India to develop a fully operational RLV. All in all, India’s space programme has emerged as programme with social, scientific and strategic purpose.

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