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Insights Daily Current Events, March 05, 2014

March 05, 2014



Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) system-

China has established a novel system for using land-based ballistic missiles to deter America’s powerful nuclear-powered aircraft carriers from coming anywhere near its coast.

Land-based ballistic missiles, carrying manoeuvrable warheads with conventional munitions, target the aircraft carriers at a distance of about 2,000 km.

The system “will serve as a credible deterrent against American intervention in China’s maritime disputes, of which it has several with its Asian neighbours.

The ASBM had “shaken the traditional view of the U.S. Navy’s unassailable superiority in the Pacific.

No one thought it was possible to target moving aircraft carriers with long-range ballistic missiles. The Chinese had come up with “a very innovative system” based on well-understood components.

China’s constellation of Yaogan military satellites includes those for electronic intelligence (ELINT) gathering that detect radio signals and other electronic emissions from an aircraft carrier and its associated warships. China currently has three clusters of ELINT satellites that provide global surveillance.

In each cluster, there are three satellites that maintain a triangular formation in orbit and can locate ships producing radio signals with an accuracy of 25 km to 100 km.

The Yaogan constellation also includes radar satellites as well as satellites with optical sensors that can establish the position of the aircraft carriers with much greater accuracy.

The current Yaogan constellation can provide about 16 targeting opportunities for ballistic missile launches when the uncertainty in an aircraft carrier’s position will be less than 10 km.

By incorporating over-the-horizon radar that can continually track aircraft carriers up to a distance of about 3,000 km, the Chinese gain the flexibility to launch the ballistic missiles whenever they choose.

China could modify its proven DF-21 ballistic missile to carry a manoeuverable warhead. With onboard radar, the warhead could, as it is descended through the atmosphere, precisely locate the moving aircraft carrier and then adjust its trajectory to strike the ship with conventional munitions.

Their analysis of openly accessible images of the DF-21D indicated that this missile variant met the dimensional requirements for such a mission. It could hit ships that were about 2,000 km from the Chinese mainland.

The Chinese military is known to have successfully tested the ASBM against a land-based simulation of an aircraft carrier

Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile- An anti-ship ballistic missile (ASBM) is a military quasiballistic missile system designed to hit a warship at sea. Dhanush, a variant of the surface-to-surface/ship-to-ship Prithvi II missile, has been developed for the Indian Navy. It is capable of carrying both conventional as well as nuclear warheads with pay-load capacity of 500 kg and can strike targets in the range of 350 km. The Missile was test-fired successfully on October 5, 2012 from a naval ship in the Bay of Bengal off the Orissa coast. The Dhanush missile can be used as an anti-ship weapon as well as for destroying land targets depending on the range.


 Science & Technology-

A cheap disposable xylem filter solution to availability of safe drinking water

 In India, more than one in ten households still lack sufficient and clean drinking water, according to the 69th round of the National Sample Survey.

Filter water using plant xylem is new research. In this tests conducted with deionised water in which bacteria and dyes were introduced, the xylem filter effectively removed both when subjected to pressure.

Xylem is a transport tissue in vascular plants that conducts water and dissolved nutrients upwards from the roots. Tracheids, which are cells in the xylem, are shorter and have smaller diameters in conifers, thereby offering higher resistance to flow but a greater cross-sectional area of the stem to conducting xylem tissue. This likely makes it the most suitable xylem tissues for filtration at the micron or larger scale.

This filter should work with real-world water samples as long as it is not highly turbid. Turbidity tends to clog filters, and this one is not an exception.

The researchers prepared the xylem filter by removing the bark of pine tree branches and then inserting it into a tube. The pressure that was used for this study suggests that it is easily achievable using a gravitational pressure head. The device construction therefore seems to be simple, considering that the wood might have to be replaced often. “The idea is that these filters should be inexpensive enough to dispose off rather than attempt to clean them.


It is important to note that these filters are still in their nascent stages. Identifying locally available sources of xylem, testing the flow through xylem of different plants, improving the rejection of viruses up to nanoparticles are some of the challenges that lay ahead.



Black tiger, a shrimp variety getting a new lease of life- The Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), an arm of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), has set up a nucleus breeding centre for this species in the Andamans.

In the past, black tiger shrimps dominated the market because of their fast growth, large harvest size and attractive prices.

In the 1990s, India was unable to sustain the aquaculture production of tiger shrimp mainly due to the spread of white spot syndrome, a viral infection that wiped out the broodstock.


The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) was constituted in 1972 under the Marine Products Export Development Authority Act 1972 (No.13 of 1972). The role envisaged for the MPEDA under the statute is comprehensive – covering fisheries of all kinds, increasing exports, specifying standards, processing, marketing, extension and training in various aspects of the industry.

MPEDA functions under the Department of Commerce, Government of India and acts as a coordinating agency with different Central and State Government establishments engaged in fishery production and allied activities.

Services Offered by MPEDA

  • Registration of infrastructure facilities for Seafood Export trade.
  • Collection and dissemination of trade information.
  • Projection of Indian marine products in overseas markets by participation in overseas fairs and organizing international seafood fairs in India.
  • Implementation of development measures vital to the industry like distribution of insulated fish boxes, putting up fish landing platforms, improvement of peeling sheds, modernization of industry such as upgrading of plate freezers, installation of IQF machinery, generator sets, ice making machineries, quality control laboratory etc.
  • Promotion of brackish water aquaculture for production of prawn for export.
  • Promotion of deep sea fishing projects through test fishing, joint venture and equity participation.