How India improved its naval and air strike capabilities post 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks


The 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks was a sure enough wake up call for the intelligence and security forces of our nation as our maritime borders had never witnessed an attack of such a scale and dimension launched through the sea route on a major metropolitan city.

There was a need for a complete overhaul in the Indian defence forces combat strategy and doctrine to counter terrorism post the 2008 Mumbai attacks which had manifested into many new forms.

There was a consensus drawn among the defence and security experts that the maritime borders of our country were vulnerable to potential attacks from the sea in the future.  To plug the gaping holes of our defences capabilities in the high seas and along the coastline, the top brass of the defence forces envisaged a large scale plan to upgrade and modernise the naval and air striking prowess of our country.

Over the last 5 years, The Indian Navy and Air force have inked important military deals with major international defence firms to revamp and modernize their equipment and armory to be one up the enemy and secure our coastline and air space. Indian defence research and manufacturing agencies like HAL and DRDO have contributed immensely to enhance the defence capabilities of the nation.

Here is a timeline of the major up-gradation and modernization of India’s  naval fleet and air strike capabilities to thwart any attack from sea or air:

 Major Defence Deals to enhance Indian Navy’s defence capabilities

1. INS Chennai: Indian Navy’s ‘largest-ever’ Made-in-India guided missile destroyer commissioned

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday commissioned India’s third indigenously designed guided missile destroyer ‘INS Chennai’, in Mumbai.

Built at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd in Mumbai, the ship’s construction also marks the end of the Project 15A to build Kolkata-class guided missile destroyers. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, was also present on the occasion.

2. India inducts indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant, completes nuclear triad

India’s indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant was reportedly commissioned into service in August, completing India’s nuclear triad.After being inducted, the submarine completes India’s nuclear triad, giving it the capability to respond to nuclear strikes from sea, land and air-based systems.

3. India signs $1 billion deal with US for 4 P-8I submarine hunter aircrafts

India signed a $1-billion deal with the US defence and aerospace giant Boeing for four P-8I submarine hunter planes. India had already bought eight P-8l planes in a $2.1 billion deal and the new contract is a follow-on order. The new fleet will improve the anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities of Indian Navy.

 4. Pipavav Defence pact with Russian firm Zvyozdochka to refit submarines

Pipavav Defence and Offshore Engineering announced the signing of a multi-crore agreement with Russia-based JSC Ship Repairing Centre Zvyozdochka for medium refits and life certification of eight EKM 877 submarines in India.

5. Upgraded submarine INS Sindhukirti boosts Navy’s flagging fleet

The 3000-tonne INS Sindhukirti’s re-induction into the fleet is vital since the Navy is down to just 13 old diesel-electric submarines.

A submarine’s design or “prescribed life” is considered to be 25 years. But 10 of the 13 conventional boats are already older than that, with the others not being far behind. INS Sindhurakshak, which sank after internal explosions at Mumbai naval dockyard in August 2013 killing 18 personnel, was in fact one of the relatively newer submarines.

6. INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier inducted into the Indian Navy

The $2.3 billion INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier was inducted into the Indian Navy, giving a strategic boost to its maritime warfare capabilities.

The mammoth 44,500-tonne warship—India’s largest naval vessel—was commissioned into the navy at Sevmash Shipyard in this northern Arctic port during a colourful ceremony attended by Defence Minister AK Antony, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and senior government and naval officials of the two countries.

Major Defence Deals to enhance air strike capabilities  

1. India signs $8.8bn deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France

Sept 23, 2016

India signed one of its biggest defense deals in decades, committing to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from French aviation company Dassault.

Main feature of Rafale is Beyond Visual Range (BVR) Meteor air-to-air missile with a range of 150 kilometer. The BVR technology makes Rafale a strategic weapon. Indian army has used BVR during Kargil war, ranging 50 kilometer. It is also the first fighter jet deal for India in last 20 years.

2. India and Russia signed deal to jointly produce 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters

October 17, 2016

India and Russia signed a deal on October 17 to jointly produce 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters, at the India Russia Summit in Goa. The helicopters are believed to boost the capabilities of the armed forces.

3. IAF inducts first squadron of homegrown Tejas

Jul 1, 2016

The first squadron of home-grown Light Combat Aircraft Tejas was inducted into IAF with two fighter planes joining the force. State-run HAL handed over the first two Tejas aircraft to IAF, which makes up the first squadron named ‘Flying Daggers’, at a ceremony preceded by inter-faith prayers at the Aircraft System Testing Establishment.

4. India-US sign $3 billion deal to purchase 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers

September 2015

India signed a nearly $3 billion deal for purchase of 22 Apache attack helicopters and 15 Chinook heavy-lift choppers with American aviation giant Boeing and the US government. The first helicopter is likely to be handed over to India in the next three to four years.


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