April 25, 2015

French Aircraft Carrier Charles de Gaulle in India for Indo-French Naval Exercise 'Varuna'

One of the indicators of the expanding strategic ties between India and France is the sending of the French Navy's (Marine Nationale) flagship aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (R91) to the Indo-French Naval Exercise 'Varuna'.This comes in the backdrop of Modi's announcement that India will buy 36 Rafale fighter jets in 'fly-away' conditions to meet its operational requirements.

The Charles de Gaulle nuclear warship was part of the international coalition's Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), bombing various locations held by the Islamic State (also Isis) in Iraq and Syria. It carried out 10 to 15 sorties a day and has a mix of Dassault Rafale M aircraft and Dassault Super Etendard Modernisé (SEM) fighter aircrafts.Apart from the above mentioned fighters, the aircraft carrier carries E2C Hawk eye AWACS, Dauphin and Aloutte 3 helicopters.

The aircraft carrier has already reached the coast of Goa marking the start of the 14th edition of Varuna exercise that will be held off the Goa coast, somewhere in the Arabian Sea. This exercise will also see three other French ships.The aircraft carrier is accompanied by its Task Force 473 that will include frigates Chevalier Paul, a 7,050 tons Horizon-class frigate, Jean de Vienne, a 3,550 tons anti-submarine frigate and Meuse, a tanker. The exercise will also see the participation of the maritime patrol aircraft, The Atlantique 2.

The Varuna Indo-French naval exercise is an annual event between the Indian Navy and the French Navy, this is a integral part of the strategic relationship and cooperation between the two countries.This exercise will take place over a period of 10 days from on 23 April to 3 May, 2015.
It has been reported that Indian Navy will be deploying Indian aircraft carrier, possibly INS Viraat along with other ships and aircrafts. The focus of the exercise will be the theatre-level cooperation in aero-naval and anti-submarine warfare.One of the major attractions in the exercise apart from the French Carrier Charles de Gaulle is Rafale M fighters which are the naval version of the Rafale jets.

Meanwhile, Sitanshu Kar, principal spokesperson, Ministry of Defence has shared pictures of the upgraded Mirage2000 aircrafts that landed after its flight from Istres, France.

Russia release images of U.S. Lacrosse spy satellites


A Russian satellite tracking facility in Siberia has produced rarely-seen photographs of a U.S. intelligence satellite.

The U.S. Lacrosse radar satellite was captured in images generated at Russia’s Altay Optical Laser Center, apparently between 2005 and 2010. A selection of images was compiled and analyzed by Allen Thomson. See An Album of Images of LACROSSE Radar Reconnaissance Satellites Made by a 60 cm Adaptive Optics System at the G.S. Titov Altai Optical-Laser Center.

“The images contain enough information (range, angular scale) to perform a bit of technical intelligence (i.e., sophomore high school trigonometry) on the radar antenna size, which is a significant parameter affecting capability,” Mr. Thomson, a former CIA analyst, told Secrecy News.

While provocative, the intent of the imagery disclosure was obscure, he said.

“Why did the Russians release the images?  The US is highly paranoid about releasing resolved images of spysats, ours or others. The Russian paranoia is at least as great, so how did these images get out? What was the purpose?”

The images themselves seem to be mostly just a curiosity. But perhaps they underscore the growing visibility and the corresponding vulnerability of U.S. space-based assets.

“Our asymmetrical advantage in space also creates asymmetrical vulnerabilities,” said Gil Klinger, a defense intelligence official, last year. “Our adversaries recognize our dependence on space and continue to think of ways to respond to our space advantage.”

He testified at a 2014 House Armed Services Committee hearing on U.S. national security space activities, the record of which has recently been published. Space protection, orbital debris, the industrial base and related topics were addressed.

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