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 । Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is free from jail after six year । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds additional charge of Defence, elected President of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA) । He succeeds Mr Manohar Parikkar who resigned to take over as Chief Minister of Goa recently। Hardeep Singh Puri appointed Chairman of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries । Mr Puri is former Indian Envoy to the UN in New York and Geneva । FBI investigating possible Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election, Director Comey confirms । He told House Intelligence Committee there is no evidence of President Obama ordering wiretap of Trump during the election campaign । President Trump has made several allegations against his predecessor, which the powerful heads of FBI and NSA have denied । Finance Minister Arun Jaitley assumes additional charge as Defence Minster । Jaitley replaces Manohar Parrikar who has moved to Goa to head the State’s Government as Chief Minster । BRAHMOS Extended Range (ER) missile successfully test-fired । Prime Minister greets CISF on its 48th Raising Day । INS Tillanchang Commissioned into Indian Navy । INS Tillanchang was commissioned by FOC-in-C Western Naval Command Vice Admiral Girish Luthra at Karwar । India Strategic salutes the humanity on this International Women’s Day । Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju dedicates first integrated heliport to the nation । Ms. DR Doley Barman appointed Director of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy, Hyderabad । 1992 batch IFS officer Gopal Baglay appointed MEA Spokesperson । He replaces Vikas Swarup, who has been appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada । Raytheon, Tata Advanced Systems to Co-produce Stinger Missile Components । Indian Navy Concludes First Contract under Buy and Make (Indian) Category । Contract signed between Nova Integrated Systems Ltd (NISL), a TASL subsidiary, and Indian Navy for procurement of Surface Surveillance Radars (SSRs) । NISL to indigenously manufacture these state-of-the-art radars in collaboration with Terma, Denmark । ISRO creates history; launches 104 satellites in one go । President, Vice President and Prime Minister congratulated ISRO and its scientists for the historic mission । Indian Navy to decommission aircraft carrier INS Viraat on March 6 । India to spend Rs 2,74,114 crore on Defence । Rs 85,737.31 crore will be spent on equipment acquisition । Russia formally enters IAF’s second round of MMRCA competition । Moscow offers a new MiG-35 variant under Make in India । Alexander M Kadakin, who served as the Russian Ambassador to India for over a dozen years, passed away after a brief illness in New Delhi on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled Kadakin’s death calling him a “great friend of India.” । India Strategic wishes everyone Happy Republic Day । President Pranab Mukherjee takes salute at the beautiful Republic Day Parade in New Delhi । UAE Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed is the Chief Guest at India’s R-Day celebrations । A highlight of the Parade is also the participation of a UAE armed forces contingent । Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti to pay tributes to martyrs । The impressive Parade began with a 21-gun salute to the President, the Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces । India’s anti-terror force, National Security Guard (NSG) made its debut in the Parade । Dressed in their patent black, NSG commandos jogged passed the saluting base with their faces covered । US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Narendra Modi late on January 24 । The telephone call is indicative of the vital nature of the India-US strategic partnership between the two countries । Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan arrives in New Delhi । Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, was received by PM Modi । Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed is the Chief Guest of Republic Day 2017 । Government extends Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar’s tenure by one year । The extension to be effective between Jan 29, 2017 and Jan 28, 2018 । Pravind Kumar Jugnauth takes over as Mauritius Prime Minister । Prime Minister Modi congratulated the newly-appointed Mauritian PM । Donald Trump takes over as US President । Promises transfer of power to people । Turkish Boeing 747 cargo plane crashes in Kyrgyzstan with 37 onboard; all killed । Astronaut Gene Cernan, 82, the last man to walk on moon, passes away । India marks Army Day । President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister greet the Army । Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat takes salute at the impressive Army Day Parade । Gen Rawat says India wants peace but if attempts are made to disrupt it, then “we will display our power” । He says emphasis is on newer technology weapons and systems for the Army । Space connectivity is also high on Army’s agenda । This is the 69th Army Day, marking the time when an Indian Chief, Gen KM Cariappa took over the command after Independence । Indian Navy launches its second Kalvari class submarine INS Khanderi in Mumbai । India Strategic wishes all its readers and viewers a very Happy New Year । India successfully test fires Agni 5 long range missile | IAF gets Government approval for one more C 17 strategic Lift aircraft | IAF has got 10 C 17s, but had initially planned for more than 20 | Lack of timely approval made IAF slash figure to three but by then Boeing closed factory | IAF will get the last one in production | Syrian government of President Assad takes full control of Aleppo | Lt Gen Bipin Rawat appointed the next Army Chief and Air Marshal BS Dhanoa the Air Chief | The appointments are effective December 31 afternoon | Both are Vice Chiefs of Staff at present in their respective Services | 48 killed in a PIA ATR-42 aircraft crash in Pakistan | The twin-engine propellor aircraft was on way from Chitral to Islamabad | India marks Navy Day | Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets all Navy personnel, and salutes their bravery on Indian Navy annual day | PM Modi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani jointly inaugurate Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference at Amritsar (India) Dec 4 | Need of the hour is to identify terrorism and bring stability in the region, says PM Modi | India’s commitment to Afghan is absolute, Mr Modi said addressing 6th HoA Ministerial Conf | Afgan Prez accused Pakistan of sheltering terror, and thanked India of financial aid | HoA Conf began at Amritsar Dec 3 | INS Vikrant likely to be operational in 2018 | Vikrant to operate both Russian MiG-29K and Western origin Aircraft | Indian Navy to mark 2017 as the year of submarine: Adm Lanba class=”gap”>| Gujarat-cadre officer Rakesh Asthana to take over as CBI Director after Anil Sinha, who retires Dec 2 | Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa is Pakistan’s new army chief | Gen Bajwa took over from Gen Raheel Sharif Nov 29 | The outgoing chief stressed all should work together “against external and internathreats” | Plane carrying Brazilian football team crashes in Colombia | Cuba’s revolutionary leader Fidel Castro dies. He was 90. | Castro had challenged the US might and invited Soviet presence next door to the US | US-Cuban relations have normalized now after half a century | Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Commissions INS Chennai into Indian Navy Nov 21 | INS Chennai is a Project 15A Guided Missile Destroyer | This is the 3rd and last ‘Kolkata’ class destroyer indigenously designed by DND and constructed by MDL, Mumbai |
April 30, 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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