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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Indian Defence Forces-Rank and structure and major equipments in the Army, Navy and Air force

The Indian Armed Forces are the military forces of the Republic of India encompassing the Indian Army, the Indian Navy, the Indian Air Force, Indian Coast Guard and various other inter-service institutions.

The President of the Republic of India is the Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Armed Forces. The Indian Armed Forces is managed by Ministry of Defence (MoD) which is led by Union Cabinet Minister of Defense.

The IAF is one of the world's largest military force, with roughly 1.32 million active standing army and 2.14 million reserve forces thus giving India the third-largest active troops in the world as of 2006 after the People's Liberation Army and US Armed Forces.

Auxiliary services to Indian Defence Forces include the Indian Coast Guard, the Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF) and the Strategic Forces Command. India's official defense budget stands at US$36.03 billion for Financial Year 2011 (or 1.83% of GDP) but the actual spending on the armed forces is estimated to be much higher than that. Undergoing rapid expansion and modernization, the Indian Armed Forces plans to have an active military space program and is currently developing a missile defense shield and nuclear triad capability. The Armed Forces of India possess nuclear weapons and operate short and intermediate-range ballistic missiles as well as nuclear-capable aircraft, and naval vessels.

India is the world's largest arms importer accounting for 9% of all global imports and ranks among the top thirty in arms export. Currently, India imports close to 70% of its weapons requirements, with Israel, Russia and the United States as its top military suppliers. The country’s defence expenditure will be around US$112 billion by 2016.

The IAF served as India's armed forces in all the country's major military operations — including the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1947, Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Sino-Indian War, 1987 Sino-Indian skirmish, Kargil War and others. India is currently moving to build a Indian Rupee symbol.svg9,970.16 crore (US$2.2 billion) dedicated, highly secure and state-of-the-art optical fiber cable (OFC) network for the Army, Navy and Air Force. This will be one of the world's largest, closed user group (CUG) networks for exclusive use by the million-plus personnel of the Indian armed forces. Following 1962, the IAF has had close military relations with the Russia, including development cooperation, such as on the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), and others as well.

Military History of India

India has one of the longest military history dating back several millennia. The first reference of armies is found in the Vedas as well as the epics Ramayana and Mahabaratha. There were many powerful dynasties in India: Maha Janapadas, Matsya Kingdom, Shishunaga Empire, Gangaridai Empire, Nanda Empire, Maurya Empire, Sunga Empire, Maha-Megha-Vahana Empire, Kuninda Kingdom, Chola Empire, Chera Empire, Pandyan Empire, Satavahana Empire, Western Satrap Empire, Kushan Empire, Vakataka Empire, Kalabhras Kingdom, Gupta Empire, Pallava Empire, Kadamba Empire, Maukhari Empire, Western Ganga Kingdom, Vishnukundina Empire, Chalukya Empire, Maitraka Empire, Harsha Empire, Rajput States, Shahi Empire, Eastern Chalukya Kingdom, Pratihara Empire, Pala Empire, Rashtrakuta Empire, Paramara Kingdom, Yadava Empire, Solanki Kingdom, Western Chalukya Empire, Hoysala Empire, Sena Empire, Eastern Ganga Empire, Kakatiya Kingdom, Kalachuri Empire, Delhi Sultanate, Deccan Sultanates, Gajapati Kingdom, Ahom Kingdom, Vijayanagar Empire, Mysore Kingdom, Mughal Empire, Maratha Empire, Sikh Empire, etc. Classical Indian texts on archery in particular, and martial arts in general are known as Dhanurveda.

India has a maritime history dating back to 5,000 years. The first tidal dock is believed to have been built at Lothal around 2300 BCE during the Indus Valley Civilization, near the present day Mangrol harbour on the Gujarat coast. The Rig Veda written around 1500 BCE, credits Varuna with knowledge of the ocean routes and describes naval expeditions. There is reference to the side wings of a vessel called Plava, which give stability to the ship under storm conditions. A compass, Matsya yantra was used for navigation in the fourth and fifth century AD.

The earliest known reference to an organization devoted to ships in ancient India is to the Mauryan Empire from the 4th century BCE. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya's Prime Minister Kautilya's Arthashastra devotes a full chapter on the state department of waterways under navadhyaksha (Sanskrit for Superintendent of ships). The term, nava dvipantaragamanam (Sanskrit for sailing to other lands by ships, i.e. Exploration) appears in this book in addition to appearing in the Buddhist text, Baudhayana Dharmasastra as the interpretation of the term, Samudrasamyanam.

Sea lanes between India and neighboring lands were the usual form of trade for many centuries, and are responsible for the widespread influence of Indian Culture on other societies. Powerful navies included those of the Maurya, Satavahana, Chola, Vijayanagara, Kalinga, Mughal and Maratha empires. The Cholas excelled in foreign trade and maritime activity, extending their influence overseas to China and Southeast Asia.

During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Maratha and Kerala fleets were expanded, and became the most powerful Naval Forces in the subcontinent, defeating European Navies at various times (See the Battle of Colachel). The fleet review of the Maratha navy took place at the Ratnagiri fort in which the ships Pal and Qalbat participated. The Maratha Kanhoji Angre and Kunjali Marakkar, the Naval chief of Saamoothiri were two notable naval chiefs of the period.


The headquarters of the Indian Armed Forces is in New Delhi, the capital city of India.The President acts as de jure Commander in chief of the Armed Forces. While de facto control lies with the executive. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is the ministry charged with the responsibilities of countering insurgency and ensuring external security of India.

Command organization

The Indian armed force are split into different groups based on their region of operation. The Indian Army is administratively divided into 7 tactical commands, each under the control of different Lieutenant Generals.The Indian Air Force is divided into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal. The Indian Navy operates four Commands. Each Command is headed by a Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief in the rank of Vice Admiral.The Indian Coast Guard operations are split into 4 regions, each region is headed by an Inspector General or a Deputy Inspector General.


The Armed Forces have six main tasks:

1. To assert the territorial integrity of India.

2. To defend the country if attacked by a foreign nation.

3. To send own amphibious warfare equipment to take the battle to enemy shores.

4. Cold Start which means Indian Armed Forces being able to quickly mobilise and take offensive actions without crossing the enemy's nuclear-use threshold.

5. To support the civil community in case of disasters (e.g. flooding).

6. Participate in United Nations peacekeeping operations in consonance with India’s commitment to the United Nations Charter.

Indian Army- “No guts , No glory”

The Indian Army is the land based branch and the largest component of the Indian Armed Forces. With about 1,100,000 soldiers in active serviceand about 960,000 reserve troops, the Indian Army is the world's third largest standing volunteer army. Its primary mission is to ensure the national security and defence of the Republic of India from external aggression and threats, and maintaining peace and security within its borders. It also conducts humanitarian rescue operations during natural calamities and other disturbances.

The Indian Army came into being when India gained independence in 1947, and inherited most of the infrastructure of the British Indian Army that were located in post-partition India. It is a voluntary service and although a provision for military conscription exists in the Indian constitution, it has never been imposed. Since independence, the Army has been involved in four wars with neighboring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the Army include Operation Vijay, Operation Meghdoot and Operation Cactus. Apart from conflicts, the Army has also been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.


Indian Army doctrine provides that "The Indian Army is the land component of the Indian Armed Forces which exists to uphold the ideals of the Constitution of India." As a major component of national power, along with the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force, the roles of the Indian Army are as follows:

  • Primary: Preserve national interests and safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of India against any external threats by deterrence or by waging war.
  • Secondary: Assist Government agencies to cope with ‘proxy war’ and other internal threats and provide aid to civil authority when requisitioned for the purpose.

Conflicts and Operations

1. First Kashmir War (1947)

2. Inclusion of Hyderabad (1948)

3. Liberation of Goa, Daman and Diu (1961)

4. Sino-Indian Conflict (1962)

5. Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

6. Indo-Pakistani War of 1971

7. Siachen conflict (1984)

8. Counter-insurgency activities-The Indian Army has played a crucial role in the past, fighting insurgents and terrorists within the nation. The army launched Operation Bluestar and Operation Woodrose in the 1980s to combat Sikh insurgents. The army, along with some paramilitary forces, has the prime responsibility of maintaining law and order in the troubled Jammu and Kashmir region. The Indian Army also sent a contingent to Sri Lanka in 1987 as a part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force.

9. Kargil conflict (1999)

10. United Nations Peacekeeping Missions-The Indian Army has undertaken numerous UN peacekeeping missions

Major exercises

Operation Brasstacks

Operation Brasstacks was launched by the Indian Army in November 1986 to simulate a full-scale war on the western border. The exercise was the largest ever conducted in India and comprised nine infantry, three mechanised, three armoured and one air assault division, and included three armoured brigades. Amphibious assault exercises were also conducted with the Indian Navy. Brasstacks also allegedly incorporated nuclear attack drills. It led to tensions with Pakistan and a subsequent rapprochement in mid-1987.

Operation Parakram

After the 13 December 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, Operation Parakram was launched in which tens of thousands of Indian troops were deployed along the Indo-Pakistan border. India blamed Pakistan for backing the attack. The operation was the largest military exercise carried out by any Asian country. Its prime objective is still unclear but appears to have been to prepare the army for any future nuclear conflict with Pakistan, which seemed increasingly possible after the December attack on the Indian parliament.

Operation Sanghe Shakti

It has since been stated that the main goal of this exercise was to validate mobilisation strategies of the Ambala-based II Strike Corps. Air support was a part of this exercise, and an entire battalion of paratroops was paradropped during the conduct of the war games, with allied equipment. Some 20,000 soldiers took part in the exercise.

Exercise Ashwamedha

Indian Army tested its network centric warfare capabilities in the exercise Ashwamedha. The exercise was held in the Thar desert, in which over 300,000 troops participated. Asymmetric warfare capability was also tested by the Indian Army during the exercise.


The army has a strength of about a million troops and fields 34 divisions. Its headquarters is located in the Indian capital New Delhi and it is under the overall command of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS)


The army operates 6 tactical commands . Each command is headed by General Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Lieutenant General. Each command is directly affiliated to the Army HQ in New Delhi. These commands are given below in their correct order of raising, location (city) and their commanders. There is also one training command known as ARTRAC. The staff in each Command HQ is headed by Chief Of Staff (COS) who is also an officer of Lieutenant General rank.

1. Eastern Command, headquartered at Kolkata, West Bengal

2. Northern Command, headquartered at Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir

3. Southern Command, headquartered at Pune, Maharashtra

4. South Western Command, headquartered at Jaipur, Rajasthan

5. Western Command, headquartered at Chandimandir

6. Training Command, headquartered at Shimla, Himachal Pradesh

Division: An Army Division is an intermediate between a Corps and a Brigade. It is the largest striking force in the army. Each Division is headed by [General Officer Commanding] (GOC) in the rank of Major General. It usually consists of 15,000 combat troops and 8,000 support elements. Currently, the Indian Army has 37 Divisions including 4 RAPID (Re-organised Army Plains Infantry Divisions) Action Divisions, 18 Infantry Divisions, 10 Mountain Divisions, 3 Armoured Divisions and 2 Artillery Divisions. Each Division composes of several Brigades.

Brigade: A Brigade generally consists of around 3,000 combat troops with supporting elements. An Infantry Brigade usually has 3 Infantry Battalions along with various Support Arms & Services. It is headed by a Brigadier, equivalent to a Brigadier General in some armies. In addition to the Brigades in various Army Divisions, the Indian Army also has 5 Independent Armoured Brigades, 15 Independent Artillery Brigades, 7 Independent Infantry Brigades, 1 Independent Parachute Brigade,3 Independent Air Defence Brigades, 2 Independent Air Defence Groups and 4 Independent Engineer Brigades. These Independent Brigades operate directly under the Corps Commander (GOC Corps).

Battalion: A Battalion is commanded by a Colonel and is the Infantry's main fighting unit. It consists of more than 900 combat personnel.

Company: Headed by the Major, a Company comprises 120 soldiers.

Platoon: An intermediate between a Company and Section, a Platoon is headed by a Lieutenant or depending on the availability of Commissioned Officers, a Junior Commissioned Officer, with the rank of Subedar or Naib-Subedar. It has a total strength of about 32 troops.

Section: Smallest military outfit with a strength of 10 personnel. Commanded by a Non-commissioned officer of the rank of Havildar Major or Sergeant Major.


Infantry regiments

On inception, the Indian Army inherited the British Army's organisational structure of Infantry Regiments which is still maintained till today. As such like its predecessor an Indian Infantry Regiment's responsibility is not to undertake field operations but ensure they provide battalions and well trained personal to the field formations, as such it is common to find battalions of the same regiment spread across several brigades, divisions, corps, commands and even theatres.

Infantry Regiments of the Indian Army recruit on certain selection criteria, yet some have been relatively normal such as recruitment within a geographical location such as the Punjab Regiment, Assam Rifles etc. some regimental recruitment criteria are unique to India with some regiment's recruitment pool falling on ethnicity, caste or religion such as the Ghurka Regiments, Jatt Regiment and Sikh Regiment respectively. Over the years various political and military factions have tried to dissolve the unique selection criteria process of the regiments over a fear that loyalty to the regiment or its ethnic people opposed to loyalty to the union of India and have succeeded somewhat with the creation of caste-less, religion-less, non-regional regiments, such as the Brigade of Guards & Parachute Regiment, but have generally met with little success or gained popular support amongst the rank and file Jawans.

Like its British and commonwealth counterparts troops enlisted within the regiment are immensely loyal and take great pride in the regiment they are assigned too and generally spend their entire career within the regiment.

Regiments in order of seniority within the Indian Army are:

Artillery regiments

The Regiment of Artillery constitutes a formidable operational arm of Indian Army. Historically it takes its lineage from Moghul Emperor Babur who is popularly credited with introduction of Artillery in India, in the Battle of Panipat in 1526.However evidence of earlier use of gun by Bahmani Kings in the Battle of Adoni in 1368 and King Mohammed Shah of Gujrat in fifteenth century have been recorded.[citation needed] Indian artillery units were disbanded after the 1857 rebellion and reformed only in 1935 when the Regiment was established.

Armoured regiments

There are 97 armoured regiments in the Indian Army. These include the following historic regiments dating back to the nineteenth century or earlier: 1st Skinner's Horse, the 2nd Lancers (Gardner's Horse), 3rd Cavalry, 4th Hodson's Horse, 7th Light Cavalry, 8th Light Cavalry, 9th Deccan Horse, 14th Scinde Horse, 17th Poona Horse, 15th Lancers, 16th Light Cavalry, 18th Cavalry, 20th Lancers, and the Central India Horse. A substantial number of additional units designated as either "Cavalry" or "Armoured" Regiments have been raised since Independence.

Indian army staff and equipment

The various rank of the Indian Army are listed below in descending order:

Commissioned Officers

Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs) (Active and honorary)

Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs)

Other Personnels

Combat doctrine

The current combat doctrine of the Indian Army is based on effectively utilizing holding formations and strike formations. In the case of an attack, the holding formations would contain the enemy and strike formations would counter-attack to neutralize enemy forces. In the case of an Indian attack, the holding formations would pin enemy forces down whilst the strike formations attack at a point of Indian choosing. The Indian Army is large enough to devote several corps to the strike role. Currently, the army is also looking at enhancing its special forces capabilities. With the role of India increasing and the requirement for protection of India's interest in far off shores become important, the Indian Army and Indian Navy are jointly planning to set up a marine brigade.

Most of the army equipment is imported, but efforts are being made to manufacture indigenous equipment. The Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed a range of weapons for the Indian Army ranging from small arms, artillery, radars and the Arjun tank. All Indian Military small-arms are manufactured under the umbrella administration of the Ordnance Factory Board, with principal Firearm manufacturing facilities in Ichhapore, Cossipore, Kanpur, Jabalpur and Tiruchirapalli. The Indian National Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle, which is successfully inducted by Indian Army since 1997 is a product of the Ishapore Rifle Factory, while ammunition is manufactured at Khadki and possibly at Bolangir.


This is a list of aircraft of the Indian Army. For the list of aircraft of the Indian Air Force, see List of aircraft of the Indian Air Force.

The Indian Army operates more than 200 helicopters, plus additional unmanned aerial vehicles. The Army Aviation Corps is the main body of the Indian Army for tactical air transport, reconnaissance, and medical evacuation. The Army Aviation operates closely with the Indian Air Force.





In service


HAL Dhruv


utility helicopter

HAL Dhruv


Aérospatiale SA 316 Alouette III


utility helicopter

SA 316B Chetak


to be replaced by new LUH, competition to start soon.

Aérospatiale SA 315 Lama


utility helicopter

SA 315B Cheetah


to be replaced by new LUH, competition to start soon.

DRDO Nishant


reconnaissance UAV

12 on order

IAI Searcher II


reconnaissance UAV


IAI Heron II


reconnaissance UAV


The Indian army had projected a requirement for a helicopter that can carry loads of up to 75 kg heights of 23,000 feet (7,000 m) on the Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir. Flying at these heights poses unique challenges due to the rarefied atmosphere. The Indian Army chose the Eurocopter AS 550 for a $550 million contract for 197 light helicopters to replace its ageing fleet of Chetaks and Cheetahs, some of which were inducted more than three decades ago.[52] The deal has however been scrapped amidst allegations of corruption during the bidding process.[53]


The Indian Army camouflage consists of shirts, trousers and cap of a synthetic material. Shirts are buttoned up with two chest pockets with buttoned up flaps. Trousers have two pockets, two thigh box pockets and a back pocket. The Indian Army Jungle camouflage dress features a jungle camouflage pattern and is designed for use in woodland environments. The Indian Army Desert camouflage, which features a desert camouflage pattern, is used by artillery and infantry posted in dusty, semi-desert and desert areas of Rajasthan and its vicinity.

The forces of the East India Company in India were forced by casualties to dye their white summer tunics to neutral tones, initially a tan called khaki (from the Hindi-Urdu word for "dusty"). This was a temporary measure which became standard in Indian service in the 1880s. Only during the Second Boer War in 1902, did the entire British Army standardise on dun for Service Dress. Indian Army uniform standardizes on dun for khaki.

The modern Indian Army wears distinctive parade uniforms characterised by varigated turbans and waist-sashes in regimental colours. The Gurkha and Garwhal Rifles and the Assam, Kumaon and the Naga Regiments wear broad brimmed hats of traditional style. Traditionally, all Rifle regiments and the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, Garhwal Rifles, Gurkha Rifles, and Rajputana Rifles) wear rank badges, buttons and blackened wire embroidered articles of uniform in black instead of the usual Brass (or gold) coloured as the original role of the rifle regiments was camouflage and concealment.

Tanks and armored vehicles

  • T-90 bhishma - India plans to induct Total 1657 tanks by 2020. 620 already in service.
  • Arjun MBT - 248 On order - 170 inducted.
  • Arjun MBT mk 2 - Trials by 2011. Production By 2014.
  • FMBT - The FMBT will be a lighter tank of 50 tons. Development work started.


  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles
    • AGNI V - 5,000 km-6,000 km, test by 2011.
    • Surya ICBM - The Surya missile is a speculation about an Inter Continental ballistic missile being developed by India.Sources say the DRDO's most treasured dream—denied in public—remains the development of an ICBM with a range of 15,000 kilometres, already christened Surya or sun, to match Chinese DF-3 ICBMs. Range 12,000 to 16,000 kilometres.
  • Cruise Missiles
    • Nirbhay Missile
    • Brahmos and Brahmos missiles
  • Tactical Ballistic Missiles
    • Shaurya Missile - It has a range of between 750 to 1900 km.
  • Anti-Tank Guided Missiles
    • Nag Anti-tank guided missile
    • Helina Air launched Anti-tank missile
  • Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program - The Indian Ballistic Missile Defense Program is an initiative to develop and deploy a multi-layered ballistic missile defense system to protect India from ballistic missile attacks.


  • Mahindra Axe - Light utility vehicle to be purchased.
  • Kroton - Possible sale of 80 mine laying vehicles from Poland.
  • Light Tank - 300 tanks (200 tracked 100 wheeled) to be deployed on china border.
  • AHS Krab - Possible sale of 110 from Poland. deal along with kroton .
  • PZA Loara - Possible sale of 100 from Poland. deal along with Kroton.


  • Under the Field Artillery Rationalization Plan, Indian Army plans to procure 3000 to 4000

155 mm Towed, Wheeled and Tracked Artillery Systems.The requirement for artillery guns to be met with indigenous development and production.

  • M777 howitzer - 145 British designed howitzers were planned to be acquired.
  • Modern Sub Machine Carbine - The Modern Sub Machine Carbine (MSMC) is the latest combined venture of ARDE & OFB, developed for the Indian Army on a platform of experiences from the INSAS rifle.

Army Aviation

  • Tender for 197 light transport helicopter Along with 125 for Air Force.To Replace Cheetak and Cheetah Helicopters of Armed Forces.
  • HAL light observation helicopter (LOH) or Light Utility helicopter (LUH) - Requirement for 384 helicopters including for army and air force.
  • HAL has obtained a firm order to deliver 114 HAL Light Combat Helicopters to the Indian Army.

Indian Navy

The Indian Navy the naval branch of the armed forces of India. The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), an Admiral, is a four star commander and commands the Navy. It currently has approximately 67,000 personnel on active duty, including 5,000 members of the naval aviation branch, 1,200 marine commandos and 1,000 Sagar Prahari Bal soldiers, making it the world's fifth largest navy. The Indian Navy currently operates around 170 ships, including the aircraft carrier INS Viraat, along with operational jet fighters.

Though the primary objective of the navy is to secure national maritime borders, India also uses its navy to enhance its international relations through joint exercises, port visits and humanitarian missions, including disaster relief. In recent years, the Indian Navy has undergone extensive modernisation and expansion as part of its aim to become a blue water navy in the near to medium term future.

The Role

1. The Indian Navy sees several principal roles for itself:

2. In conjunction with other armed forces of the union, act to deter or defeat any threats or aggression against the territory, people or maritime interests of India, both in war and peace;

3. Project influence in India's maritime area of interest, to further the nation’s political, economic and security objectives;

4. In cooperation with the Indian Coast Guard, ensure good order and stability in India's maritime zones of responsibility.

5. Provide maritime assistance (including disaster relief) in India's maritime neighbourhood.

6. To play a key role as part of 'a pluralistic security order' for a better world.


The Indian Navy is divided into the following broad categories:

  • Administration
  • Logistics and Material
  • Training
  • Fleets
  • Naval Aviation
  • Submarines



1. Admiral of the Fleet

2. Admiral Vice Admiral

3. Rear Admiral

4. Commodore

5. Captain

6. Commander

7. Lieutenant Commander

8. Lieutenant

9. Sublieutenant


The names of all commissioned ships (and Naval Bases) of the Indian Navy are prefixed with the letters INS, designating Indian Naval Ship or Indian Navy Station.The fleet of the Indian Navy is a mix of domestic built and foreign vessels and is expanding rapidly with new inductions.


The Indian Navy currently operates the Delhi and Rajput class guided-missile destroyers.The next-generation, Kolkata class vessels are expected to be commissioned starting in 2012.


The guided-missile frigates currently in service are the Shivalik class , Talwar class, Brahmaputra class and Godavari class. The Nilgiri class (variants of the British Leander class) vessels have all except 2 been decommissioned. The three Advanced Talwar class frigates (Krivak IV) are also scheduled for delivery by 2012.Further vessels of the Shivalik class are undergoing sea trials and expected to be commissioned in 2011.


The Indian Navy currently operates the Kora, Khukri, Veer and Abhay class corvettes.The next-generation Project 28 and Project 28A class of corvettes are expected to be commissioned starting in 2012.

Amphibious warfare vessels

The Indian Navy has an Amphibious transport dock of the Austin class, re-christened as INS Jalashwa in service. Besides, it also maintains a fleet of tank landing ships and other smaller vessels. It currently has no dedicated helicopter carrier in its possession which is a shortcoming as other navies in the world with aspiring blue water navy capabilities have them, the gap formed is hence filled by indian navy by operating the helicopters from its aircraft carrier to carry out amphibious operations along with anti submarine warfare roles.

Aircraft Carriers

The Indian Navy presently has one aircraft carrier in active service — INS Viraat. The carrier is planned for decommissioning after the induction of the first domestically built Vikrant class aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy will also induct the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya in 2012.


Diesel Submarines

The Indian Navy operates a fleet of diesel-electric submarines of the Sindhughosh and Shishumar classes.India has started construction of six Scorpène class submarines with MESMA air-independent propulsion. These submarines will join the Indian Navy from second half of 2015 onwards. India issued a request for information for another six submarines in 2011.

Nuclear powered submarines

In 1988, India acquired an ex-Soviet Charlie class nuclear powered guided missile submarine with eight Ametist (SS-N-7 Starbright) anti-shipping missile launchers on a 3-year lease. In the Indian Navy, the vessel was commissioned as INS Chakra, and the submarine was manned by an Indian crew. Upon expiration of the lease term in 1991, the submarine was returned to Russia and joined the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.

India paid US$2 billion for the completion of two Akula-II class submarines which were 40–60% completed. Three hundred Indian Navy personnel were trained in Russia for the operation of these submarines. India has finalized a deal with Russia, in which at the end of the lease of these submarines, it has an option to buy them. The first submarine is named INS Chakra, was supposed to be handed over in August 2010, but delayed for unknown reasons until end of 2011.

India's indigenously designed and built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines of the Arihant class are expected to be commissioned starting in 2012. The lead vessel of the class, INS Arihant, was launched for sea-trials on 26 July 2009 in Visakhapatnam. The Navy plans to have six SSBN's in service.

Fleet Tankers

The Indian Navy currently operates 3 replenishment tankers and one has been launched.They are the Jyoti Class Tanker , INS Aditya(A59) and the new Deepak class fleet tanker.The Deepak class tankers will be the mainstay till the 1st half of the 21st century. The 2nd of the Deepak class will be named 'Shakti'.

Planned Acquisitions

The Navy is purchasing from Russia the Kiev class aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya), which will be delivered to India by 2012. The Indian Navy is also negotiating with Russia for the acquisition of further Advanced Talwar class frigates, and six conventional submarines.India started a programme in 1985 to develop indigenous technologies for building a nuclear-powered submarine, known as the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) project .The first Advanced Technology Vessel is called INS Arihant, was launched on 26 July 2009. The hull for the vessel has been built by Larsen & Toubro at its A naval version of a nuclear reactor has been developed at the Indira Gandhi Centre For Atomic Research, Kalpakkam and will be deployed on the submarine's hull after miniaturisation. The Prototype Testing Centre (PTC) will be used to test the submarine's turbines and propellers. A similar facility is operational at Vishakapatnam to test the main turbines and gear box.

Once the vessel is completed, it may be equipped with K-15 as well as Sagarika/Agni-III ballistic missiles and advanced Indian made sonar systems. According to defence sources, the ATV is expected to be commissioned in 2010. Each unit will cost US$1 billion. Government has given approval for constructing the follow on SSBN's which will be larger than the Arihant class submarines. Approval has also been given for the construction of SSN's which will escort the SSBN's.


The naval air-arm is an important component of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy air arm consists of Sea Harrier jets that operate from the aircraft carrier INS Viraat and also from INS Jalashwa.

The Indian Navy also maintains a four aircraft aerobatic display team, the Sagar Pawan. The Sagar Pawan team will be replacing their present Kiran HJT-16 aircraft with the newly developed HJT-36 aircraft.[98] The Indian Navy has also placed an order for 8 P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft. with further orders for four more aircraft awaiting approval from the Government of India.

In January 2004, the Indian Navy signed a contract for the delivery of 12 MiG-29K and 4 MiG-29KUB which will be operated from INS Vikramaditya. The first MiG-29KUB manufactured for the Navy took to the skies in May 2008. The first four aircraft were delivered to India in February 2009. There were also reports that the Indian Navy would purchase an additional 30 MiG-29Ks and -KUBs for the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier.[104][105] The Indian Navy has a requirement of 50 Naval Tejas aircraft. The first prototype NP-1 is expected to fly in 2010.

The Indian Air Force also has a maritime strike role, providing support to the Indian Navy. It operates SEPECAT Jaguar and Sukhoi Su-30MKI Aircraft in this role. The Jaguars are armed with the Sea Eagle missile, which will be replaced with the Harpoon missile. Su-30MKI and the Il-38 will be armed with the air-launched version of the Brahmos cruise missile.

Weapon systems

Brahmos supersonic cruise missile is becoming the primary anti-ship missile of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy uses modern technology and weapon systems, most of which are imported from foreign countries. Others, like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, are jointly developed. There are reports on the joint development by India and Israel of the Barak-II missile system, an improved, longer range version of the Barak-I air defence missile which is operational on Indian Navy ships. The Barak-I is used on most of the main ships of the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy's nuclear deterrence capability is based on Sukanya class ships armed with the Dhanush ballistic missiles that has a range of 350 km.

India has a number of foreign made cruise missile systems, including the Klub SS-N-27. It also has its own Nirbhay cruise missile systems under development. The Sagarika (Oceanic) submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which has a range of at least 700 km (some sources claim 1000 km) forms part of India's nuclear triad. Another successful programme has been the adaptation of the Yakhont anti-ship missile system into the BrahMos by the NPO and the DRDO. The BrahMos has been tailored to Indian needs and uses a large proportion of Indian-designed components and technology, including its fire control systems, transporter erector launchers, and its onboard navigational attack systems. The successful test of Brahmos from INS Rajput (D51) provides Indian Navy with precision land attack capability.

Electronic warfare and systems management

Sangraha is a joint electronic warfare programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy. The system comprises a family of electronic warfare suites, such as Ajanta and Ellora, for use on different naval platforms capable of intercepting, detecting, and classifying pulsed, carrier wave, pulse repetition frequency agile, frequency agile and chirp radars. The systems employ a modular approach facilitating deployment on various platforms like helicopters, vehicles, and small ships. Certain platforms, apart from ESM (electronic support measures), have ECM (electronic countermeasure) capabilities. Advanced technologies like multiple-beam phased array jammers are employed in the system for simultaneous handling of multiple threats.

The Indian Navy also relies on information technology to face the challenges of the 21st century. The Indian Navy is implementing a new strategy to move from a platform centric force to a network-centric force by linking all shore-based installations and ships via high-speed data networks and satellites. This will help in increased operational awareness. The network is referred to as the Navy Enterprise Wide Network (NEWN). The Indian Navy has also provided training to all its personnel in Information Technology (IT) at the Naval Institute of Computer Applications (NICA) located in Mumbai. Information technology is also used to provide better training, like the usage of simulators and for better management of the force.

Naval exercises and cooperation

India often conducts naval exercises with other friendly countries designed to increase naval interoperability and also to strengthen cooperative security relationship. Some such exercises take place annually like the Varuna with the French Navy, Konkan with the Royal Navy, Indra with Russian Navy, Malabar with the U.S. Navy, Simbex[123] with the Republic of Singapore Navy and IBSAMAR with the Brazil and South African navies.[125] The Indian Navy also conducted exercise with the People's Liberation Army Navy in 2003 and will send ships to the South China Sea to participate in the fleet review. In 2007, the TROPEX (Theatre-level Readiness Operational Exercises) was held during which Indian Navy experimented the doctrine of influencing a land and air battle to support the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force. Apart from the Indian Ocean, India has steadily gained influence in the Pacific Ocean. In 2007, Indian Navy conducted naval exercise with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and U.S Navy in the Pacificand also signed an agreement with Japan in October 2008 for joint naval patrolling in the Asia-Pacific region.

India has also held naval exercise with Vietnam, Philippines and New Zealand. In 2007, India and South Korea decided to conduct annual naval exercise and India participated in the South Korean international fleet review. In addition, Indian Navy will also be increasing naval cooperation with other allies, particularly with Germany and Arab states of the Persian Gulf including Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. India held the first Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) with an objective to provide a forum for all the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean to cooperate on mutually agreed areas for better security in the region. The Indian Navy is increasingly used in international diplomacy. Since 2000, the Indian naval ships have made port calls in Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Greece, Oman, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, South Africa, Kenya, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and other countries in 2005–2007.

The first Atlantic Ocean deployment of the Indian Navy happened in 2009. During this deployment, the Indian Naval fleet will conduct exercise with the French, German, Russian and British Navies.


The Indian Navy regularly conducts adventure expeditions. The sailing ship and training vessel INS Tarangini began circumnavigating the world on 23 January 2003, intending to foster good relations with various other nations; she returned to India in May of the following year after visiting 36 ports in 18 nations. INS Tarangini returned to port, after a ten month long overseas voyage named Lokayan 07. Lt. Cdr. M.S. Kohli led the Indian Navy’s first successful expedition to Mount Everest in 1965; the Navy’s ensign was again flown atop Everest on 19 May 2004 by a similar expedition. Another Navy team also successfully scaled Everest from the north face, the technically more challenging route. The expedition was led by Cdr Satyabrata Dam, belonging to the elite submarine arm. Cdr. Dam is a mountaineer of international repute and has climbed many mountains including the Patagonias, the Alps among others. This team's record is unmatched by any other navy. The Navy was also the first to send a submariner to summit Everest.

Indian Air Force

The Indian Air Force is the air arm of the Indian armed forces. Its primary responsibility is to secure Indian airspace and to conduct aerial warfare during a conflict. It was officially established on 8 October 1932 as an auxiliary air force of the Indian Empire and the prefix Royal was added in 1945 in recognition of its services during World War II. After India achieved independence from the United Kingdom in 1947, the Royal Indian Air Force served the Union of India, with the prefix being dropped when India became a republic in 1950.

Since independence, the IAF has been involved in four wars with neighbouring Pakistan and one with the People's Republic of China. Other major operations undertaken by the IAF include Operation Vijay - the invasion of Goa, Operation Meghdoot, Operation Cactus and Operation Poomalai. Apart from conflicts, the IAF has been an active participant in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

The President of India serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the IAF. The Chief of Air Staff, an Air Chief Marshal (ACM), is a four star commander and commands the Air Force. There is never more than one serving ACM at any given time in the IAF. One officer Arjan Singh , DFC has been conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force, a 5-star rank and the officer serves as the ceremonial chief. With strength of approximately 170,000 personnel and 1,600+ aircraft, the Indian Air Force is the world's fourth largest air force after the United States Air Force, Russian Air Force and China's People's Liberation Army Air Force. In recent years, the IAF has undertaken an ambitious expansion and modernisation program to replace its aging Soviet-era fighter jets.


The IAF's mission is defined by the Armed Forces Act of 1947, Constitution of India and the Air Force Act of 1950, in the aerial battlespace, as:

Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation.

Thus, the IAF has the primary objective of safeguarding Indian territory and national interests from all threats in conjunction with the other branches of the armed forces by defending Indian airspace. The IAF provides close air support to the Indian Army troops in the battlefield and also provides strategic and tactical airlift capabilities. The IAF also operates the Integrated Space Cell together with the other two branches of the Indian Armed Forces, the civilian Department of Space and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to utilize more effectively the country's space-based assets for military purposes and to look into threats to these assets

The President of India is the Supreme Commander of all Indian armed forces and by virtue of that fact is the notional Commander-in-chief of the Air Force. Chief of the Air Staff with the rank of Air Chief Marshal is the Commander of the Indian Air Force. He is assisted by six officers: a Vice Chief of the Air Staff, a Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, the Air Officer in Charge of Administration, the Air Officer in Charge of Personnel, the Air Officer in Charge of Maintenance, and the Inspector General of Flight Safety. In January 2002, the government conferred the rank of Marshal of the Air Force on Arjan Singh making him the first and only Five Star rank officer with the Indian Air Force and ceremonial chief of the air force.

Commands and structure

The Indian Air Force is divided into five operational and two functional commands. Each Command is headed by an Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief with the rank of Air Marshal. The purpose of an operational command is to conduct military operations using aircraft within its area of responsibility, whereas the responsibility of functional commands is to maintain combat readiness. Aside from the Training Command at Bangalore, the centre for primary flight training is located at the Air Force Academy in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, followed by operational training at various other schools. Advanced officer training for command positions is also conducted at the Defence Services Staff College; specialised advanced flight training schools are located at Bidar, Karnataka, and Hakimpet, Andhra Pradesh (also the location for helicopter training). Technical schools are found at a number of other locations.

Operational Commands

Central Air Command (CAC), headquartered at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh

Eastern Air Command (EAC), headquartered at Shillong, Meghalaya

Southern Air Command (SAC), headquartered at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

South Western Air Command (SWAC), headquartered at Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Western Air Command (WAC), headquartered at Subroto Park, New Delhi

Functional Commands

Training Command (TC), headquartered at Bangalore, Karnataka

Maintenance Command (MC), headquartered at Nagpur, Maharashtra


The IAF has a strength of 170,000 personnel. Its rank structure is based on that of the Royal Air Force. The highest rank attainable in the IAF is Marshal of the Indian Air Force, conferred by the President of India after exceptional service during wartime. MIAF Arjan Singh is the only officer to have achieved this rank. The head of the Indian Air Force is the Chief of the Air Staff, who holds the rank of Air Chief Marshal.


1. Marshal of the Air Force

2. Air Chief Marshal

3. Air Marshal

4. Air Vice Marshal

5. Air Commodore

6. Group Captain

7. Wing Commander

8. Squadron Leader

9. Flight Lieutenant


The fighter aircraft in the IAF inventory are the primary means to achieve and maintain air supremacy over the battle field. These aircraft are designed for air-to-air combat in order to achieve their goals. The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is the IAF's primary air superiority fighter with the capability to conduct strike missions. The IAF have placed an order for a total of 272 Su-30MKIs of which 142 are in service as of January 2011.

The Mikoyan MiG-29 known as Baaz (Hindi for Hawk) is the IAF's dedicated air superiority fighter and forms the second line of defence for the IAF after the Sukhoi Su-30MKI. The IAF operates 69 MiG-29s, all of which are currently being upgraded to the MiG-29UPG standard.

The Dassault Mirage 2000, known as Vajra (Sanskrit for Thunderbolt) in Indian service, is the IAF's primary multirole fighter. The IAF currently operates 51 Mirage 2000Hs.

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 serves as an Interceptor aircraft in the IAF. The IAF currently operates about 200 MiG-21s, 121 of which have been upgraded to MiG-21 Bison standard. While the MiG-21 Bison is likely to be in service till 2017, the remaining aircraft are expected to be phased out by 2013. The MiG-21s are planned to be replaced by the indigenously built HAL Tejas.

These are military aircraft designed to attack targets on the ground. They are often deployed as close air support for, and in proximity to, their own ground forces, requiring precision strikes from these aircraft.

The SEPECAT Jaguar known as Shamsher and the Mikoyan MiG-27 known as Bahadur (Hindi for Valiant) serve as the IAF's primary ground attack force. The IAF currently operates 139 Jaguarsand over 100 MiG-27s.

These aircraft are designed to detect and distinguish hostile aircraft. The system can be used to direct fighters and strike aircraft to their targets and warn them of hostile enemy aircraft in the area.

The IAF currently operates the Beriev A-50EI Mainstay AEW&C. A total of 3 such systems are currently in service, with possible orders for 2 more.

Tanker aircraft

These aircraft are used for aerial refueling which allows IAF aircraft to remain airborne for longer periods, hence enhancing their effective range. Aerial refueling also allows aircraft to take-off with greater payload (by carrying less fuel during take-off). The IAF currently operates 6 Ilyushin Il-78MKIs for aerial refueling roles. A Request for Proposal for 6 additional tanker aircraft was issued in September 2010. The EADS A330 MMRT and the Il-78 are still in the competition after Boeing withdrew the KC-767.

Transport aircraft

Transport aircraft are typically used to deliver troops, weapons, supplies and other military equipment to the IAF field of operations. The IAF currently operate different types of transport aircraft for different roles.

The IAF operates Ilyushin Il-76s known as Gajraj (Hindi for King Elephant) for military transport roles such as strategic or heavy lift at all operational levels. The IAF currently operates 17 Il-76s. The Il-76s are to be replaced by C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

The Antonov An-32 known as Sutlej (name of an Indian river) serves as medium transport aircraft in the IAF. The aircraft is also used in bombing roles and para-dropping operations. The IAF currently operates 105 An-32s, all of which are being upgraded.

The Hawker Siddeley HS 748 once formed the backbone of the IAF's transport fleet, but are now used mainly for transport training and communication duties. The Dornier Do 228 serves as light transport aircraft in the IAF. The IAF also operates Boeing 737s and Embraer ECJ-135 Legacy aircraftas VIP Transports. The Indian air force has inducted one C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft from US recently. The IAF operates aircraft for the President of India as well as the Prime Minister of India under the call sign Air India One.

Training aircraft

Training aircraft are used to develop piloting and nagivational skills in pilots and air crew.

The HAL HPT-32 Deepak is IAF's basic flight training aircraft for cadets. The HPT-32 was grounded in July 2009 following a crash that killed two senior flight instructors, but was revived in May 2010and is to be fitted with a parachute recovery system (PRS) to enhance survivability during an emergency in the air and to bring the trainer down safely. The HPT-32 is to be phased out soon.

The IAF uses the HAL HJT-16 Kiran mk.I for intermediate flight training of cadets, while the HJT-16 Kiran mk.II provides advanced flight and weapons training. The HAL HJT-16 Kiran Mk.2 is also operated by the Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team (SKAT) of the IAF. The Kiran is to be replaced by the HAL HJT-36 Sitara.

The BAE Hawk Mk 132 serves as an advanced jet trainer in the IAF and is progressively replacing the Kiran Mk.II. The IAF has begun the process of converting the Surya Kiran display team to Hawks. A total of 106 BAE Hawk trainers have been ordered by the IAF of which 39 have entered service as of July 2010.


An important objective of the IAF is to support ground troops by providing air cover and by transporting men and essential commodities across the battlefield. For this purpose the Air Force maintains a fleet of helicopters.

The HAL Dhruv serves primarily as a light utility helicopter in the IAF. In addition to transport and utility roles, Dhruvs are also used as attack helicopters. 4 Dhruvs are also operated by the Indian Air Force Sarang Helicopter Display Team.

The HAL Chetak is a light utility helicopter and is used primarily for training, rescue and light transport roles in the IAF. The HAL Chetak is scheduled to be replaced by HAL's Advanced Light Helicopter.

The HAL Cheetah is a light utility helicopter used for high altitude operations. It is used for both transport and search-and-rescue missions in the IAF.

The Mil Mi-8 and the Mil Mi-17 are operated by the IAF for medium utility roles. The Mi-8 is being progressively replaced by the Mi-17. The IAF has ordered 80 Mi-17V-5s to replace and augment its existing fleet of Mi-8s and Mi-17s, with an order for 59 additional helicopters to follow soon.

The Mil Mi-26 serves as a heavy lift helicopter in the IAF. It can also be used to transport troops or as a flying ambulance. The IAF currently operates 4 Mi-26s.

The Mil Mi-35 serves primarily as an attack helicopter in the IAF. The Mil Mi-35 can also act as a low-capacity troop transport. The IAF currently operates 2 squadrons (No.104 Firebirds and No.125 Gladiators) of Mi-25/35s.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The primary role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is to provide aerial surveillance and reconnaissance. UAVs can also be used as unmanned combat aircraft or pilotless target aircraft.

The IAF currently uses the IAI Searcher IIand IAI Heronfor reconnaissance and surveillance purposes. The IAI Harpy serves as an Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) which is designed to attack radar systems. The IAF also operates the DRDO Lakshya which serves as realistic towed aerial sub-targets for live fire training.

Land-based air defence

Surface-to-air missile systems

The IAF currently operates the S-125 Pechora and the 9K33 Osaas Surface-to-air missile systems. The IAF is also currently inducting the Akash medium range surface-to-air missile system. A total of 8 squadrons has been ordered so far.

Ballistic missiles

The IAF currently operates the Prithvi-II short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). The Prithvi-II is an IAF-specific variant of the Prithvi ballistic missile.

Anti-ballistic missile systems

The S-300 SAMserves as an Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile (ATBM) system in the IAF. The S-300 is also able to detect, track, and destroy incoming cruise missiles and low-flying aircraft.

Indian Coast Guard

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is a branch of the Indian Armed Forces. Its mission is the protection of India's maritime interests and maritime law enforcement with jurisdiction over both territorial and international waters.

ICG was formally established on 18th August 1978 as an armed force of the Union by the Coast Guard Act, 1978. It operates under the Department of Defence of the Union Ministry of Defence.

The Coast Guard works in close cooperation with the Indian Navy, Department of Fisheries, Department of Revenue (Customs) and the Central and State police forces. The ICG is generally headed by a naval officer of the rank of Vice-Admiral.


The Indian Coast Guard's motto, in keeping with its missions, is which translates from Sanskrit as We Protect. Its missions are-

1. Protection of maritime resources

2. Maritime safety, search and rescue

3. Law enforcement in territorial as well as international waters

4. Protection of marine ecology and environment

5. Scientific data collection and support

6. Maritime defence support

Teaching points prepared by Biju P R,Assitant Professor in political Science,GBc,TLLy.OPEN COURSE

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