Republic Day is an occasion to cherish and celebrate, thus the spectacular display on 26 January on the Karawaya Path recently renamed from Raj Path of defence, culture and economic progress of the country is more than welcome.
In the defence panorama the theme was of demonstration of India’s military prowess – human resources as well as technological progress.
The smart marching contingents of the military highlighted the elan of the forces at large represented by a microcosm drawn from various regiments of the Indian Army, the Navy and the Air Force.
This year the newly recruited Agniveer representing the Agnipath Scheme were added, though these may have been out of place in a military contingent otherwise as they continue to be civilians until they have been formally inducted after completion of training and solemnisation. Nevertheless these formalities seem to have been given the go bye.
The multiple military platforms and equipment on display – these are attached as an appendix below there was a rich panoply of indigenous ware which is welcome.
A caution however is essential as most of the equipment on display was either 3.5 generation or in the process of trials and induction, but in the euphoria of celebrations of the occasion we may momentarily overlook these only to resolve to make them up soonest
The Ministry of Defence through a press release denoted that the Indian Army demonstration will include a fly past by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) of Army Aviation Corps. Main Battle Tank ARJUN, NAG Missile System (NAMIS), Infantry Combat Vehicle of BMP-2 SARATH, Quick Reaction Fighting Vehicle, K-9 Vajra-tracked Self-Propelled Howitzer Gun, BrahMos missile, 10m Short Span Bridge, Mobile Microwave Node & Mobile Network Centre and AKASH (New Generation Equipment)
Similarly the, ‘Indian Navy – Combat Ready, Credible, Cohesive and Future Proof’ will showcase the women aircrew of Dornier aircraft, model of the new indigenous Nilgiri class ship with a Dhruv helicopter deploying marine commandos, Kalvari class submarines and models of autonomous unmanned systems being indigenously-developed under iDEX-Sprint Challenge.
Indian Air Force
The Indian Air Force tableau, designed on the theme ‘Indian Air Force Power Beyond Boundaries’, displayed Light Combat Aircraft Tejas MK-II, Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand’, Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft NETRA and C-295 Transport aircraft. The tableau will also display a team of GARUDs in combat gear with laser designation equipment and specialist weapons.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) showcased tableau, ‘Securing Nation with Effective Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising Threats’ in four parts.
The first part displayed Underwater Surveillance Platforms, which include sonars like Ushus-2 for submarines, Humsa series of sonars for ships and Low Frequency Dunking Sonar for helicopter launch surveillance.
Second part displayed, Land Surveillance, Communication and Neutralising platforms showcasing D4 counter drone systems, which can perform real time search, detection, tracking and neutralise targets, Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile Weapon System, Battery Multifunction Radar and Missile Launcher Vehicle. The QRSAM is an all-weather, air-defence system that provides mobile air defence cover to mechanized assets of Indian Army in the Tactical Battle Area. Besides, two versions of Software Defined Radio – Manpack and Handheld are part of this tableau. DRDO has developed the Software Defined Radio for secured communication as per a press release by the organisation.
The third part displayed Aerial Surveillance and Communication platforms Airborne Early Warning and Control System and TAPAS BH Medium Altitude Long Endurance UAV, semiconductor R&D facility, Indigenously-developed Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform carried on a 70-ton Trailer will be displayed by DRDO in the form of equipment. AEW&C is a true force multiplier, with surveillance, communication, and electronic warfare capabilities. TAPAS BH is DRDO’s solution to the tri-services Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Tracking & Reconnaissance (ISTAR) requirements.
The fourth part, represented DRDO’ Research Activities wherein a Semiconductor R&D facility has been demonstrated. In this part, DRDO has also depicted futuristic technologies in the field of semi-conductors, detectors and nextgen sensors. Indigenously-developed Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), a modular 8X8 wheeled combat platform carried on a 70-ton Trailer will be displayed by DRDO in form of actual equipment. Customised for various roles, WhAP can be used as a Wheeled Infantry Combat Vehicle, CBRN Vehicle, ATGM carrier, Light Tank etc. The Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) variant on display is integrated with 30mm turret, composite armour and innovative blast protection. This amphibious vehicle can negotiate water obstacles with a max speed of 100 km/h on road.
The Armed Forces displayed Arjun MBT, Nag Missile System, Brahmos Missile, Short Span Bridge, and Akash NG. DRDO-developed AEW&C participated in fly past at the parade.