General News, Questions And Discussions - Indian Navy

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Indian Navy set to go unmanned in the future with Remotely Operated Vehicle

By: Huma Siddiqui | Published: March 3, 2020 7:44:58 PM

India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat had in a media interaction has suggested a staggered approach to big procurements.

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For commercial and military applications, the underwater environment has always been a risky zone for human activities.

In the face of a major shortage of funds, the Indian Navy has plans to opt for unmanned platforms especially underwater vehicles. Indian Navy at all times maintains a well-trained diving team which is always under deployment onboard warships. According to a senior naval officer who wished to remain anonymous, “Naval divers are highly trained in handling underwater explosives and other covert activities. Onboard a warship, a divers’ complement plays an active role in fleet-level mission planning. For any combat or commercial underwater activities, the cost of a diver is very high, and includes adequate risk compensation in his emoluments.”

For commercial and military applications, the underwater environment has always been a risky zone for human activities.

“The training and upkeep of diver and diving equipment for the navy is a long term and an expensive gambit, even though the divers are usually volunteered from the main complement of the ships and submarines. They undergo a rigorous and tough training regime and pass percentage is usually on the lower side,” explained the naval officer.

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROVs)

“During diving operations, in order to support or as a substitute to the underwater teams, specialized underwater electrically operated Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROVs) is also utilized. ROVs are operated through an umbilical cable Control Unit fitted onboard the mother ship. This tether link between the ROV and Tether Management System onboard the Ship is mainly formed by a group of armoured cables comprising of separate cable each for electrical power, control signals, and fibre optics (for data and video signals),” explains Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert.

According to the C4I expert, “The primary applications of naval ROVs are mainly for underwater hull inspection, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), as a stand-in for detecting and disarming an explosive. ROVs also can be used for special operations like detection of enemy submarines and the Search & Rescue (SAR) role. ROVs provide for a long underwater submerged capability and, with the manipulator arm fitted, can exert a strong force to pull or manipulate an object. With specialized payloads, ROVs can assist in the Submarine rescue missions also, and Indian Navy’s Deep Sea Rescue Vessel (DSRV) operates one to assist in submarine rescue role.”

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) comprises of two standard configurations viz. a fixed-wing (with aeroplane like wings) or a Rotary configuration (with helicopter-like propellers). Indian Navy has always preferred fixed-wing UAVs due to its capability as a sensor-operating platform in a hostile environment of the battlefield. It is also a cost-effective peacetime Intelligence gathering tool. The first batch of naval drones introduced was Israeli make ‘Heron’ and ‘Searcher’ UAVs.

“Indian Navy created a new dedicated Air Squadron for operating these UAVs as part of maritime reconnaissance role in various theatres of operations. The Naval Squadron was designed for coast-based ‘launch and recovery’ of these UAVs, with UAV Direction commands from the ships and they typically carried a payload of Electro-optic camera and COMINT (Communication Intelligence) equipment,” Kulshreshtha says.

Adding, “Heron is the longer endurance UAVs with provision for fitment of a maritime radar payload for enhanced surveillance roles. Naval UAVs can further provide the Target Tracking and Target Designation (TD) coordinates to facilitate ship-based suitable weapon launch. These UAVs are capable of OTHT (Over the Horizon Target) data transmission, accomplish SAR (Search & Rescue) missions and provide Battle damage assessment to the Fleet Commander at sea.”

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, later this year the Indian Navy for maritime surveillance will procure 10 Sea Guardian High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) armed drones from the US-based General Atomics.

With COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), these UAVs can assist in inter-operability and joint surveillance/Intelligence gathering activities.

Indian Navy set to go unmanned in the future with Remotely Operated Vehicle
 
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RISING SUN

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Indian Navy set to go unmanned in the future with Remotely Operated Vehicle

By: Huma Siddiqui | Published: March 3, 2020 7:44:58 PM

India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat had in a media interaction has suggested a staggered approach to big procurements.
View attachment 14516
For commercial and military applications, the underwater environment has always been a risky zone for human activities.

In the face of a major shortage of funds, the Indian Navy has plans to opt for unmanned platforms especially underwater vehicles. Indian Navy at all times maintains a well-trained diving team which is always under deployment onboard warships. According to a senior naval officer who wished to remain anonymous, “Naval divers are highly trained in handling underwater explosives and other covert activities. Onboard a warship, a divers’ complement plays an active role in fleet-level mission planning. For any combat or commercial underwater activities, the cost of a diver is very high, and includes adequate risk compensation in his emoluments.”

For commercial and military applications, the underwater environment has always been a risky zone for human activities.

“The training and upkeep of diver and diving equipment for the navy is a long term and an expensive gambit, even though the divers are usually volunteered from the main complement of the ships and submarines. They undergo a rigorous and tough training regime and pass percentage is usually on the lower side,” explained the naval officer.

Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROVs)

“During diving operations, in order to support or as a substitute to the underwater teams, specialized underwater electrically operated Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROVs) is also utilized. ROVs are operated through an umbilical cable Control Unit fitted onboard the mother ship. This tether link between the ROV and Tether Management System onboard the Ship is mainly formed by a group of armoured cables comprising of separate cable each for electrical power, control signals, and fibre optics (for data and video signals),” explains Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert.

According to the C4I expert, “The primary applications of naval ROVs are mainly for underwater hull inspection, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), as a stand-in for detecting and disarming an explosive. ROVs also can be used for special operations like detection of enemy submarines and the Search & Rescue (SAR) role. ROVs provide for a long underwater submerged capability and, with the manipulator arm fitted, can exert a strong force to pull or manipulate an object. With specialized payloads, ROVs can assist in the Submarine rescue missions also, and Indian Navy’s Deep Sea Rescue Vessel (DSRV) operates one to assist in submarine rescue role.”

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) comprises of two standard configurations viz. a fixed-wing (with aeroplane like wings) or a Rotary configuration (with helicopter-like propellers). Indian Navy has always preferred fixed-wing UAVs due to its capability as a sensor-operating platform in a hostile environment of the battlefield. It is also a cost-effective peacetime Intelligence gathering tool. The first batch of naval drones introduced was Israeli make ‘Heron’ and ‘Searcher’ UAVs.

“Indian Navy created a new dedicated Air Squadron for operating these UAVs as part of maritime reconnaissance role in various theatres of operations. The Naval Squadron was designed for coast-based ‘launch and recovery’ of these UAVs, with UAV Direction commands from the ships and they typically carried a payload of Electro-optic camera and COMINT (Communication Intelligence) equipment,” Kulshreshtha says.

Adding, “Heron is the longer endurance UAVs with provision for fitment of a maritime radar payload for enhanced surveillance roles. Naval UAVs can further provide the Target Tracking and Target Designation (TD) coordinates to facilitate ship-based suitable weapon launch. These UAVs are capable of OTHT (Over the Horizon Target) data transmission, accomplish SAR (Search & Rescue) missions and provide Battle damage assessment to the Fleet Commander at sea.”

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, later this year the Indian Navy for maritime surveillance will procure 10 Sea Guardian High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) armed drones from the US-based General Atomics.

With COMCASA (Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement), these UAVs can assist in inter-operability and joint surveillance/Intelligence gathering activities.

Indian Navy set to go unmanned in the future with Remotely Operated Vehicle
Indian Navy to enhance Submarine Patrol in Indian Ocean Region with deep submergence rescue vessels
Denial of access to unauthorised vessels inside India’s Offshore Development Area is a major challenge, with warships and submarine involved in the robust surveillance arrangement.

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Keeping an active watch over an ‘area of interest’ closer to hostile coastline requires an enhanced shallow water submarine operation. (Photos source: Indian Navy)

The submarines deployed in forward areas to showcase India’s interest in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is critical but the underwater operations carry many risks. However, seawater profile for detection of underwater routes by the submarine’s navigational sonars etc., are a matter of concern. Denial of access to unauthorised vessels inside India’s Offshore Development Area is a major challenge, with warships and submarine involved in the robust surveillance arrangement.

These submarine operations can provide high-quality ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) information during peace times and this capability comes from the submarine’s ability to enter an area to watch, listen and to collect the information because it can operate stealthily close to the action they can capture many elusive signals.



In recent times, Chinese military and commercial facilities have emerged along its sea line of communication through strategic investments in several Indian Ocean ports (like Gwadar, Hambantota, and Colombo etc.). This potential Chinese intention in the IOR is geopolitically known as String of Pearl’s theory. The protection and safeguard of all present or evolving economic assets fall within the ambit of Indian Navy’s Flag Officer Defence Advisory Group (FODAG). The FODAG’s role is to advise various ministries — Defence, Petroleum & Natural Gas and Shipping on all planning and policy aspects of offshore security and defence covering EEZ, territorial waters and other Maritime Zones of India.

Diving Support Vessels
Indian Navy regularly conducts deep sea diving operations, including in the IOR, with an aim to undertake submarine rescue exercise, actual undersea inspection or salvage operations. The Saturation divers are specialized deep-sea divers who carry out such highly complex diving operations, usually with the assistance from a Diving Support Vessel (DSV). “This unique vessel has Deck Decompression Chambers where divers are compressed to the required depth and then transferred under pressure to a Diving Bell, which is further lowered into the sea.

Underwater, these divers are provided a heated gas mixture of oxygen and helium for breathing and hot water for maintaining body temperatures. With every 10 meters depth, the water pressure on the Saturation diver increases by a kilogram per centimetre square, causing physiological problems like gas bubbles throughout the human body while surfacing. Once at the surface, these divers undergo a ‘decompression’ routine inside specialized chambers installed onboard the DSV,” explains Milind Kulshreshtha, C4I expert.



Deep Submergence Rescue Vessels
Keeping an active watch over an ‘area of interest’ closer to hostile coastline requires an enhanced shallow water submarine operation. Though submarine provides a significant strategic advantage here, it is also vulnerable to action damage and requires critical follow-up diving operations for the Search and Rescue mission. C4I expert, says, “This role is amply supported by a Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV), and is the much-required re-assurance to the crew onboard the submarine undertaking risky manoeuvres. Earlier unfortunate incidents like Russian Kursk submarine sinking and fire accident onboard INS Sidhuratna, had also highlighted the need for a submarine rescue vessel. India’s first DSRV procured from the UK completed Navy’s Sea Acceptance Trials successfully in June’2019. The trials involved an underwater ‘mating’ of the DSRV with a hatch of a submerged submarine to carry out a personal transfer. The hatch of the submarine was duly strengthened earlier as per directives of Submarine Design Directorate at Naval Headquarter, so as not to buckle with the additional load of DSRV.”



What are they equipped with?
“These DSRVs are equipped with sophisticated sonar systems and an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to clear debris and various other obstructions underwater. It has a Side Scan Sonar for locating the position of the submarine in distress at sea, and can use its ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) to assist the rescue operations. And can be transported rapidly to the mission area via air, sea or land,” he explains.

According to the Indian Navy the DSRV can recover submarine crew from depths up to 650m and Navy intends to position one each on West and East Coast, respectively.

Centre of Regional Excellence for Submarine Rescue
As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, India is part of a select league of nations which possess the capability to rescue submarines, including that of friendly nations in the IOR. India has the ambition to emerge as the Centre of Regional Excellence for Submarine Rescue missions and accordingly, apart from procuring the additional DSRVs is undertaking indigenous construction of two 7,650 ton Diving Support Vessels (DSVs) at Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (HSL) to further augment the submarine support operations. It is planned to fit a DSRV onboard each of these new induction DSVs. Overall, the induction of DSVs and DSRVs by Navy shall go a long way
in enhancing India’s regional role of being the nodal agency in IOR for submarine rescue.
Indian Navy to enhance Submarine Patrol in Indian Ocean Region with deep submergence rescue vessels
 

RISING SUN

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think3D to provide expertise and 3D printed spare parts to the Indian Navy
The issue of spare parts and replacement parts is a major issue for all defense forces, In particular, Indian 3D printing service provider think3D reports that this has been a major issue plaguing the Indian Navy. Many of the machines present in the Navy are very old and, in most cases, these machines were imported.

This has led to inconsistent and inadequate supply of spare parts, with long delays whenever a part gets damaged and needs to be replaced. Keeping the entire machine idle till the spare parts get replaced is costing Navy a lot. To solve this issue, the Indian Navy finally decided to turn to AM technologies to get the spare parts 3D printed and replaced on demand.

think3D has supplied various 3D printed spare parts to the Indian Navy and these spare parts are successfully tested and incorporated into several machines, in particular, to solve the Navy’s long-pending need for quick replacement of the centrifugal pump impellers on board the ships. In this particular case, think3D used 3D scanning to acquire the 3D data and HP’s multijet fusion technology 3D print the part.
A replacement impeller 3D printed using multijet fusion technology.

The settings were thoroughly analyzed and modified to print the part with desired mechanical properties. The part was then CNC machined and a metal bushing was inserted to create an interface between metal rod and plastic component. The part was then successfully tested in the real environment for the desired number of hours.

Now the other major issue being faced by the Indian Navy is parts undergoing damage when the ship is off-shore.

In such scenarios, there is no way for the parts to be replaced on-demand. Either the parts are air-lifted to the ship or the ship is brought back to shore for fitting the parts. Both these scenarios are highly undesirable and cost a lot of time and money for the Indian Navy. To solve this major issue, think3D and the Indian Navy together deliberated an approach to have a 3D printer mounted on the ship with the CAD designs of the spare parts pre-loaded into the machine so that the operator can 3D Print the parts on-demand.

Due to the roll and pitch of the ship and constant vibration, operating a 3D printer on-board a ship has a different set of requirements than operating the same machine on-shore. think3D is now closely collaborating with the Indian Navy to develop a custom system to meet this demand.


think3D to provide expertise and 3D printed spare parts to the Indian Navy
 

GrantHayden

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I was basing this question on the memoir of an Army officer who was commissioned into Signals but then had himself transferred into Infantry. I want to know the possibility of a similar procedure in the Indian Navy.
Suppose if I get (means get recommended, make it to merit, survive in Academy, get commissioned) into the Navy in Naval Armament Inspection Cadre or Logistics service - what is the chance that I can change into IT/Cyber/Signals after getting commissioned as an officer ?
 

Gautam

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HC stays Navy's ELF Radar Project

Sagar Kumar Mutha | TNN | Mar 12, 2020, 18:54 IST
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Imagery from DigitalGlobe dated 13 January 2013 shows India's new ELF communications facility and VLF communications station at Vijaya Narayanam, about 23 km north of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu.(DigitalGlobe)

HYDERABAD: Making it clear to the state, centre and the Indian Navy that they cannot cut a single tree till they filed their counters on what they are proposing to do with the fragile ecosystem at Damagundam forest near Vikarabad in Ranga Reddy district, the Telangana high court ordered status quo on the Navy’s Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radar project proposed to be set up in Damagundum reserve forest area.

The project is being set up by the Eastern Naval Command. The bench of Chief Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy wondered as to how the forest department could allow construction of a low-frequency radar in a forest area while hearing a PIL filed by Damagundam Forest Protection joint action committee. Agreeing with the apprehensions expressed by S Spandana Reddy, the counsel for the petitioner, the bench directed the authorities to make sure that not a single tree is cut in the area till further orders. CJ also asked the petitioner to make the revenue department as a respondent to the case since it was they who allotted land to the project.

“We understand the defence of the country is crucial and is an important aspect, but the environment is also our concern,” the Chief Justice said. Everyone knows that low frequency affects the wildlife, the flora and fauna and the forest ecology adversely, he said. It is surprising that the forest department agreed to the idea of ELF Radar in the area without Navy obtaining environment clearance, the CJ said. Assistant solicitor general N Rajeswara Rao urged the bench to restrict the status quo for a few days, but the bench has made it clear that it will remain there till the centre and other authorities file their counters. The case was adjourned to four weeks.

HC stays Navy's ELF Radar Project | India News - Times of India
 

GASOLINE_ON_FIRE

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Navy to lease private shipyard as fund crunch delays base on East coast

Important points:
1. Operationalisation of Defence Space Agency, Defence Cyber Agency, and Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) — all new initiatives taken up by the Narendra Modi government — too, have been delayed, the standing panel was told.

2. The aircraft carrier, to be named INS Vikrant, was to operate from the new base codenamed Project Varsha. Besides berthing facilities for large warships, it will have underground pens for a nuclear submarine fleet. The base was originally planned to be commissioned by 2018.
 
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RISING SUN

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Telangana HC Stays Indian Navy’s ELF Radar Project
Telangana high court has ordered to stay Indian Navy’s Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radar project. This project is proposed to be set up in Damagundum reserve forest area.

“Centre and the Indian Navy cannot cut a single tree till they filed their counters on what they are proposing to do with the fragile ecosystem at Damagundam forest,” Telangana high court ordered.

This Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Radar project is being set up by the Eastern Naval Command of Indian Navy.

“We understand the defence of the country is crucial and is an important aspect, but the environment is also our concern,” the Chief Justice said.

“Everyone knows that low frequency affects the wildlife, the flora and fauna and the forest ecology adversely. It is surprising that the forest department agreed to the idea of ELF Radar in the area without Navy obtaining environment clearance,” The Chief Justice said.

The bench posted the matter to April 15 and directed the state and Central governments, Eastern naval command to file counter affidavits on the issue.

The Telangana government has provided 2,900 acres of land to the central government in the Dammagudem reserve forest in Vikarabad district for the ELF radar centre.
Telangana HC Stays Indian Navy’s ELF Radar Project - Indian Defence News
 

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The Navy reveals a hidden gem — a model of a Soviet-built Cold War missile never seen before in public. – Defence News of India
From the bridge of the destroyer INS Rajput, the crew saw a breathtaking sight. A giant white plume rose from the mirror-calm Bay of Bengal and a grey missile the size of a small airplane broke the surface and spread its wings, powerful rocket boosters firing it into a parabolic trajectory over the horizon. “It was awe-inspiring,” said an officer on board the destroyer that day. “We had never seen anything like it.”

It was sometime in mid-1988. The crew had witnessed the first launch of a submarine-fired cruise missile in Indian waters– a P-70 ‘Amethyst’ cruise missile fired from a nuclear powered attack submarine INS Chakra, a submarine taken on a three-year lease from the Soviet Union. The target that day, a derelict Petya class corvette, broke in two as the missile’s warhead of half a ton of high-explosive smashed into it.

The test was the closest most naval personnel would ever get to the enigmatic missile- part of a top secret national project to field nuclear powered attack submarines.

On May 28 this year, over three decades after that test, a freshly painted Amethyst was seen in public for the first time. It was part of an outdoor line up of several missiles, past and present at the shore based naval unit INS Kalinga.

The missile park ‘Agneeprastha’ aims to capture the evolution of naval missiles handled by the unit. Naval officials say the park will be open to the public on limited occasions. The missile on display is most likely what the Russians call a ‘Maket’ or model-an identical sized version of the weapon sans the engine and warhead– used for training crews.

Named for the blue precious stone, the missile has always been a head-turner. It electrified the world November 27, 1967 when the Soviet Union commissioned a first-of-its kind nuclear submarine, the K-43 on a shipyard on the Volga River, east of Moscow. The ‘Charlie’ class K-43 was the world’s first submarine which could fire missiles from underwater. Its large blunt bow section carried eight Amethysts, angled upwards at 32.5 degrees.

The K-43 overcame a major handicap in all cruise missile-firing nuclear submarines (SSGNs) that had to surface, open their bulky missile launchers and fire, an action which rendered them extremely vulnerable to enemy counter-attack. It was exclusively meant to target US aircraft carriers and other high value naval targets.

At 24 knots the Charlie it lacked the speed to pursue fast-moving carrier battle groups, but placed at choke points, it could spring a surprise,” recalls Vice Admiral R N Ganesh, the Chakra’s first Commanding Officer.

The Amethyst was an evolution of the P-15, a missile the navy had used to devastating effect in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. In less than half hour on December 4, three raiding Indian missile boats sank a Pakistani Naval destroyer, a minesweeper and a merchant ship, the largest use of ship-to-ship missiles in the history of naval warfare.

The 3.5 ton missile was a metre longer than the P-15 and had a range of 60 kilometres. Naval expert Norman Polmar, however points out the number of shortcomings. In his encyclopaedic 2004 book– “Cold War Submarines” — he mentions the Amethyst’s relatively short range, a limited ability to overcome defensive countermeasures and requirement for a complex submarine control system.’ Still, it was a formidable capability accretion for a Navy which essentially found itself defenceless when the US Seventh Fleet’s forayed into the Indian Ocean in 1971. The Soviets supplied the Navy with 16 Amethysts as part of the three year lease.

The Chakra was meant to train crews to man a series of indigenously built nuclear powered attack submarines that India had planned to build. Training of Indian crews to man the boat and the missile began in Russia in the early 1980s.

“It was like a fairy tale, a secret Russian fairy tale told to us one lesson at a time. Every day we got to know of the Amethyst’s capabilities,” says one of the Chakra’s missile officers, who did not want to be named.

The Soviet obsession with hunting US aircraft carriers continued as they fielded bigger and faster SSGNs and missiles with increased ranges– the Charlie-2, the ‘Papa’ and finally the monstrous ‘underwater battlecruiser’ the 19,500 ton ‘Oscar’ class armed with 24 supersonic carrier-killing cruise missiles.

India’s Advance Technology Vessel Project to field Chakra-type SSN/ SSGNs meanwhile, underwent a major course correction in the 1990s. The project was converted into what we now know as the Arihant class submarines – nuclear submarines firing nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles-political instruments of deterrence and hence not used for sea denial operations like hunting warships.

With the commissioning of the INS Sindhushastra in 2000, the navy acquired its first missile firing conventional submarine two decades ago and since most of its 14 conventional submarines have been retrofitted to fire an array of Russian, French and US cruise missiles. All these platforms however are hobbled by the lack of a nuclear propulsion that would give it tremendous speed and literally unlimited endurance.

The Indian Navy meanwhile took on a second submarine, also called the INS Chakra from Russia on a ten-year lease in 2011. Russia has begun refurbishing another nuclear submarine to be delivered for another ten-year lease by around 2026.

A Rs 1 lakh crore project to build six indigenous SSNS is still in the design stage and won’t be realised until the 2030s at least. The missile on the beach is hence, a reminder of both the past and hopefully, not too distant a future.
 
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