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NewSpace Research and Technologies (NRT), a Bengaluru-based aerospace company, has achieved a remarkable feat in Indian aviation history. Their sub-scale High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS UAS) development prototype successfully completed a record-breaking flight test at ATR Chitradurga.

The test surpassed all initial objectives, achieving an astounding flight endurance of over 24 hours. This incredible accomplishment translates to a new national record for India – the longest flight duration ever recorded for an Indian-designed, developed, and manufactured (IDDM) unmanned aerial system (UAS).

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On this day five years ago, India successfully conducted Mission Shakti, an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile test, propelling the nation into an elite group of countries with this advanced technology.

The mission involved a specially designed missile launched from Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Island, precisely targeting and destroying a small Indian satellite orbiting Earth at an altitude of 350 kilometers and traveling at a phenomenal speed of 24,000 kilometers per hour. This remarkable feat showcased India’s growing prowess in the field of aerospace and defense technology.

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The Indian government has implemented amendments to the Defense Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020, following recommendations by the Defense Acquisition Council (DAC). These changes aim to further promote “Make in India” and “Aatmanirbharta” (self-reliance) within the country’s defense industry, while also streamlining the Ease of Doing Business for domestic companies.

These amendments are expected to significantly boost domestic defense production capabilities. By mandating a higher indigenous content threshold and facilitating access to testing facilities, the government aims to create a more conducive environment for Indian companies. Additionally, the requirement for complete know-how of imported components pushes them towards developing indigenous alternatives, furthering the “Aatmanirbharta” goal.

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Solar Industries India Limited’s (SII) subsidiary, Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), has secured a contract to supply 30,000 units of the Multi-Mode Hand Grenade (MMHG) to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) for ?13.983 crore. EEL’s bid of ?4,661 per grenade proved more competitive than Munitions India Limited’s (MIL) offer of ?15.547 crore.

Developed by the Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL), the MMHG is a versatile grenade designed for both offensive and defensive use. A unique feature is the ability to easily switch between modes by removing or attaching a fragmenting sleeve before throwing.

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Gurgaon-based Pareto Tree Private Limited, winner of the prestigious SPRINT Challenge, has unveiled the HERO Search V1 – a revolutionary Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) device designed to safeguard the lives of firefighters, search & rescue teams, damage control teams, and isolated defense personnel. This innovative tool promises to be a game-changer in emergency response, offering critical features that can mean the difference between life and death in dangerous situations.

HERO Search V1 boasts cutting-edge continuous motion sensing technology. No movement goes unnoticed, allowing rescuers to swiftly locate missing or incapacitated individuals even in the most chaotic situations. Gone are the days of agonizing uncertainty; HERO Search V1 provides a vital lifeline in the face of danger.

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Chennai-based space startup Agnikul Cosmos has announced a delay in the test launch of its “AGNIBAAN SOrTeD” (Sub Orbital Technology Demonstrator) mission. Originally planned for March 22, 2024, the launch is now on hold to allow for additional readiness checks.

In a statement, Agnikul Cosmos cited the need for further preparations as the reason for the postponement. The company says it may require additional time beyond the originally planned NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) window. A new NOTAM will be issued soon to inform of the rescheduled launch date.

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South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has greenlit production of the KF-21, a domestically developed 5th-generation fighter jet. This marks a significant step forward for the nation’s aerospace industry.

The production approval covers the period between 2024 and 2028, with a total estimated cost of W7.9 trillion (approximately $5.8 billion). While the official number of aircraft remains undisclosed, South Korean media reports suggest an initial production run of 20 jets.

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Bengaluru-based aerospace startup NewSpace Research & Technologies (NRT) has achieved a significant milestone with the successful completion of a 24-hour+ flight by its High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) prototype. This marks a major leap forward in India’s development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with extended endurance capabilities.

The HAPS SCALED, a solar-powered UAV, utilizes a Bushless DC electric motor and boasts a maximum take-off weight of 80kg. During the record-breaking flight over ATR Chitradurga, the HAPS SCALED exceeded all pre-defined test objectives.

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India has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for a military firing exercise to be conducted around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, close to the strategically important Malacca Strait. The designated exercise area spans 380 kilometers and is scheduled for March 29-30, 2024.

The timing of the exercise coincides with the presence of the Chinese Yuan Wang 3 space tracking ship in the region. Analysts believe India might be test-firing the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which is deployed in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The BrahMos missiles are known for their speed and precision, and their deployment serves as a deterrent against potential Chinese incursions into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in the event of conflict.

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The Argentine Air Force (Fuerza Aérea Argentina) has opted to acquire 24 ex-Danish F-16A/B MLU fighter jets in a deal valued at $650 million USD. This decision comes after considering offers from India’s LCA-Tejas and China’s JF-17 Thunder.

The ex-Danish F-16s were offered at a significantly lower price point compared to the new-build alternatives. At $14 million per unit, the F-16s were nearly three times less of the price of the offered Tejas and JF-17 jets.

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The Defence Ministry’s CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) has approved a critical upgrade for the BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle, a mainstay of the Indian Army’s mechanized forces. These upgrades are particularly important for the ongoing situation in Eastern Ladakh, where BMP-2s have been deployed in large numbers to counter Chinese forces.

The BMP-2s, currently manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) under Russian license, are set to receive a significant power boost thanks to Pinaka Aerospace Solutions, a Bangalore-based company. Pinaka’s key contribution is the development of a fully indigenous Transmission Control Unit (TCU). This unit sits at the heart of the engine upgrade, ensuring optimal power delivery.

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India’s ambitious plans for its 5th generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) program take a significant step forward with the hunt for an engine development partner. Sources close to the program reveal that the Defence Research and Development Organization’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE) is actively courting foreign collaboration.

GTRE aims to finalize a partner by mid-2024, paving the way for a contract later this year or early next year. This partnership is vital for developing a new 5th generation engine capable of generating 110-130kN thrust, a significant upgrade for the AMCA MkII variant.

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Defense Minister Rajnath Singh emphasized the growing threat posed by drones in modern warfare during a meeting with the Indian Navy’s top brass on Tuesday. He urged the Navy to prioritize preparedness to counter such challenges.

This call to action comes amidst the Navy’s ongoing efforts to integrate drone capabilities into its operations. The planned incorporation of loitering munitions on frontline warships signifies a strategic move towards long-range engagement of sea-based targets.

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EDGE Group, a leading UAE-based technology and defense company, has expressed its interest in collaborating with India on the production of its AL TARIQ smart weapons. This move signifies a potential boost to India’s indigenous defense capabilities.

EDGE Group’s Managing Director & CEO, Hamad Al Marar, has proposed the transfer of AL TARIQ technology to India, enabling local production by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). This collaboration could lead to significant benefits for both countries.

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India has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) designating a no-fly zone over the Bay of Bengal, effective from an unspecified date. This restricted airspace spans a significant 1680 kilometers, raising speculation about a potential missile test.

The size of the no-fly zone strongly suggests India might be testing its next-generation Agni-Prime ballistic missile. This missile boasts a reported range of around 2,000 kilometers, marking a significant advancement in India’s indigenous missile technology.

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