Light Combat Helicopter and Shakti advanced warfare suite to be handed over to defence forces

According to official sources, the indigenously designed and developed equipment shall be handed over formally to the Armed Forces Service Chiefs by the Prime Minister of India. 

The Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) has been developed and designed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) shall be handed over to the Chief of Air Staff while the Advanced Electronic Warfare Suite for the naval ships which have been designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) shall be handed over to the Chief of Naval Staff and on the other hand, the (UAV) unmanned aerial vehicles/drones which have been designed and developed by Indian startups shall be handed over to Chief of the Army Staff.

For effective combat roles, stealth features along with advanced technologies have been incorporated by the light combat helicopters while the growing maturity of the Indian Drone industry ecosystem is also proven by the deployment of Indian unmanned aerial vehicles by the Indian armed forces.

System Shakti

For the interception, identification, classification, detection and jamming of conventional and modern radars, the advanced electronic Warfare system Shakti has been designed and developed by a Hyderabad based laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation known as the Defence Electronics Research Laboratory for Capital Warships of the Indian Navy. In order to ensure electronic dominance and survivability in the maritime Battlefield, an electronic layer of Defence shall be provided by the Shakti Electronic Warfare system against modern radars and anti-ship missiles.

For the defence of the Indian Navy ships against missile attacks, since the system has been integrated with wideband Electronic Support Measures (ESM) along with Electronic Counter Measures (ECM), the Ministry of Defence said that this system shall replace the earlier generation electronic Warfare systems of the Indian Navy, in a statement. For finding accurate direction and interception of modern radars, the electronic support measure of the system helps in doing so while a built-in radar fingerprinting and data recording replay feature for post-mission analysis is also equipped by the system.

Production and Installation

While 12 Shakti systems are currently under production at the Bharat Electronics Limited which has been supported by more than 50 MSMEs at a total cost of ₹1805 crores, the first Shakti system has been installed on INS Visakhapatnam while it is also being installed on the indigenously made Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant. Including the P15B, Talwar class and P17A follow-on ships, the systems are scheduled to be installed onboard capital warships which are currently under production.

Earlier, the first P15B stealth guided missile destroyer was received by the Indian Navy from Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders. 

The statement added that the construction and delivery of this ship which is named Visakhapatnam is another testament of the impetus given by the government and the Navy to the indigenous warship construction programmes.

Project 15B

The capability to launch guided anti-aircraft missiles from the deck is equipped by a guided-missile destroyer.

With the ships being indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design, the Project 15B (P15B) / Visakhapatnam-class is the latest destroyer design currently under construction for the Indian Navy. While displacing 7,300 tonnes, each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and shall be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots. 

For improved sea keeping, stealth, survivability and manoeuvrability, new design concepts are incorporated by the P15B destroyers. Through the use of radar transparent deck fittings and shaping of the hull, enhanced stealth features have been achieved thereby making these ships difficult to detect. Compared to the preceding Kolkata-class, The design around the bridge area appears to be the main design change. Two multi-role helicopters shall be carried and operated by these ships.

INS Vikrant 

With a maximum speed of 28 knots and equipped with a range of 7,500 nautical miles at a speed of 18 knots, the INS Vikrant is a 260 meters long and 60 meters wide vessel displacing 37,500-tonnes. A large crew complement composed of 160 officers and 1,400 sailors is to be received by the aircraft carrier.

Along with Mig-29K fighter jets and Ka-31 helicopters, the STOBAR aircraft carrier will be capable of accommodating up to 30 fighters and helicopters. 

Vikrant will be around 67% the size of China’s existing aircraft carriers at 45,000 tons (full load) while the aircraft has been built at a cost of around ₹23,000 crores.

The construction of INS Vikrant propelled India into a select group of countries having capabilities to build state-of-the-art aircraft carriers.

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is a Defence and Aerospace Journalist with his articles/works on various digital and print media platforms. He is an Anchor/Host and Correspondent associated with several News Media Organizations. *Views are personal
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