Everything about INS Kalvari

INS Kalvari

• INS Kalvari is a Scorpene-class submarine described as a “deadly predator”.

• It is one of six built by Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai as a part of Project-75 of the Indian Navy.

• Kalvariis a potent Man o’ War capable of undertaking offensive operations spanning across the entire spectrum of Maritime Warfare.

• Kalvari is named after a deep sea tiger shark and weighs about 1,600 tonnes.

• The state-of-the-art features of the Scorpenes include superior stealth and ability to launch crippling attacks with precision-guided weapons.

• The boat also has two 1250 kW MAN diesel engines for rapidly charging batteries.

• The submarine boasts of a highly advanced Combat Management System and a sophisticated Integrated Platform Management System.

• India has just about 15 submarines, a mix of Russian-origin Kilo-class vessels and German HDW submarines.

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Everything about Missiles

What is a missile?

  • A missile is essentially a sophisticated bomb which after being released is governed by the laws of ballistics.
  • The laws of ballistics means only the force of gravity acts upon it.
  • It can be made more accurate and faster by attaching a propulsion system to the bomb and then it is called a rocket.
  • If guided and controlled, a rocket can be made deadlier and that is what a missile is.
  • The missiles can carry tons of nuclear warheads at speeds way higher than fighter planes.

Classification

Missiles are classified variously based on the launching system. Thus, missiles can be:

  • Surface-to-Surface Missile
  • Surface-to-Air Missile
  • Surface (Coast)-to-Sea Missile
  • Air-to-Air Missile
  • Air-to-Surface Missile
  • Sea-to-Sea Missile
  • Sea-to-Surface (Coast) Missile

Based on the working principle, missiles can be:

  • Ballistics
  • Cruise

Classified by range and proposed use, missiles can be:

  • Short RMedium RaIntermediate RangeMissile
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

How is a ballistic missile different from a cruise one?

  • A ballistic missile is used to hit a predetermined target —launched such that it burns most of its fuel to attain the desired velocity in the first phase (also called the boost phase).
  • Such a missile can only be guided during the powered phase of flight.
  • 31 countries have operational ballistic missile systems.
  • India’s Agni and Prithvi are ballistic missile.
  • A cruise missile is a small pilotless craft that carries an explosive warhead.
  • It has wings and an engine, but is built more economically.
  • It is steered by inertial navigation system (INS), that’s also used by airplanes.
  • A cruise missile can be made so accurate that it can be aimed at any specific place like a door or a window.
  • Its flight can be guided for a longer period.
  • BrahMos is a cruise missile system.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile

  • Ballistic missiles are categorised according to their range, which is the maximum distance along the surface of the earth from the point of launch to the point of impact of its payload.
  • Until recently, Russia, US, China, the UK, France and Israel were the only countries with operational ICBM technology.
  • With Hwasong-15, North Korea’s joined this club.
  • With over 5,000-km range, India’s Agni-V also qualifies for this club.

Which countries have the longest range of operational ballistic missiles?

Russia, US and China have many missile systems that qualify for the ICBM range.

Everything about Umang App (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG)

Umang (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) app:

• It is a unified app to serve e-governance through mobile devices.

• It is developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and National e-Governance Division (NeGD).

• It is to offer services of the central, state, local bodies and various government agencies right on Android and iOS based mobile devices.

• It will provide over a hundred citizen-centric services.

• At the back-end, these services will be catered for by many different departments of the Union and State Governments.

• This integrated approach will add an automatic layer of ‘peer performance pressure’, in the working of these departments.

List of services:

• The Umang app bundles a list of Digital India services, including Aadhaar, DigiLocker and PayGov.

• The app provides citizens with all the major government services provided through app, web, SMS and IVR channels.

• The citizens can use the app to access their income tax filing, LPG cylinder bookings and Provident Fund account.

• Parents can use the Umang app to access CBSE results.

Multilingual support:

• The app has multilingual support with as many as 13 languages and includes a payment-based transaction access.

Social media integration

• The app has social media integration that allows to connect your Facebook, Google, and Twitter accounts and enable one-touch login process.

• The interface of the Umang app appears to be convenient for novices.

• The app comes with features like favourites and push notification alerts.

Lymphatic Filariasis

Introduction

• The national health policy had aimed at eliminating filariasis by 2015 but the deadline was extended to 2017 and now has been shifted to 2020.

• But India is likely to miss the target date of stamping out elephantiasis or lymphatic filariasis.

Filariasis

• Filariasis, called hathipaon (elephant foot) locally, can cause limbs, usually the leg, knee downwards, to swell enormously or hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum), causing disfigurement and disability.

• It is caused by various coiled and thread-like parasitic worms.

• These parasites after getting deposited on skin penetrate on their own or through the opening created by mosquito bites to reach the lymphatic system.

• The disease is caused by the nematode worm, either Wuchereria bancrofti or Brugia malayi and transmitted by ubiquitous mosquito species Culex quinquefasciatus and Mansonia  annulifera/M.uniformis respectively.

• The worms produce about 50,000 microfilariae (minute larvae) that enter a person’s blood stream and get passed on when a mosquito bites an infected person.

• The larvae develop into adult worms that can live upto 5-8 years and more in humans. They damage the lymphatic system though no symptoms may show for years.

• It is found that though changes to lymphatic vessels occurred early in the infection, treatment could reverse these in most cases.

Lymphatic filariasis (LF)

• Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), commonly known as elephantiasis is a disfiguring and disabling disease, usually acquired in childhood.

• In the early stages, there are either no symptoms or non-specific symptoms but the lymphatic system is damaged.

• The long term physical consequences are painful swollen limbs (lymphoedema or elephantiasis).

• Hydrocele in males is also common in endemic areas.

• Due to damaged lymphatic system, patients with lymphoedema have frequent attacks of infection causing high fever and severe pain.

National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP)

• After pilot project in Orissa from 1949 to 1954, the National Filaria Control Programme (NFCP) was launched in the country in 1955 with the objective of delimiting the problem, to undertake control measures in endemic areas and to train personnel to man the programme. The main control measures are:

1 Mass DEC administration

2 Antilarval measures in urban areas

3 Indoor residual spray in rural areas.

Strategy to tackle the disease

• Mass drug administration (MDA) in endemic districts ensuring coverage of over 65% population is the global strategy to eliminate the disease.

• Since 2004, the health ministry has been carrying out mass drug administration as part of the Hathipaon Mukt Bharat (Filaria Free India) programme for preventive medication.

• This involves giving at least 65% of the population in endemic districts two drugs:

1 Tablets of diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC)

2 Albendazole once a year for five years

• Children below two years, pregnant women and seriously-ill people are not eligible for these drugs.

• After five years of MDA and 65% coverage, a transmission assessment survey is conducted to see if the district qualifies for stoppage of mass drug administration.

• The new three-drug combination, IDA, involves adding tablets of Ivermectin to the DEC and albendazole tablets and has been shown to reduce microfilariae by 99% with the first dose itself.

• The two-drug regimen (DEC and albendazole) reduces the disease by 60-80% and hence requires five rounds.

• The new drug regimen is expected to help clear the infection faster as IDA would require just two rounds.

Challenges

• India stopped the MDA in 96 of the 256 districts last year. But many of the 96 districts failed a treatment assessment survey by external evaluators.

• The surveillance that identified the 256 endemic districts is now outdated. A fresh survey could push up the number of endemic districts to over 300. This would require an overhaul of programme strategy and consequently, the chances of meeting the 2020 target are slim.

• It’s also a challenge to get people to take as many as four tablets simultaneously, especially when they have no symptoms. Health workers must ensure the person consumes the tablets right then which doesn’t always happen.

• Recently added drug Ivermectin has to be given according to bodyweight, which could mean adding 2-4 tablets to the existing drug regimen depending on the person’s body weight.

• That could be an additional challenge to the programme, the success of which hinges on community compliance (ensuring people take the medicine) and coverage (ensuring medicines reach at least 65% of the population).

• WHO gives India albendazole free of cost but it has to buy 70% of the required DE, 30% is free. Government will now have to find the funds to buy Ivermectin and meet the cost of expanding the programme. Budget approvals for the same are still in the pipeline.

Everything about Brahmos

Brahmos:

• It is a medium-range ramjet supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land.

• It is a joint venture between the Russia’s NPO Mashinostroeyenia and India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation.

• It has derived its name from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.

Speed:

• It travels at the speed of Mach 2.8 to 3.0.

• The missile is first propelled by a solid propellant booster engine that takes it to supersonic speeds.

• After it separates, the missile is accelerated further to around three times the speed of sound (mach 3) in the cruise phase with a liquid ramjet.

Range:

• It has a flight range upto 290 Km.

• Recently, the range variants were upgraded from 290 km to 450 km after India joined the Missile Technology Control Regime.

Fire and Forget:

• It operates on ‘Fire and Forget Principle’, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.

• It takes a variety of trajectories while in flight and is equipped with advanced guidance technology.

• Its stealth features also give it a low radar signature.

Air-launched cruise missile (ALCM):

• It is a cruise missile that is launched from a military aircraft.

• Its current versions are typically standoff weapons which are used to attack predetermined land targets with conventional, nuclear or thermonuclear payloads.

SU-30 MKI:

• It is a twin-jet multirole air superiority fighter jet.

• It was developed by Russia’s Sukhoi and built under licence by India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the Indian Air Force.

• It is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter jet.

• It has a maximum speed of 2 Mach with a single in flight range of 3,000 Km.

• It can carry a payload of 8,000 Kg upto a maximum altitude of 17 Km.

• Till date, Brahmos ALCM is the heaviest weapon to be deployed on the Su-30 MKI.

Completes cruise missile triad:

• The land and sea variants of Brahmos are already operational with the Indian Army and the Navy.

• The successful maiden test firing will significantly bolster the IAF’s air combat operations capability from stand-off ranges.

• The armed forces now have a multi-platform, multi-mission cruise missile that can be launched from land, sea and air.

• This completes the tactical cruise missile triad for India which is a world record.

TRAPPIST-1:

TRAPPIST-1:

  • It is an ultra-cool dwarf star about 40 light years away, located in the constellation Aquarius.
  • It is named after the telescope that discovered this system – TRAPPIST (Transiting Planets and Planetesimals Small Telescop) in Chile.
  • The planets have sizes and masses comparable to the Earth and Venus.
  • It is an ultra-cool star (unlike our sun). Therefore, liquid water could survive on planets very close to it as well.
  • All 7 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. The planets are very close to each other.
  • Based on their densities, the planets of this system are likely to be rocky.
  • The TRAPPIST-1 star is quite old: between 5.4 and 9.8 billion years. This is up to twice as old as our own solar system, which formed some 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Since it is a low mass star, the temperature and brightness almost remains constant. Therefore, it is expected to live 900 times longer than the current age of the universe – 13.7 billion years.

How is atomic bomb different from hydrogen bomb?

How is atomic bomb different from hydrogen bomb?

  • A hydrogen bomb, also called a thermonuclear bomb or an H-bomb.
  • It is far more powerful than the relatively simple atomic weapons.
  • It uses a second stage of reactions to magnify the force of an atomic explosion.
  • The second stage is fusion.
  • Fusion is mashing hydrogen atoms together in the same process that fuels the sun.
  • When these relatively light atoms join together, they unleash neutrons in a wave of destructive energy.
  • A hydrogen weapon uses an initial nuclear fission explosion to create a tremendous pulse that compresses and fuses small amounts of deuterium and tritium, kinds of hydrogen, near the heart of the bomb.
  • The swarms of neutrons set free can ramp up the explosive chain reaction of a uranium layer wrapped around it, creating a blast far more devastating than uranium fission alone.

Nations having hydrogen bomb:

  • The United States tested a hydrogen bomb at Bikini Atoll in 1954 that was over 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.
  • Britain, China, France and Russia have also created hydrogen bombs.
  • Other nations may also either have it or are working on it, despite a worldwide effort to contain such proliferation.