Friday, 7 March 2014

Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine - Dictator & Thug Putin






Submarine INS Sindhukirti stuck in refit for 8 years

Here's another shocker: Diesel-electric submarine INS Sindhukirti has been stuck in a refit at an Indian shipyard for the last eight years. Despite the Navy screaming blue murder over its aging and depleting underwater combat arm, there seems no end in sight for this gross project mismanagement.

Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), which was transferred from the shipping ministry to the defence ministry in 2009-2010, has repeatedly failed to adhere to delivery deadlines of INS Sindhukirti. "There have been many review meetings but MoD has failed to keep things under control. HSL has now once again promised to deliver the submarine by March 2015," said a source.

The "medium-refit" of the 24-year-old INS Sindhukirti, a Kilo-class submarine like the mishap-hit INS Sindhurakshak and INS Sindhuratna, began at HSL in Vizag way back in June 2006 to repair and modernize its hull, cables, machinery, sonar and missile equipment with the help of Russian experts.

The refit was to be completed in three years but it may actually take a decade now. "If the submarine had been sent abroad for a refit, it would have cost around Rs 900 crore, without the huge time and cost overruns witnessed now," said the source.

The Navy, meanwhile, is down to just nine operational conventional submarines due to political apathy, bureaucratic bottle-necks as well as lack of timely decision-making and proper infrastructure at shipyards and dockyards.

Not a single new submarine of the 24 conventional "boats" envisaged under the 30-year submarine-building plan, approved by the CCS in July 1999, has been inducted till now. India, in fact, is struggling to retain its underwater combat edge against Pakistan, which has eight submarines, and is falling further behind China which has around 50.

When INS Sindhurakshak sank due to internal explosions, killing three officers and 15 sailors at the Mumbai naval dockyard last August, it left the Navy with just nine Russian Kilo-class and four German HDW submarines.

Admiral D K Joshi resigned as Navy chief on February 26 after the mishap on board INS Sindhuratna, which killed two officers and left several injured. With INS Sindhuratna headed for repairs, two other submarines are also operationally unavailable due to ongoing refits.

The "prescribed" or design life of a submarine is 25 to 30 years. But, as earlier reported by TOI, almost all the 13 Indian diesel-electric submarines are over 20 years old. Eight of them are over 25 years old. With advancing age, the chances of material failure or system malfunctions on submarines goes up drastically.

Under the submarine-building plan, 12 new submarines were to be inducted by 2012, with another 12 by 2030. But only the first six have been ordered till now, with the project itself running four years behind schedule. The first of these six French-origin Scorpene submarines being built at Mazagon Docks at a cost over Rs 23,000 crore, will be ready only by November 2016. The rest will follow, hopefully one every eight months.

The global tender for construction of the next six submarines is yet to be even floated despite being granted "acceptance of necessity'' in November 2007. It will take at least three years to select the foreign collaborator and another eight years after that for the first submarine to roll out. The Navy does have the right to scream blue murder.

Russia sinks ship to block Ukrainian navy entry to Black Sea


An anti-submarine ship may have been the first casualty of the Russian incursion into Crimea, but it was hardly an act of violence, much less war: the Russian navy sank one of its own, junked vessels to create an obstacle, a Ukrainian official said on Wednesday.
Ukraine Defence Ministry spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Alexei Mazepa said Russian sailors pulled the anti-submarine vessel Ochakov out of a naval junkyard and sank it in the straits that connect the Black Sea with a body of water known as Donuzlav lake. He said the act was intended to prevent Ukrainian navy ships from leaving a nearby base and going to sea.
The sinking was the latest in a series of moves by Russian naval forces in the area that were jangling the nerves of Ukrainian officers.

 Earlier in the week, the commander of the Russian Black Sea fleet, Admiral Alexander Vitko, visited Ukraine’s South Base, according to the deputy base commander, Captain Viktor Shmiganovsky.
''He asked me to invite all the officers and suggested that we collectively take up the Russian military allegiance oath and become part of the Black Sea fleet ... promising good pay and a bright future,'' Captain Shmiganovsky said. ''He insisted we do that to help protect Ukraine from extremist gangs.''
The officer said his boss, the base commander, retorted: ''Comrade admiral, we didn't see any extremist gangs here until you came with your men.''

He said the admiral left ''in a rage''.
On Wednesday, the mouth of the bay was blocked by 10 Russian vessels including the formidable guided missile cruiser Moskva.
''The Black Sea fleet can sail in the Black Sea, but it has no right to block our navy harbour like this,'' Colonel  Mazepa said.
Russia leases the port of Sevastopol and other bases in Crimea, which serves as the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

Russian troops have seized or blockaded a number of strategic facilities in Crimea, including Ukrainian military bases, leading to uneasy standoffs with Ukrainian troops.
While the Russians have mostly worn unmarked uniforms and the Kremlin has denied that they are, in fact, Russian military units, some were seen on Wednesday wearing regulation uniforms, with Russian epaulettes and insignia, a Ukrainian army officer said.
Ukrainian Colonel Andriy Matviyenko said about 200 Russian officers and soldiers arrived late on Tuesday night at the gate of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft brigade stationed in the resort city of Yevpatoria, about 96 kilometres north-west of Sevastopol. They made no attempt to hide their Russian military identity.
''Their commander introduced himself as Colonel Dyatlov, commander of a Russian anti-aircraft unit, who demanded that we open up the gates, let him and his men in and allow them to put our anti-aircraft missiles back on duty under the control and guidance of the Russian armed forces,'' Colonel Matviyenko said.
''I flatly said no, and they turned and left. They had no business being here, on Ukrainian soil.''
He said the admiral left ''in a rage''.
 
On Wednesday, the mouth of the bay was blocked by 10 Russian vessels including the formidable guided missile cruiser Moskva.
 
''The Black Sea fleet can sail in the Black Sea, but it has no right to block our navy harbour like this,'' Colonel  Mazepa said.
 
Russia leases the port of Sevastopol and other bases in Crimea, which serves as the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.
 
Russian troops have seized or blockaded a number of strategic facilities in Crimea, including Ukrainian military bases, leading to uneasy standoffs with Ukrainian troops.
 
While the Russians have mostly worn unmarked uniforms and the Kremlin has denied that they are, in fact, Russian military units, some were seen on Wednesday wearing regulation uniforms, with Russian epaulettes and insignia, a Ukrainian army officer said.
 
Ukrainian Colonel Andriy Matviyenko said about 200 Russian officers and soldiers arrived late on Tuesday night at the gate of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft brigade stationed in the resort city of Yevpatoria, about 96 kilometres north-west of Sevastopol. They made no attempt to hide their Russian military identity.
 
''Their commander introduced himself as Colonel Dyatlov, commander of a Russian anti-aircraft unit, who demanded that we open up the gates, let him and his men in and allow them to put our anti-aircraft missiles back on duty under the control and guidance of the Russian armed forces,'' Colonel Matviyenko said.
 
''I flatly said no, and they turned and left. They had no business being here, on Ukrainian soil.''



China Passenger Jet in Near-Miss in North Korean Missile Test Zone


An aircraft with 202 people on board had a narrow escape after it passed through a North Korean missile test zone, it has been claimed.

Kim Min-seok, a South Korean defence ministry spokesman, said that the China Southern Airlines passenger jet travelling from Tokyo to Shenyang at an altitude of six miles flew through an area five minutes after the rocket had passed through it. The rocket landed in water.

"It was a very dangerous situation," Kim said. "North Korea's provocative actions violate international navigation laws and pose a great threat to the safety of civilians."

A Russian military helicopter violated Georgian air space on Thursday.

The helicopter, which was of the type Mi-8, flew over an area in the vicinity of the towns Gori and Kaspi, according to Georgia’s Foreign Ministry.
 
According to the ministry, the helicopter took off from inside the breakaway region South Ossetia, where Russia has maintained bases since a war with Georgia in 2008, and flew over the villages Arbo, Mereti, Ditsi, Koshka, Kere, Plavi, Plavismani, Kveshi, Mejvriskhevi, Zerti, Kirbali, Bershueti, Tsitelubani, Khurvaleti, Zadiaantkari, Sakorintlo, Kvemo Chala, Pantiani and Veke on March 6 at about 12:20.
 
Later on Thursday, at 18:22, a Russian unmanned aerial vehicle based in the other breakaway region Abkhazia, flew over Georgian checkpoints in the village Khurcha, near the town Zugdidi.
 
Georgia’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern about what it calls another violation of the ceasefire agreement of August 12, 2008, and calls on the international community, diplomats in Georgia and EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia to pay attention to the situation along the ‘occupation line’, in order to prevent provocative actions and attempts at escalation by Russia.