Defence Current Affairs February 2017
India Successfully Test-fired Agni-IV
- India successfully test fired the nuclear-capable strategic ballistic missile Agni-IV on December 30, 2016. Its Operational range is 4000 km.
- The missile was successfully launched from Kalam Island off Odisha coast. India has a battery of nuclear capable missile like, the Agni series, Prithvi series and the Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile.
- Agni-IV is the fourth in the Agni series of missiles which was earlier known as Agni-II prime. It has been developed by India’s DRDO and displayed a number of new technologies and significant improvement in missile technology.
India Successfully Test-fired Agni-V Missile
- Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the DRDO of India on December 23, 2016.
- Agni-V is part of the Agni series of missiles, one of the missile systems under The original Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.
- The exact range of Agni-V is ‘classified’ or ‘understated’ but afterwards he described Agni-V as a missile with a range of 5500-5800 km.
Chinese Navy Returned Seized Underwater Drone to the USA
- The Chinese Navy handed back an American underwater drone it had seized, returning the device to the USA on December 18, 2016.
- The incident was inconsistent with both international law and standards of professionalism for conduct between navies at sea. China’s opaque policy making, especially on military issues, has left outsiders guessing about who authorised the seizure, whether the act was meant to send a message.
Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon Successfully Tested
- The DRDO has successfully flight tested the Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur off Odisha coast on December 24, 2016.
- It is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision covering a range of around 100 km, SAAW is an indigenous designed and developed class smart weapon weighting 120 kg.
- It was tracked by the Radar and Telemetry ground stations at the ITR during the entire flight duration, the performance of all systems were recorded satisfactory and achieved all the missions, as expected.
Indian Navy’s Eighth Landing Craft Utility Ship
- The Indian Navy’s eighth Landing Craft Utility (LCU) ship, designed and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), was launched on December 16, 2016.
- LCU-L58 is the last vessel in the series of eight LCU ships designed and built by GRSE for the Indian Navy.
- The ship, displacing 830 tonnes, can be deployed for multirole activities like beaching operations for landing troops ashore, humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations and evacuation of personnel from distant islands.
7th Indo-Maldives Joint Military Exercise
- The seventh edition of Indo-Maldives Joint Exercise EKUVERIN was held in Maldives on December 14, 2016. The exercise is a 14-day platoon level joint military exercise between the Indian Army & the Maldives National Defence Force conducted on a yearly basis.
- The aim of the exercise is to conduct military training with emphasis on amphibious & counter insurgency/ counter terrorism operations with a view to enhance interoperability between the two armies.
- The contingents comprises of platoon strength from Bihar Regiment and a similar strength of the Maldivian National Defence Force.
9th Edition of Exercise ‘Indra Navy’ Held
- The 9th edition of exercise ‘Indra Natfy’, an annual bilateral maritime exercise, was held from December 14-21, 2016.
- The primary aim of exercise is to increase inter-operability amongst the two navies and develop common understanding and procedures for maritime security operations.
- The thrust of exercises at sea this year would be on Anti Submarine Warfare, air defence drills, surface firings, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS) and tactical procedures.
- The exercise epitomises the strategic relationship between the two countries. Initiated in 2003, the exercise has matured over the years with increase In scope, complexity of operations and level of participation.
Indian Army Launched ‘Veterans Outreach App’
- The Indian Army launched a mobile application ‘Veterans Outreach App’ on December 8,2016.
- The app, prepared under the aegis of the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (D1AV), has specific features like ‘A^k a question’ and ‘Locator Services’ that enable locating of Ex-Servicemen Cells, Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme Poiydinics. Station Canteens and Sainik Aram Grahs across the country.
- The app. prepared under the aegis of the Directorate of Indian Army Veterans (DLAV), has specific features like ‘Ask a question’ and ‘Locator Services’ that enable locating of Ex-Servicemen Cells.
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India-UK Join Exercise Konkan 2016 Held
- The 2016 edition of of the annual bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy was held from December 5-16, 2016 at Mumbai and Goa.
- It was named after the Western coastal region of India, exercise Konkan was institutionalised in 2004 and is hosted in rotation by both the navies.
- The exercise was conducted in two phases at Mumbai and Goa. The first phase, was held from December 5-9 would be a command planning exercise involving the two navies, where planners from both sides will undertake planning for combined maritime operations.
- The second phase was a Live Exercise (LIVEX), held from December 12-16, 2016 at Goa, and involves interaction between the IN Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the Royal Marines.
HEALTH CURRENT AFFAIRS
Scientists Developed Effective Vaccine for Chikungunya Fever
- The researchers developed the first vaccine for chikungunya fever made from an insect-specific virus that doesn’t have any effect on people, making the vaccine safe and effective on December 21, 2016.
- The newly developed vaccine quickly produces a strong immune defense and completely protects mice and nonhuman primates from disease when exposed to the chikungunya virus.
- Chikungunya is a mosquito-bome virus that causes a disease characterised by fever and severe joint pain, often in hands and feet, and may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash.
- Live-attenuated vaccines that are made from weakened versions of a live pathogen typically offer rapid and durable immunity but reduced safety.
Scientists Identified a Specific Protein called CD36
- The scientists on December 11, 2016 have identified a specific protein called CD36 on cancer cells which has the ability to metastasise or spread.
- CD36, found in the cell membranes of tumour cells, is responsible for taking up fatty acids.
- This unique CD36 activity and dependence on fatty acids distinguishes metastasis-initiating cells from other tumour cells.
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