5. INDIA TO CONDUCT ITS FIRST SIMULATED SPACE WARFARE EXERCISE
India has planned to conduct its first ever simulated space warfare exercise ‘IndSpaceEx’ in July 2019 under the aegis of the Integrated Defence Staff. It will basically be a ‘table-top-exercise’ involving the stakeholders of armed forces. The aim of exercise is to bring out the strategic challenges that India could face in the space. It would facilitate in assessing the necessary space and counter-space capabilities that are needed by India. It may be recalled that the government had recently sanctioned the establishment of Defence Space Agency that has started functioning and will be fully established in near future. (Representative picture)
6. INDIAN AIR FORCE TO SELECT 10 POTENTIAL ASTRONAUTS IN NEXT TWO MONTHS
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman Mr K Sivan has informed that the IAF is in the process of selecting 10 pilots for the planned first manned space mission of India. ISRO will thereafter select the final three astronauts from amongst them. The selected pilots will be trained at the ISRO’s Human Space Flight Centre in Bengaluru. The Chairman further informed that the preparations for the first manned mission to space were in full swing and towards this the first meeting of the National Advisory Council was held on June 8, 2019, where representatives of all organisations/institutes involved in the “Gaganyaan” project participated. Former Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma, also attended the meeting and discussed the overall plan, including crew training. While the IAF will handle crew selection and training, DRDO will provide the life support system for crew and Navy will help in recovering the capsule.
7. NO SURVIVOR IN AN-32 CRASH
Wreckage of the An-32 aircraft that went missing with 13 people aboard on June 3, 2019 was spotted on June 11, 2019 at a distance of about 16 Kms North of Lipo and North East of Tato at an approximate elevation of 12,000 feet by a Mi-17 Helicopter undertaking search in the expanded search zone. After identification of the wreckage, the Cheetah helicopters of IAF and the ALH of Indian Army reached the crash site. However due to high elevation and dense forest, helicopters could not land next to the crash site. Nearest landing site was identified by them and rescue operation by helicopters commenced. On June 12, 2019 the Garud Commandos of the IAF, Army and civil mountaineers were dropped from helicopters at landing site. The rescuers established their base and commenced trekking towards the crash site and reached the site. As per initial reports, the aircraft seem to have crashed into a mountain side. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa visited Air Force Station Jorhat on 12th June 2019 to assess the ongoing search operations. He interacted with families of the officers and airmen who were onboard the aircraft. Latest report as on June 13, 2019 indicates that there were no survivors from the crash. The IAF has paid tribute to the brave Air Warriors who lost their life and assured that it stands by with the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace.