1. [Block-1] Airforce
    1. Jet: Rafael MMRCA
    2. Rafael: the salient features
    3. Jet: Naval LCA (NP1)
    4. UAV: Panchi with Wheels (DRDO)
    5. UAV: Global Hawk Drone (USA)
    6. Helicopter: Dhruv
    7. Helicopter: S-70B
    8. Airdefense: Schilka system
    9. Airdefense: Akash Missile
    10. Computerized Pilot Selection System
  2. [Block-2] Indian Army and Missiles
    1. Indian Missiles in News
    2. Agni-4
    3. Chinese JL-2 missiles
  3. [Block-3] Indian Navy
    1. Dismantling of INS Vikrant begins
  4. [Block-4] Defense exercises and Misc. developments
  5. Mock Questions
  • Selected defense topics from  last three months- October to December 2014.
  • Utility: At MCQ and interview level of three UPSC exams: CSE, CDS and CAPF.

[Block-1] Airforce

Dassault Rafael MMRCA jet

Jet: Rafael MMRCA

  • In future wars, we need fighter jets to cripple the advancing Chinese or Pakistani columns first, before our (large but slow moving) Army and naval formation can attack them.
  • At present, Indian Airforce (IAF) has 34 fighter squadron, we need atleast 44 squadrons to be combat effective against China and Pakistan.
Prospective IAF force in 2020 [Exact figures not important]
Role Aircraft No. Squadrons
Su-30 MKI, MiG-29 280 15
MiG-29 50 3
Air Combat
Mirage 2000 50 3
MMRCA (Rafael) 126 ~7-11
Air combat
Tejas 125 7
Strike Jaguar 119 6
Total ~740 ~45
  • We are working on fifth Generation fighter aircraft (FGCA) project with Russia, but that is unlikely to finish before 2020.
  • So in the meantime, we need a fourth generation Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) aircraft such as Rafael.
Rafael acquisition: Chronology of Events:
2007-21 “Tender” invited for purchase of MMRCA.

  • Eurofighter (British Aerospace)
  • Rafael (Dassualt, France)
  • F-16 Superviper (Lokheed Martin)
  • F/A-18 Super hornet (Boeing)
  • MiG-35 (Russia)
  • JAS-39NG Gripen (Sweden)
2012 Other companies failed to clear sectional cutoffs so, we begin negotiations to buy 126 Rafael fighter jets from at a cost of $10 billion Dollars.
  • Defense Minister AK Antony postponed the purchase citing financial reasons and need to curb fiscal deficit.
  • New Defense ministry Manohar Parrikar agreed to fast track negotiation. Although delay has escalated the cost from $10 billion to $20-30 billions.
2015 Rafael deal likely to be completed in 2015. Salient features are likely to be:

  • IAF to fly this jet for 40 years, Dassult will help in maintenance.
  • Industrial Offset: Dassult will have to ‘outsource’ some of its work to Indian companies, so that 50% of the deal money returns back to India. French labour union opposed to this, fearing jobloss.
  • Transfer of Technology: France will give 18 jets right away and Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) will build the remaining 108 planes in India, under “Transfer of Technology” (ToT) agreement. Thus total 126 jets.
2016 First 18 Rafaels will be delivered.

Rafael: the salient features

Mainly for Group discussion level at CDS-SSB
good bad
  1. Spectra electronic warfare system to protect itself from incoming missiles.
  2. Comes in one-seater and two-seater versions.
  3. Can be equipped with air-to-air, air-to-ground and air-to-ship missiles, precision guided bombs.
  4. Can carry upto 20,000 pounds of ordinance.
  5. Helmet mounted sight and display for active and passive targeting.
  6. Its RBE2 radar can track 8 targets simultaneously.
  7. Saturn UHF anti-jam radio, with voice-encryption facility. This provides seamless communication between pilot vs. ground stations, AWACs and Navy ships.
  8. can be refueled in flight
  9. can fire 2500 cannon-rounds per minute.
  10. India is familiar with French technology: Dassult Ouragan in the 50s, Mirages served well in Kargil war.
  1. Rafael’s stealth system is outdated compared to some of its rivals.
  2. Rafael doesn’t have STOVL facility (Short take off and vertical landing) like F-35-B, in similar price range.
  3. Brazil was also interested in buying Rafael, but – after problems AESA-scanners and HUD (Heads up display) during trials, they opted to buy Swedish Gripen jet.
  4. Rafael was selected (Mainly) because it was the lowest bidder among others.
  5. but if we include the cost of spareparts, maintenance, transfer of technology agreement- the final bill will be far higher than its rival companies.

UAV Panchi

UAV: Panchi with Wheels (DRDO)

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
Nishant Panchi
  • Launched using catapult
  • Lands using a parachute
  • Panchi is UAV Nishant’s new version with wheels.
  • So, it can take-off and land from air-strips like a regular aircraft.
Nishant can be used for surveillance and correcting artillery fire. Can do all functions of Nishant, while staying in air for a longer period, because Panchi’s weight is lighter than Nishant.
More chances of radar detection Panchi has smaller cross-section, low chances of radar-detection, compared to Nishant

UAV: Global Hawk Drone (USA)

Technical name high altitude, long endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)
  • USA. India may purchase it during Obama’s visit on 26th January parade.
  • Indian also interested in buying Apache attack helicopters and Chinook heavy lift helicopters
  • non-combat drone, for surveying ocean and coastal areas- 24/7.
  • America’s largest unmanned aircraft system


Jet: Naval LCA (NP1)

  • Naval version Light Combat Aircraft (LCA). 4th plus(+) generation aircraft.
  • It needs hardly 200m airstrip. Can be used from air-craft carriers such as INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorchakov)
  • Has facility of “Hands-free” Takeoff using Ski-jump platform.
  • Test flight done in 2014, December.

Helicopter: Dhruv

Why in News? During SAARC-Kathmandu visit, Modi gifted a Dhruv Mark-III Advanced Light Helicopter to the Nepal Army.

Features of this helicopter

  • Can work in all weathers
  • Hindustan Aeronautics has built it, using “Shakti” Engines.
  • Can play multiple roles: logistics, rescue and attack for Army, navy, Airforce and coast guards.
  • Dhruv has infrared jammers, radar and missile detectors. It can fire anti-tank “NAG” missiles.
  • Dhruv was used Operation Rahat and Surya Hope for Uttarakhand floods in 2013.

Helicopter: S-70B

  • It is the naval version of the US Army’s Black Hawk helicopter.
  • S-70B is an attack-helicopter for both anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare.
  • Manufactured by USA’s Sikorsky company.
  • Why in News? Indian navy aims to buy 16 such multi-role helicopters for Rs.6,000 crores.

Airdefense: Schilka system

  • Who? Russians designed this system in 1970s, with four 23mm guns
  • Purpose: low-level air-defense for Indian Army.
  • Recently, BEL made following upgrades to Sachilka system
    • 24/7 all weather tracking system
    • AC cabin for crew
    • Fire detection and modern communication faciltiies.
    • Filter for NBC attacks (Nuke, biological and chemical)

Airdefense: Akash Missile

  • Designed by DRDO and testing by Indian Air Force (IAF) at Chandipur near Balasore in Odisha.
  • Medium range (25 kms), surface to air missile (SAM). Can destroy cruise missiles and fighter jets.
  • Can carry payload upto 60kg.
  • Akash can simultaneously track and attack several targets simultaneously, with help of a ground radar “Rajendra”.
  • Both Indian army and Airforce use Akash missile system.
  • Other surface to air missiles are: Astra, Trishul.

Computerized Pilot Selection System

  • Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s brainchild, jointly developed by DRDO and allied research agencies.
  • To conduct pilot aptitude tests for Indian Airforce, in a more scientific manner using computer system.
  • Will help reducing flying accidents by pilot error.


[Block-2] Indian Army and Missiles

Indian Missiles in News

List not exhaustive
Missile range and features
Prithvi 1 150 km, surface to surface
Prithvi 2 250 km, surface to surface
  • 290 kms, Supersonic cruise missile. India and Russia have jointly developed it.
  • Brahmos-II will be a “hypersonic” missile.
Brahmos Mini
  • Range of 290 kms and supersonic speed of 2.8 Mach speed.
  • Brahmos “mini” missiles weight just 1.5 tonnes- quite lighter than the regular version.
  • They’re designed for navy submarines (Project 75I) and airforce (Su-30MKI)
  • India-Russia planning to sell them to friendly nations in near future.
Prithvi 3 350 kms. Its naval version called “Dhanush”
Agni-1 700 kms. All Agni series missiles are surface to surface.
  • 800+ kms. Subsonic cruise missile, similar to USA’s Tomahawk missile.
  • Nirbhay is based on Lakshya Drone system, hence can be controlled remotely. It is Nuclear capable, with land and sea variants planned in future..
  • Nirbhay is a Loitering missile, tree top missile (hard to detect on radar), seeker missile (can lock on target after launch).
Agni-2 2000 kms. Test fired in 2014, November.
Agni-3 3000 kms
Agni-4 4000 kms. Test fired in 2014, December. Although Hindu is gone crazier than usual in covering this topic during December 2014 so it ought to be the most important topic for next prelims. But since UPSC already asked Agni-4 in in CSAT-2014, so less likely to re-appear again in CSAT-2015.
  • Above 5000kms
  • It is India’s first Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
  • India is the 7th country to have ICBM. Other 6 are US, Russia, China, UK, France and Israel.
  • Taepodong-2: North Korea’s ICBM.


  • Both Prithvi and Agni are Surface to surface missiles.
  • 20 meters tall. Two stage solid fuel engine.
  • Can carry nuclear weapons upto 1 tonne. Range 4000 kms
  • Has heat shields so missile can even withstand above 4000C temperature, When it re-enters earth’s atmosphere
  • RINS: Ring Laser Gyro based Inertial Navigation System (RINS), to correct inflight disturbances.
  • Agni missiles are designed by DRDO and tested by Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC), At Odisha’s Wheeler Island.

Chinese JL-2 missiles

Chinese missiles USA’s strategic concerns
  • Can be launched only from Missile silos. USA can destroy silos using conventional missiles.
  • This missile needs lot of pre-launch preparation because it uses liquid fuel, giving sufficient time to USA forces to launch a preemptive strike.
  • 10,000 kms range.
  • But, difficult to hide from USA’s Global Hawk drones (India also interested in buying those drones!)
Dongfeng-31B Upgraded version of Dongfeng 31A, to reach most American and European cities. Later DF-41 missiles with 12,000 kms range to reach every American city.
USA’s Asian pivot policy to increase military presence in the region by 2020- particularly to deter China and North Korea.
  • Now, China aims deploy Julang (JL-2) long range nuclear missiles on its submarines. Range: 7350 kms.
  • This will help China launch a “second strike” on Alaska and Hawaii. IF USA destroy all its nuclear weapons on land.

[Block-3] Indian Navy

Dismantling of INS Vikrant begins

Aircraft carriers of Indian Navy
Vikrant (UK) Vikrant (Desi) Virat Vikramaditya
Who? HMS Hercules (Britain) built at Kochi Britain Admiral Gorchakov(Russia)
Joined? 1961 2013 1987 bought in 2004, got in 2013
Retired 1997 ?? 2017-18 ??

Story of INS Vikrant

  • 1961 to 1997: INS Vikrant served in Indian navy, participated in blockade of Pakistan during 1971’s war.
  • 2014: Navy sells INS Vikrant to a Mumbai company for scrap metal at 63 crore rupees.
  • Bombay Highcourt rejects PIL to convert Vikrant into a naval museum.
  • Maharashtra Government says it doesn’t have enough money to maintain this vessel as a ‘museum’, better just scrap it.
  • TheHindu goes more emotional than usual, running same news story for almost 2 weeks in December 2014. Hence topic automatically becomes important for competitive exams.
Navy: Misc. Developments
INS Sindhuratna
  • Late 80s: Submarine commissioned in Indian Navy
  • 2013, August: Submarine caught fire, 18 personnel killed. Admiral DK Joshi resigned taking the ‘moral responsibility’.
  • 2014, Dec: New Defense ministry Manohar Parikkar says inquiry yet to finish.
Project 75I
  • This project will Build 6 diesel-electric powered stealth submarines in India.
  • With Anti-air-independent propulsion system to prevent enemies from detecting submarines.
  • Will have Land attack capability using Brahmos Mini missiles.
Air-Independent Propulsion
  • It contains 2nd generation hydrogen fuel cell, so submarine can recharge its batteries underwater, without coming on surface. This prevents enemies from detecting our submarines
  • DRDO will fit the AIP system on Scorpene submarines . And later in Project 75-I submarines.
  • Hull mounted sonar. NG stands for “new generation”.
  • These Sonars will help our navy to detect enemy-divers trying to attack Indian harbors.
INS Kolkata Largest Anti-submarine warship, built by India.

[Block-4] Defense exercises and Misc. developments

Defense Exercises held in November 2014
Defense of Gujarat
  • Navy, Coast guard and Airforce
  • To prevent repeat of 26/11 terrorist attack.
  • To combat smuggling, trans-national crimes and terrorism.
Hand in Hand
  • Indian and Chinese Army, Held at Pune, 4th Edition.
  • Focus: Counter-terrorism. Confidence building and future joint operations as UN peacekeeping forces.
Avir Indra
  • Joint Indo-Russia airforce exercise.
  • Location: Halwara, Punjab.


Misc. developments
TRV Torpedo recovery vessel. This ship sank at Visakhapattanam coast in 2014, November.
Navy Day Celebrated on December 4. To mark the success of Operation Trident, in which Indian navy devastated Karachi harbour.
Armed Forces Flag Day Observed on December 7, since 1949.
INS Sukanya, Deepak etc. Delivered fresh water to Maldives after country’s desalination plant got damaged.
Binola, Haryana Government will setup Indian national defense university here.
  • Chinese Mobile company. It forwards IMEI, address book, text message to its Beijing server.
  • Hence IAF (Airforce) ordered personnel not to use this phone due to security reasons.

Mock Questions

Q1. Consider following statements about Rafael

  1. It is a fifth generation combat aircraft.
  2. Under the proposed deal, France will supply 108 jets, remaining 18 will be produced by HAL under transfer of technology.
  3. Dassult company will be required to invest back 50% of the amount in India, under “offset policy”

Which of the above statements are wrong?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q2. UAV Panchi is a wheeled version of UAV ____, while Nirbhay Missile is based on UAV _____.

  1. Nethra, Nishant
  2. Nishant, Nethra
  3. Nishant, Lakshya
  4. Lakshya, Nishant

Q3. Consider following statements about Dhruv helicopters

  1. They can be used for transport, surveillance and relief operations only.
  2. Dhruv helicopters use Shakti Engine.
  3. They’re manufactured by Pawan Hans ltd.

Correct statements are

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Q4. Consider following weapon systems:

  1. Akash missile
  2. Schilika
  3. NAG

Which of them are ideal against enemy-aircraft?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of them

Q5. Consider following missiles

  1. Agni-4
  2. Nirbhay
  3. Prithvi-3
  4. Akash

Arrange them in ascending order of their range?

  1. 1234
  2. 1243
  3. 2143
  4. 4321

Q6. Nirbhay is a ____sonic missile and Brahmos is a ___sonic missile.

  1. Sub, sub
  2. sub,super
  3. sub,hyper
  4. hyper,sub

Q7. (CSAT-2014) Which reference to Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. It is a surface-to-surface missile.
  2. It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
  3. It can deliver one-tonne nuclear warheads about 7500 km away.

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q8. Find incorrect pairs

  1. INS Viraat: HMS Hercules
  2. INS Vikramaditya : Admiral Gorchakov
  3. INS Sindhuratna: Fast petrol vessel.

Incorrect pairs are

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of them

Q9. Correct statements about INS Vikrant

  1. It was an aircraft carrier, purchased from France.
  2. Vikrant was decommissioned after its last service at rescue-relief operations during 2004’s Tsunami
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q10. Correct statements about Dhanush Howitzer?

  1. They indigenously manufactured, using Israel’s Spike howitzer design.
  2. It can deliver upto half-tonne artillery shells about 50 kms away.
  3. Both A and B
  4. Neither A nor B

Q11. Hand in hand is a joint _____ exercise between India and ____.

  1. mechanized warfare, USA
  2. airforce, China
  3. Navy, Russia
  4. Counter terrorism, China

Q12. Avir Indra is a joint airforce exercise between India and ____, held at ____ in 2014.

  1. USA, Bangaluru
  2. USA, Punjab
  3. Russia, Bangaluru
  4. Russia, Punjab


  1. Has India made the right choice in purchasing Rafael as our MMRCA?
  2. Has India made the right choice in scrapping the legendary INS Vikrant rather than turning it into a naval Museum?