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Aviation Civil Aviation: Fuel Policies in India Pg 27 • Israeli Aerospace Industry & the Indian Air Force Pg 24 • Indian Air Force Upgrades Pg 30 • General Aviation: Rollouts Pg 34



News Flies. We Gather Intelligence. Every Month. From India.

ISSUE 4 • 2008



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Taking the time to understand your needs In today’s hectic world, Honeywell recognizes the benefits of taking the time to fully understand our customers needs. Let’s share a cup of tea together, get to know each other and find ways to work as a team.

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Table of Contents


Regular Departments 4 A Word from Editor 6 NewsWithViews


News Flies. We Gather Intelligence. Every Month. From India.

ISSUE 4 • 2008




Kemper caught in a caper Mallya mulls master stroke Solar power from space






The big picture

40 44

NewsDigest LastWord

JSF Programme: Lightning Pace

The F-35 Lightning II—whose development is progressing at a feverish tempo—will serve as a centerpiece for some of the leading international air forces.

An inglorious spat

Cover Photo: ���� A full scale F-35 Joint Strike Fighter model perched atop a pedestal overlooking a rural valley in central New York. ������ ������� Photo credit: Air Force ������� ��������� Material Command ����

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Russian roulette

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4/28/08 1:27:56 PM

SP's Avn 4 of 08 Cover.indd 1

Cover Story





© SP Guide Publications, 2008

Hall of Fame



SENIOR VISITING EDITOR Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia


SENIOR TECHNICAL GROUP EDITORS Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey Lt General (Retd) Naresh Chand SUB-EDITOR Bipasha Roy


CONTRIBUTORS India Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra, Air Marshal (Retd) Raghu Rajan, Air Marshal (Retd) N. Menon, Air Marshal (Retd) V. Patney, Group Captain A.K. Sachdev Europe Alan Peaford, Phil Nasskau, Justin Wastnage, Rob Coppinger, Andrew Brookes, Paul Beaver, Gunter Endres (UK) USA & Canada Sushant Deb, Lon Nordeen, Anil R. Pustam (West Indies) CHAIRMAN & MANAGING DIRECTOR Jayant Baranwal


Owned, published and printed by Jayant Baranwal, printed at Rave India and published at A-133, Arjun Nagar (Opposite Defence Colony), New Delhi 110 003, India. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, photocopying, recording, electronic, or otherwise without prior written permission of the Publishers.

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION Inland: Rs 850 • Foreign: US$ 250 Advt. details may be acquired from the contact information below: SP GUIDE PUBLICATIONS P LTD Postal address Post Box No 2525, New Delhi 110 005, India. CORPORATE OFFICE A-133 Arjun Nagar, (Opposite Defence Colony), New Delhi 110 003, India. Tel: +91 (11) 24644693, 24644763, 24620130 Fax: +91 (11) 24647093 REGISTERED OFFICE Fax: +91 (11) 23622942 Email: REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES BANGALORE, INDIA Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey 534, Jal Vayu Vihar, Kammanhalli Main Road, Bangalore 560043, India. Tel: +91 (80) 23682534 MOSCOW, RUSSIA LAGUK Co., Ltd., (Yuri Laskin) Krasnokholmskaya, Nab., 11/15, app. 132, Moscow 115172, Russia. Tel: +7 (495) 911 2762 Fax: +7 (495) 912 1260

NEXT ISSUE: Business Aviation Enthralls India 2

Contents.indd 2


Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 4:41:55 PM

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Knowing what it takes for you to win Honeywell understands that success in business, like success in sport, is seldom due to individual actions; it is as a team that we can win. With our breadth of technology, experience and global support, Honeywell brings unique strengths to any team and ensures success.

Working as a team ensures success

For more information visit our website at or call: North America – Tel: 1-800-421-2133 • Europe – Tel: +44 (0)1935 475181 • South East Asia – Tel: +61 3 9330 1511 © 2008 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.

03 Honeywell_Hotter.indd 3

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A Word from Editor

Momentous events are playing out as the deadline for submitting proposals to India’s MMRCA deal draws close. As the contenders reveal their cards, the web of India’s ties with traditional partners and new players is assuming the dynamism of a kaleidoscope.


everish pace of progress set by the Lockheed Martin-led Joint Strike Fighter programme showcases the prowess of modern day cutting-edge technologies. The cover story of this issue wonders whether it is possible for India to join the JSF programme at this stage, and comes up with an unequivocal no. Bureaucratic snarls and snags in technology transfer and access to sensitive software for optimum utilisation of the weapons platform are some of the key factors discouraging such a move. While India could do well to concentrate on the ongoing MMRCA acquisition and Russia Fifth Generation fighter programmes, the JSF programme will stay firmly on its anvil. While aspirations to join the JSF programme may for now be have to put on hold, India would perhaps be hard put to turn down the EADS invite to join the Eurofighter programme. “India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long-lasting political, industrial and military relations,” proclaimed Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Military Air Systems, an integrated activity of EADS Defence & Security at a recent conference, throwing “the door widely open for India”. Evidently, the door to India’s defence market has over the recent past yawned to proportions that allows more than a few players to ease in with their wares. A case in point being the Israeli aerospace industry. In the last 15 years, Israel has unseated the Russians to become the biggest arms supplier to India. How did the country, accorded a mere token recognition by India only in the early 1990s, become its major arms supplier? Hemmed in by growing competition and new contenders eager to grab a pie of the Indian defence establishment’s steadily lengthening wish list, the country’s traditional arms suppliers, the Russians, are understandably feeling the heat. Forum and InFocus reflects the rapidly changing kaleidoscope as India takes pains to preserve its established relations and simultaneously forge new ties, discussing at length indications of growing friction—perceived and otherwise—with the Russians. Reacting to a media report on the grounding of Su-30s at Pune’s Lohegaon air base allegedly due to shortage of spare tyres, experts and observers outline the various nuances and notches of the decades-old relationship between Delhi and Moscow. Summing up the Indian military view on 4


A Word from Editor.indd 4

the issue, former Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi points out: “If there are more problems with the Russians than with the others from whom India acquires fighter aircraft it could simply be because we do more business with the Russians. Otherwise, be it Russians, Americans or French—the story remains the same.” Quite understandably, in the light of the larger issues at stake between India and Russia, senior IAF officers are more inclined to brush off damaging speculations as minor hiccups. Even as the buzz of new acquisitions and fresh equations permeates the corridors of military might, business aviation is ragging across Asia. There’s no denying the upswing in business and charter air services in India and business aircraft makers can hope attitudes will change as India Inc gets more comfortable with ‘BizAv’. Among all the good cheer comes the news that, in a bid to bag the MMRCA deal, Boeing has offered its advanced F/ A-18E/F Super Hornet to the IAF even as Lockheed Martin has proposed the F-16IN. We will keep you updated as the other proposals come pouring in.

Jayant Baranwal

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 4:44:52 PM

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Delivering technology for your mission success Jaguar thrust transformation Even on the hottest day, Honeywell’s F-125 engines will enable the Jaguar to meet its full mission requirements. Upgrading to this 4th generation engine offers: • 17% to 40% greater thrust across the flight envelope • 600lb weight saving • 5000 hour service interval No other engine can transform the Jaguar’s operational capabilities like the F-125.

Working as a team ensures success

For more information visit our website at or call: North America – Tel: 1-800-421-2133 • Europe – Tel: +44 (0)1935 475181 • South East Asia – Tel: +61 3 9330 1511 © 2008 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.

05 Honeywell-Hottest.indd 5

4/28/08 10:48:35 AM

Kemper Aviation, based at Lantana Airport in south Florida, is the focus of federal investigations following three fatal accidents that have claimed eight lives in less than six months. In the most recent accident on March 13, company co-owner Captain Jeff Rozelle died along with three passengers. The National Transportation Safety Board of the US is expected to publish probable cause reports and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is conducting a review of the school’s maintenance operation. FAA records reveal that several of the aircraft operated by Kemper Aviation were manufactured before 1980—two were, in fact, 37 years old. Interestingly, among the institute’s students, around 70 are Indians, besides the co-owner, Captain Akshay Mohan, who is also reportedly a pilot with Kingfisher Airlines.




he Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)—in the news recently for inadequate supervision of maintenance standards followed by some major airlines in the US—finds itself in the line of fire yet again. The spate of fatal accidents at Kemper Aviation in the last six months has raised doubts about the work ethos in the FAA and its ability to carry out its mandate effectively, especially with regards to small flying units. Kemper Aviation flying instructors have frequently voiced concerns about maintenance and safety standards. Some lawmakers have also endorsed these observations and are now holding the FAA largely responsible for indifference and neglect which they believe has allowed the situation to drift and degenerate to point where Kemper Aviation is now labeled as having “the worst safety record in the state of Florida“. On its part the FAA claims to have taken Kemper to task in the past for regulatory violations in respect of maintenance and has even imposed a fine in the year 2000. As against 40-odd flying training schools in India, there are 66 in the state of Florida alone. Kemper Aviation tops the list of schools in Florida that have atrocious safety record. In existence for nearly two decades, Kemper Aviation is one of the flying training schools in the US which moved quickly to take advantage of the spurt in demand for flying training in India in the wake of the boom in the civil aviation industry. As per the rules, the company obtained a separate licence to train foreign students alongside local students. It undertook aggressive marketing in India through its co-owner Captain Akshay Mohan who has been employed as pilot with Kingfisher Airlines for the last eight months or so. Kemper Aviation appears to have been eminently successful in grabbing a sizeable chunk of the Indian pie. It had around 70 trainee pilots from India on its rolls. Since 6


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October 2007, soon after Captain Mohan joined Kingfisher Airlines, there have been three flying accidents resulting in eight fatalities, including two Indian students. The flight school has now been shut down for foreign students. Some say this was a step long overdue. However, the sudden closure of the school has left Indian students in the lurch even as they ponder on ways to retrieve the heavy deposits paid in advance. Local students are not affected as licence only for the foreign trainees wing stands cancelled. Captain Mohan, who acquired this company in partnership four years ago, is also its Chief Flying Instructor (CFI) and General Manager. The CFI is a key functionary in any flying training school and is entrusted with the responsibility of direct supervision and management of flying training activities. The quality of training and level of air safety depends on the competence and involvement of the CFI. How the Captain was able to do justice to this critical responsibility while being engaged in active flying with Kingfisher Airlines in India is difficult to comprehend. Even the FAA was not clear on the legality of dual employment on opposite sides of the globe. In India, it is mandatory for a flying training school to have appropriately qualified CFI in position physically to remain legally functional. According to officials in Kingfisher Airlines, at the time of joining, Captain Mohan had claimed he was no longer serving with Kemper Aviation, a claim refuted by emails addressed by him in February this year to prospective Indian candidates advising them to make heavy deposits in US dollars in certain security accounts to enroll with Kemper Aviation. Strangely, on learning of the recent accident on March 13, Captain Mohan reportedly scurried back to the US, taking leave of absence for a month from Kingfisher Airlines. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 2:54:48 PM






One big chunk missing in the airline jigsaw puzzle crafted by Vijay Mallya is that Kingfisher still does not operate a flight to the US, one of the busiest and most lucrative routes. The recent acquisition of low-cost player Air Deccan, Mallya hopes, will fill the blank. On May 30, 2007, Mallya’s UB Group picked up a 26 per cent stake in Deccan Aviation at Rs 550 crore. Subsequently, it invested an estimated Rs 1,000 crore for a controlling stake in Deccan Aviation which owns the Air Deccan brand. According to DGCA norms, an airlines can run an international carrier only if it completes five years in the domestic run. Kingfisher, which commenced operations in May 2005, falls short of the stipulated time period. Air Deccan, on the other hand, completes five years in August this year. However, if thwarted in his ambition, Mallya is ready with Plan B.




r Vijay Mallya must be chomping at the bit like a racehorse denied a run in the grand Derby of the airlines’ international circuit. With the Ministry of Civil Aviation clipping the wings of domestic flights keen on commencing flights abroad by raising the five-year bar, Mallya is quite understandably peeved. Internationally celebrated liquor baron and owner of the United Beverages Group, Mallya formed the Kingfisher Airline, naming it after his world famous brand of beer. The airline started operations on May 9, 2005, coinciding with his son Siddharth’s 18th birthday. In the short span of less than three years since it was launched, Kingfisher Airlines has redefined the whole experience of flying, emerging as one of the topmost market leaders in India’s booming aviation market. Dr Mallya’s personal and deep involvement in managing the airline’s affairs is palpable in every field—from selection of aircraft and flight crews to on-time operation and hospitality. Further, Kingfisher has raised the bar by introducing a whole host of product and service innovations. Within a month of its launch in 2005, Kingfisher became the first Indian airline to order the Airbus A380. It is also the airline which boasts of an all new aircraft fleet. While it awaits the arrival of A380 Super Jumbos, five of which are on order along with five Airbus A350-800 and five A330-200s for international flights, it has already amassed a large mixed fleet of A320 family aircraft and ATRs for domestic operations spanning 32 destinations. The popularity of the airline can be gauged from the fact that in the first quarter of 2008 ending March 31, the carrier’s combined share along with Air Deccan, which it recently acquired, has risen to 29.1 per cent of the total domestic passenger volume, giving the

other major but much older airline Jet Airways/JetLite a neck-to-neck competition. The niche the airline has carved for itself is evident given that in the short time span since its inception, it has been conferred over 30 awards for excellence in different fields of airlines’ operations. For an airline which has achieved so much, being subjected to a seemingly archaic and autocratic rule could be reason for some indignation. A regulation of such a nature may have had some relevance in the past to ensure fledgling airlines prove their worth in the domestic skies before being allowed to spread their wings abroad, and thus avoid possible national embarrassment. But in today’s scenario, as Mallya reasons, posing such time restrictions appears to be totally out of place where capability, capacity and performance should be the main, if not the sole, criteria. He also questions the authorities by citing the example of the UAE airline Etihad which was allowed to operate into India within one month of its inception and proclaims the five-year restriction on domestic airlines to be discriminatory and unjustified. Nonetheless, well aware of the idiosyncrasies of government functions, Mallya is, according to sources, already eyeing a Plan B, such as creating a US-based airline, that would afford him a back-door entry into India, and appointing either son Siddharth or wife Rekha (both US citizens) to assuage the American requirements regarding ownership. Apparently, he is hoping Kingfisher Airline will be allowed to operate abroad by the dint of the rights enjoyed by the recently required Air Deccan which meets the ministry’s time criteria, thereby sparing him the need to implement Plan B which has obvious adverse financial implications. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia Issue 4 • 2008

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4/28/08 2:54:52 PM



A recently concluded study undertaken by the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office (NSSO) has suggested that space-based solar power stations are technologically feasible, provide clean energy and avert potential energy security conflicts in the wake of dwindling fossil fuel resources. The study got underway on April 20, 2007 at the direction of the NSSO Director, Major General Jim Armor, who designated his Chief of Future Concepts, Lt Colonel M.V. “Coyote” Smith, the director of the study. The US Defense Department is putting more of its resources into developing alternative energy sources and its latest proposal involves outer space. The report has recommended that a pilot solar power station be sent into orbit to test whether energy collected from the Sun can be beamed down to Earth as electricity.




s the quest for alternative energy intensifies, space is fast becoming the new frontier for energy security. The concept of a Solar Power Satellite (SPS) or Powersat is not new. Mooted as far back as 1968, the idea was initially dismissed as impractical due to the absence of a method to transmit power down to the Earth’s surface. The hurdle was crossed in 1973 by Peter Glaser. The US scientist found a method of transmitting power from an SPS to the Earth’s surface using microwaves from a, say, sq km antenna on the satellite to a much larger one on the ground, known as a Rectenna. But the concept remained dormant due to technological limitations and exorbitant costs. Solar power has been tried out terrestrially but it suffers from certain drawbacks such as the reduced ability of photocells to collect energy during cloud cover or at night. As Dr Charley Lineweaver from the Planetary Science Unit at the Australian National University in Canberra observes, “The disadvantage we have on Earth is that solar panels work best in very dry places where there’s not much water, in deserts, and that’s not where the people are—the people are where the water is and the water is where there have been clouds.” Advantages of placing the solar collectors in space include the unobstructed view of the Sun, unaffected by the day/night cycle, weather or seasons and the fact that in space these are more than twice as effective in collecting energy as when deployed on the Earth. It is also a renewable energy source with zero emission. However, earlier it was felt that the concept would succeed only if: • Sufficiently low launch costs are achieved; • Political rulers and industry determine that the disadvantages of fossil fuels are so acute that these must be substantially replaced; • Conventional energy costs increase sufficiently to provoke research for alternative energy. Of late, several developments—increased worldwide energy 8


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demand, dwindling oil resources and increased costs, and emission implications—have combined to rekindle the interest in space-based solar power as an alternative energy source. The SPS would essentially consist of three parts: a solar collector made up of close to a sq km of solar cells; a microwave antenna on the satellite, aimed at the Earth and one or more paired; and much larger (up to 10 to 14 sq km) Rectennas on the Earth’s surface. With a simpler conceptual design than most other power generating systems, the SPS would comprise the physical structure to hold it together and align it orthogonally to the Sun. This would be considerably lighter than any similar structure on Earth since it will be in a zero-g vacuum environment and will need no protection from terrestrial wind or weather. Aboard the SPS, solar photons converted to electricity will be fed to an array of Klystron tubes which, in turn, will generate the microwave beam. Solar satellite power (SSP) would be environment friendly to the extreme. The microwave beams may heat up the atmosphere slightly and it may be necessary to select harmless frequencies, but SSP will have no emissions whatsoever. The catch is the cost. But this could eventually be brought down by developing low-cost reusable spacecraft and largely automated systems to build solar power satellites from lunar materials. If successful, the concept could herald a revolutionary change as SSP is probably the most environmentally benign large-scale energy source. There is more than enough for everyone and the Sun’s energy could last for billions of years. It is also felt that at some point, the high initial costs of an SPS will become favourable due to low-cost delivery of power. With crude oil prices soaring above $100 bbl and its rapidly diminishing resources, some estimates suggest it’s time to invest in space-based solar power projects. It might also prove to be a good trade-off against global warming and in preventing potentially costly and devastating energy wars. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 2:54:54 PM





story quoting Indian Air Force (IAF) officials on the grounding of Su-30s at Pune’s Lohegaon air base reportedly due to shortage of spare tyres has sparked a debate in the media and among critics on the quality of spares support provided by the Russians. According to the IAF sources quoted in the report, only 10 to 12 Sukhois in the two squadrons were in a functional state. “The squadrons—each having 16 fighters on an average—urgently required at least another 80-odd tyres to make all the fighters,” an officer purportedly said. The story further elaborated that the lack of spare tyres had been dogging India’s frontline fighters for quite some time now and that, a four-member delegation of defence ministry officials has reportedly left for Russia to seek spare parts, including tyres for the fighters. The Sino-Indian 1962 war and its aftermath, the American military’s bias towards Pakistan, with the latter joining the US-led South East Asian Treaty Organisation and Central Treaty Organisation, and Delhi’s ardent adherence to the Non-Aligned Movement—all of this propelled India into the willing arms of the erstwhile USSR as its principal, if not sole, supplier of defence arms and equipment. For almost three decades, the special relationship between the two countries ensured that India’s defence needs continued to be met by the Soviets. In the scenario of ‘Command Economy’ practiced by the communist Soviet Union, with little relationship between production and profits, India enjoyed the benefits of friendship prices owing to its special ties with Moscow. The breakup of the Soviet Union turned many industries on their heads but the worst affected was perhaps the aviation industry which had inter-dependent manufacturing units interspersed in a large number of breakaway states. Irrefutable and ineffaceable is the breakup’s negative impact on the efforts to maintain the equipment the Russians supplied to the IAF. However, in the reconstruction phase, the new Russian Federation and its allied CIS countries were also quick to realise the importance of the aviation industry for their economic survival to haul it back on track in the best possible way. While India today has a much better choice in selecting its defence equipment suppliers, the large-scale ongoing and in-the-pipeline defence procurement programmes clearly highlight Delhi’s heavy dependence on Russian equipment. Su-30 MKI is one such defence deal of great importance, wherein the IAF is to acquire a total of 230 of these frontline air dominance fighters, out of which 140 are to be licence-produced by HAL in India. That brings us to the problem of shortage of tyres for the Pune-based Su-30 squadrons, which, the published report concedes, is a temporary hitch. The logistics of supplying

Much to India’s dismay, Russia’s state-owned companies that deal with military equipment and related spares are known to arbitrarily jack up prices without full justification and sometimes even without the knowledge of the original manufacturers

spares and inventory management of a frontline fighter such as the Su-30 is truly a tough and complex exercise, so much so that the IAF has invested in Integrated Materials Management Online Services computer-aided system for its highly diversified fleets of aircraft and ground equipment. So far as the availability of tyres is concerned—falling in the category of ‘consumables’ in the logistics parlance—the item should be part of the Automatic Replenishment System. Therefore, there should actually be running contracts for such comparatively low-cost, low-technology consumable products. The problem appears to lie both at the buyer as well as the seller end. There are times when items are outsourced to suppliers other than the original, which irk the latter. On the other hand, Russia’s state-owned companies, which deal with all military equipment and related spares instead of the original manufacturers, are also known to arbitrarily jack up the prices without full justification and sometimes even without the knowledge of the original manufacturers, much to India’s dismay. There is a requirement to streamline and rationalise the procedures at both ends otherwise temporary shortages will continue to occur as has happened many times in the past. As for aircraft tyres, it is a matter of concern and perhaps shame that India is still dependent on foreign suppliers rather than being self-sufficient. Earlier, the then Calcutta-based Dunlop factory supplied aircraft tyres to the IAF till it closed down, citing not only labour unrest but also low demand in the Indian market as key factors. That was several decades ago. Now, taking into account the possible combined demand scenario in the civil and military sectors, there should be good justification to again start manufacturing aircraft tyres of different types in India. It could certainly prevent supply hiccups and reduced operational preparedness, however temporary in nature. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia Issue 4 • 2008

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BIG Picture

In the light of the larger issues at stake between India and Russia, senior IAF officers are more inclined to brush off speculations that shortage of tyres had grounded most of the Sukhoi 30 MKIs at Pune’s Lohegaon air base as a minor hiccup



By Our Special Correspondent


ROJECTED AS LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP spanning from the mid-1960s, in reality what cements Indo-Russian ties is India’s large scale purchase of Russian military equipment. With a level of sophistication lower than that of contemporary western equipment, Russian hardware is fairly advanced, rugged and eminently suitable for Indian conditions. In Cold War days, military equipment from Russia was available to India on extremely favourable financial terms. On a number of occasions, large orders for military equipment from India helped sections of the Russian defence industry to survive. “In the initial period of supply, Soviet equipment was found to be rugged and dependable, though a far cry from being sophisticated and technologically competitive,” says former Vice Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Ajit Bhavnani, adding, “However, the Indian psyche of being able to adapt to existing conditions, made the IAF overcome these challenges, and exploit the systems to its advantage.” Glitches in Russian product support surfaced as early as the early-1980s. With the IAF progressively inducting systems involving higher technology, the problems assumed serious proportions. In a typical case, the Comptroller and Audit General of India on March 31, 1993 published the results of an 10

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in-depth study on the operational performance and reliability of the MiG-29. The report stated that there were extensive problems encountered in operational and maintenance of the MiG-29 fleet due to the large number of pre-mature failures of engines, components and systems. A total of 139 engines—a staggering 74 per cent—had to be withdrawn prematurely and transported to the Soviet Union at great cost as the local facility for overhaul was not ready. Lack of critical components and spares resulted in ‘cannibalisation’ (whereby a faulty aircraft was stripped of its functioning components to equip other aircraft) and even grounding of some aircraft. In the early 1990s, even as India convulsed with economic upheavals, the Soviet Union disintegrated. This further compounded problems, especially for the IAF which was heavily dependent on the hardware of Soviet origin. In the aftermath of the break up, the Indian government was forced to deal with several nations instead of the single entity, Republics of the Soviet Union. “Major problems with availability of spares and repair facilities had an adverse impact on the IAF’s operational capability, especially from 1991 to 1995,” recalls Air Marshal Bhavnani. “The situation gradually began to improve from 1996 onwards. The IAF learnt a major lesson from its thrust of putting all its eggs in one basket.”

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:28:28 PM


FORUM INDUSTRY Post-Cold War, paradigms of the Indo-Russian relationship, centered as it is on defence deals, underwent dramatic and not entirely unforeseen changes. Globalisation of the Russian economy has rendered untenable the traditional rupee-rouble arrangement which has been replaced by hard currency transactions vulnerable to the forces of free market economy. “Admittedly, Russian costs fluctuate dramatically and are largely dictated by escalation factors. This has proved to be a key hurdle for India which has frequently expressed shock and dismay at the sudden and steep hike in costs,” says former Chief of the Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi. Subsequently, the Indian defence establishment was unshackled from the vice-like grip of the Russian military-industrial complex and today, it has several other options to source equipment possibly of better quality and capability, at competitive prices. “Growing proximity to the US, the impending Indo-US nuclear deal, penetration of the Indian defence market by Israel and the loss of a potential $1.5 billion (Rs 6,012 crore) Indian market has undoubtedly led to considerable dismay and despair in the Russian establishment,” says Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey, the former Air Officer “MAJOR PROBLEMS WITH AVAILABILITY OF SPARES AND REPAIR FACILITIES HAD AN ADVERSE IMPACT ON THE IAF’S OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY, ESPECIALLY FROM 1991 TO 1995. THE SITUATION GRADUALLY BEGAN TO IMPROVE FROM 1996 ONWARDS. THE IAF LEARNT A MAJOR LESSON FROM ITS THRUST OF PUTTING ALL ITS EGGS IN ONE BASKET.” —AIR MARSHAL AJIT BHAVNANI, FORMER VICE CHIEF OF IAF

That said, and in the light of the larger issues at stake between India and Russia, senior IAF officers are more inclined to brush off speculations that shortage of tyres had grounded most of the Sukhoi 30 MKIs at Pune’s Lohegaon air base as only a minor hiccup. A recent media report claimed only 10 to 12 Su-30 MKIs in the two squadrons—each comprising on an average 16 fighters—are in a functional state. It further stated that a four-member delegation of defence ministry officials had left for Russia to seek spare parts, including tyres for the fighters. Insinuating as it did that Russian tardiness in fulfilling product support obligations was undermining the interception and penetration capability of the IAF, the report triggered a flurry of denials and clarifications from the corridors of military might in India. Echoing the general opinion of the defence establishment on the issue, Air Chief Marshal Tyagi says: “By all counts, shortage of spares cannot be held responsible for grounding an entire fleet of aircraft. Then again, none of the fighters are produced in India and 100 per cent technology transfer never takes place. Moreover, spare parts shortage could arise not merely because the Russians haven’t supplied these but because India hasn’t “GROWING PROXIMITY TO THE US, THE IMPENDING INDO-US NUCLEAR DEAL, PENETRATION OF THE INDIAN DEFENCE MARKET BY ISRAEL AND THE LOSS OF A POTENTIAL $1.5 BILLION INDIAN MARKET HAS UNDOUBTEDLY LED TO CONSIDERABLE DISMAY AND DESPAIR IN THE RUSSIAN ESTABLISHMENT.” —AIR MARSHAL (RETD) B.K. PANDEY, FORMER AIR OFFICER COMMANDING IN CHIEF, IAF TRAINING COMMAND


Commanding in Chief, Training Command. He rightly points out: “Moscow’s desire to retain India as its clientele is echoed in the statement by Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov in an interview ahead of his maiden visit to India wherein he said, ‘Your country is perceived here as a trusted friend and in Russia we have a saying: an old friend is better than two new ones’.” It is unlikely the transition will proceed apace given the slew of ongoing defence deals with Russia. Deals and joint ventures under defence cooperation agreement inked by Delhi and Moscow in 2001 and currently underway involve investments of staggering proportions. Major ongoing projects include development of a Fifth Generation combat aircraft, medium tactical aircraft, 40 additional Su-30 MKI aircraft, 80 Mi-17 helicopters, airborne warning and control system, in-flight refueling aircraft, air defence systems, aero-engines for the IJT and MiG-29, T-90 tanks, multi barreled rocket launchers, aircraft carrier with MiG-29K, frigates, lease of nuclear powered submarines and mid-life upgrade of a variety of weapon systems and aircraft. “I cannot comment on whether the Russians have squeezed us but if there are more problems with the Russians than with the others from whom India acquires fighter aircraft it could simply be because we do more business with the Russians,” observes Air Chief Marshal Tyagi. “Otherwise, be it Russians, Americans or French—the story remains the same.”

signed the deal on time.” Belying the Indian defence establishment’s diplomatic stance, media reports suggest some of the deals are not progressing too well primarily on account of inability on the part of Russia to honour commitments of contract related to delivery schedule, uninterrupted supply of spares, funding, revision of price and escalation rate and inefficient life-cycle support, among other factors. Such bottlenecks have cropped up in contracts since the 1970s. But rather than being an exception, senior IAF officials insist it’s quite the norm, citing the somewhat similar problems posed by the fleet of Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers from UK inducted a month ago. Dismissed as “teething troubles”, the explanation is hardly credible considering the Hawk has been in service globally for several decades. Today, 70 per cent of the hardware with the Indian defence forces is of Russian origin. Despite India’s prerogative to improve defence cooperation with Europe and the US, Delhi needs to nurture ties with Russia on an even keel in order to maintain operational edge. Besides, in the light of the fact that the world is steadily moving towards multi-polarity, India and Russia are understandably inclined, for mutual benefit, to reverse the perceived erosion in a relationship that has for decades been regarded as strategic. SP — With inputs from Air Marshal (Retd) Ajit Bhavnani and Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey Issue 4 • 2008

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Lightning Pace JSF PROGRAMME

By Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia


The F-35 Lightning II—whose development is progressing at a feverish tempo—will bring new capabilities to not only the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps but also serve as a centerpiece for some of the leading international air forces 12


Issue 4 • 2008

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MILITARY JSF PROGRAMME oncept demonstration and selection in Oc- requirements. The fighter’s designation, F-35, came as a tober 2001. First launch in December 2006. surprise to Lockheed Martin; it had been referring to the The speed with which the Lockheed Martin- aircraft in-house as F-24. led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme On July 7, 2006, the US Air Force officially announced has been progressing showcases the prow- the name of the F-35: Lightning II in honour of Lockheed ess of modern day cutting-edge technologies. Martin’s World War II-era P-38 Lightning and the postDeveloping a highly complex weapons plat- war English Electric Lightning supersonic jet fighter. It form—a stealth-capable, multi-role strike fighter that can may be recalled that English Electric’s aircraft division perform close air support, tactical bombing and air-to-air was incorporated into BAC, a predecessor of the current combat—programme managers encountered the whole F-35 programme partner BAE Systems. bewildering range of suspected and unexpected hitches and glitches. What astonished observers was the resolute THE LIGHTNING II determination with which the hurdles were overcome and The F-35 Lightning II will bring new capabilities to not creases ironed out to keep the programme on track. only the US Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps but also Tracing the origin of the JSF programme puts the focus serve as a centerpiece for some of the leading internaon two distinct projects initiated in the early 1990s: the tional air forces. Apart from the US, the F-35 programme USAF/USN Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) and has eight other partners: UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Turthe Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) key, Australia, Norway, Denmark and Canada. Israel and Common Affordable Lightweight Fighter (CALF). A merg- Singapore have come aboard as security cooperative parer in 1994 resulted in the programme being rechristened ticipants. The F-35 will be produced in three variants to JSF by end-1995. suit the needs of its various users. The JSF programme was created in the US to replace F-35A: The F-35A is the conventional take-off and various aircraft on the inventory of its armed forces while landing (CTOL) variant intended for the US Air Force and keeping development, production and operating costs other air forces. It is the smallest, lightest F-35 version down. The original JSF development contract was signed and is the only variant equipped with an internal cannon, on November 16, 1996 with the announcement by then the 25 mm GAU-22/A. The F-35A is expected to match US Secretary of Defence William Perry that Boeing and the F-16 in manoeuvrability, instantaneous and sustained Lockheed Martin had been chosen to participate in the high-g performance, and outperform it in stealth, payweapons system concept demonstraload, range on internal fuel, aviontion (WSCD) phase. In less than five ics operational effectiveness, supApart from the US, the years, both aviation companies not portability and survivability. In the F-35 programme has only produced the technology demUSAF, the A variant is primarily eight other partners: UK, intended to replace the F-16 Fightonstrators, but also competed with each other. The contract for System ing Falcons, beginning in 2013, and Italy, the Netherlands, Development and Demonstration Turkey,Australia, Norway, replace the A-10 Thunderbolt II air(SDD), the next step in the developcraft starting in 2028. Denmark and Canada. ment programme, was awarded to F-35B: The F-35B is the short Lockheed Martin whose X-35 contake-off and vertical landing (STOVL) sistently outperformed the Boeing’s variant. The F-35B is similar in size X-32, although both met or exceeded to the F-35A, trading fuel volume



Lockheed Martin-developed, the multinational F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) programme—built in collaboration with Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems—is not just progressing ahead of schedule but inching sure-footedly closer to its first production deliveries in 2010. November 16, 1996

October 26, 2001

Development initiated The JSF development contract is signed; Lockheed Martin and Boeing in the race.


December 15, 2006

Fort Worth, Texas Lockheed Martin F-35 completes first ground taxi test.

Contract awarded The US Department of Defense awards the F-35 JSF contract to Lockheed Martin. 14

December 8, 2006

Issue 4 • 2008

January 31, 2007 East Hartford, Conn. Pratt & Whitney’s F135 Engine completes successful afterburner test.

Fort Worth, Texas The F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter completes first flight.

MILITARY JSF PROGRAMME for vertical flight systems. The F-35’s main power plant tributed $1 billion (Rs 3,980 crore) and $800 million (Rs is derived from Pratt & Whitney’s F119 or GE/Rolls-Royce 3,184 crore), respectively. team’s F136, with the STOVL variant of the latter incorOn Level 3, are Canada, $440 million (Rs 1,751 crore); porating a Rolls-Royce Lift Fan module. Instead of lift en- Turkey, $175 million (Rs 696 crore); Australia, $144 milgines or rotating nozzles on the engine fan and exhaust lion (Rs 573 crore); Norway, $122 million (Rs 486 crore); like the Pegasus-powered Harrier, the F-35B uses a vector- and Denmark, $110 million (Rs 438 crore). Israel and ing cruise nozzle in the tail, that is, the rear exhaust turns Singapore have joined as Security Cooperative Particito deflect thrust down, and an innovative shaft-driven Lift pants (SCP). On September 3, 2007, Israeli Defence Force Fan within the fuselage, located forward of the main en- (IDF) Chief of General Staff Lt General Gabi Ashkenzai angine, to maintain balance in vertical flight. This variant nounced Israel’s commitment to purchase a minimum of is intended to replace the later derivatives of the Harrier one squadron worth of F-35s, which could render it one Jump Jet, which was the first operational short take-off, of the first countries outside the US to receive the aircraft vertical landing fighter aircraft. The RAF and the Royal as early as 2012. Navy will use this variant to replace the Harrier GR7/GR9s. The US Marine Corps will use the F-35B to replace both its F-35 DEVELOPMENT: PROGRESS CHART AV-8B Harrier II and F/A-18 Hornet fighters. The F-35B is After the first flight in December 2006, the development expected to be available beginning in 2012. of the F-35 has progressed rapidly. By July 2007, apart F-35C: The F-35C carrier variant will come equipped from the aircraft in flight testing, 11 aircraft were in variwith a larger, folding wing and larger control surfaces for ous phases of production. On December 18, 2007 the Fimproved low-speed control, and a stronger landing gear 35B STOVL version made its debut at Fort Worth, Texas for the stresses of carrier landings. The larger wing area amid customers from the US Marine Corps, the UK Royal provides decreased landing speed, increased range and Navy and Royal Air Force and the Italian Air Force and payload, with twice the range on internal fuel compared Navy. In the meantime, with BAE Systems starting the with the F/A-18C Hornet, achieving much the same goal manufacture of the F-35C, carrier variant on October 18, as the heavier F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. The US Navy 2007, at Samlesbury, England all three variants came unintends to replace its F/A-18A, Band C Hornets with F- der concurrent production. By end 2007 more than 20 35Cs. It will also serve as a stealthier flights had been logged and on January complement to the Super Hornet. The 31, the 26th flight of F-35 was flown for The total production C variant is expected to be available the first time by a US military pilot. figure for the F-35 beginning in 2012. On March 13, F-35 achieved analready exceeds 3,200 other milestone when it succeeded in INTERNATIONAL PARTICIPATION and may touch 2,035, first aerial refueling test on its 34th There are three levels of international test flight. The testing of the F-35 is on making it one of participation, generally reflecting the track for the first production deliveries the most numerous financial stakes in the JSF programme, to commence in 2010. jet fighters. Further the amount of technology transfer and international sales sub-contracts open for bid by the conGEARING INTO PRODUCTION cerned national companies and, the With the funding for the first set of could create demand order in which countries can obtain production model Lightning II already for hundreds more production aircraft. The UK is the sole approved, parts fabrication for these aircraft. Level 1 partner having contributed aircraft is under way. The USAF will be $2.5 billion (Rs 9,947.5 crore) of dethe first service to receive the F-35A. velopment costs. Level 2 partners are The first of the USAF’s 1,763 aircraft Italy and the Netherlands, having conwill be delivered in 2010. The US Ma-

June 12, 2007

October 18, 2007

East Hartford, Conn. The last of the three-step gearbox and propulsion system tests completed.

January 31, 2008

February 13, 2008

March 13, 2008

Fort Worth, Texas The 26th flight of F-35 is flown by a military pilot for the first time.

Evendale, Ohio The GE Rolls-Royce JSF team successfully completes its Critical Design Review.

Fort Worth, Texas F-35 succeeds in first aerial refuelling test on its 34th test flight.

Samlesbury, England BAE Systems starts manufacture of all three variants of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft concurrently. Issue 4 • 2008



MILITARY JSF PROGRAMME rine Corps and Navy together are planning to operate 680 purpose of the Delta SDD is to develop a version of the F-35Bs and F-35Cs. The UK plans to place 138 F-35Bs JSF that meets US National Disclosure Policy, but remains into service with the RAF and the Royal Navy. common to the US version, where possible. With the remaining F-35 participant countries planning Towards this end, in November 2007 Lockheed Marto acquire another 600 to 700 aircraft, the total produc- tin was awarded additional $134 million (Rs 533 crore) tion figure already exceeds 3,200 and may touch 2,035, modification to its JSF development contract, for the demaking the F-35 one of the most numerous jet fighters. In sign, development, verification and testing of JSF versions addition, further international sales could create demand to address Partner Version Air System requirement. This for hundreds more aircraft. Also, amortization of develop- programme adapts to the requirements of potential buyment costs being distributed amongst ers from countries that did not sign such a staggering number of producthe partners’ agreement. Develoption figures could also push down the ment and testing of the JSF Delta Is it possible for India to unit cost to highly affordable levels. SDD is expected to complete by Ocjoin the JSF programme (Well below $100 million, or Rs 400 tober 2013, with first availability now? The answer to that crore, apiece.) of export aircraft to non-partner question would be an countries. unequivocal no, knowing FOREIGN SALES To address the potential sale of JSF to OPTIONS FOR INDIA the bureaucratic snarls air forces and countries which were endemic to even moving a What are India’s options vis-à-vis not part of the original development the JSF programme? From the US file for such a purpose. agreement, the USAF and the Lockpoint of view and in the context of heed Martin have launched the JSF rapidly evolving strategic relationDelta System Development and Demship between the two countries, it is onstration effort (Delta SDD). The not a question of whether India can





Issue 4 • 2008

MILITARY JSF PROGRAMME or cannot join the JSF programme. ReTECHNICAL AND PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS portedly, the aircraft has already been offered either as a natural corollary TECHNICAL F-35 A (CTOL) F-35 B (STOVL) F-35 C (CV) if India selects Lockheed Martin’s F16 in its drive to acquire 126 Medium WING, SPAN 10.67 m 10.67 m Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) WINGS SPREAD 13.11 or even outside its purview. WINGS FOLDED 9.47 Initiated as early as 2001, India’s MMRCA acquisition programme is yet LENGTH OVERALL 15.67 m 15.59 m 15.67 m to cross the second Request for ProHEIGHT OVERALL 4.57 m 4.57 m 4.72 m posal (RFP) stage in which six bidAREAS ders—Lockheed Martin (F-16 Fighting Falcon) and Boeing (F/A-18E/F Super WINGS, GROSS 42.73 m2 42.73 m2 58.34 m2 Hornet) of the US, Russian MiG CorWEIGHT & LOADINGS (ESTIMATED) poration (MiG-35), French Dassault’s WEIGHT EMPTY 12,020 kg 13,608 kg 13,608 kg Rafale, Swedish Saab (JS-39 Gripen) and the Eurofighter Typhoon—are MAX WEAPON LOAD More than 9,072 kg More than 9,072 kg More than 9,072 kg participating. The RFP itself has been MAX INTERNAL FUEL WEIGHT More than 8,165 kg More than 5,897 kg More than 8,618 kg subjected to postponements and it is MAX T-O WEIGHT CLASS 27,215 kg 27,215 kg 27,215 kg still unclear as to when this phase G-LIMITS 9g 9g 9g would eventually get completed. But, even if the decision-making and acPERFORMANCE (ESTIMATED) quisition chain moved on a war-footMAX LEVEL SPEED M1.6 M1.6 M1.6 ing from this moment on, the Indian COMBAT RADIUS 1,093 km 833 km 1,111 km Air Force (IAF) cannot hope to get the first MMRCA before 2014-15. On SENSORS the other hand, if India exercised its • AN/APG -81 AESA-radar option of joining the JSF programme • AN/AAS-37 missile warning system now, it could perhaps get the first F35 as early as 2013. • Electro-optical sensors But is it possible for India to take ARMAMENT such a step? The answer to that ques• Guns: 1 x GAU-22/A 25 mm cannon, slated to be mounted internally with 180 rounds in the F-35A and tion would be an unequivocal no, knowfitted as an external pod with 220 rounds in the F-35B and F-35C ing the bureaucratic snarls endemic to even moving a file for such a purpose. • Hard points: Six with a capacity of 6,800 kg Further, India has already joined up • Missiles: Internal—Four air-air missiles or two air-air missiles and two air-surface weapons; External—Two with Russia to co-develop and co-promissiles and four missiles/bombs duce a Fifth Generation fighter aircraft whose prototype might start flying by the end of this year with possible induction into the service in about the same timeframes as craft”, concerns were still expressed at the lack of techmentioned for the other two types. There are other issues nology transfer as late as beginning of December 2006. which India would do well to examine closely vis-à-vis the Finally, it was only on December 12, 2006, that Lord JSF programme. One of these relate to the level of technol- Drayson, Minister for Defence Procurement signed an ogy transfer and access to sensitive software for optimum agreement which met the UK’s demands for access to softutilisation of the weapons platform. ware source codes and operational sovereignty. JSF partAt one stage, UK, which is the prime Level 1 partner ners lower down the rung, such as Australia, have also in the JSF programme, became thoroughly frustrated by echoed similar apprehensions with regard to the technolthe lack of US commitment to grant access to the technol- ogy access and sovereignty issues. India will have to careogy that would allow it to maintain fully consider all these aspects if and and upgrade its F-35s without US when it considers the JSF. The US Air Force will be involvement. Despite a joint declaPerhaps at this stage it would be the first service to receive prudent for India to pursue its ongoration on May 27, 2006 by the two the F-35A.The first of heads of states President George W. ing drive to acquire MMRCA and the Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair development of the Fifth Generation the USAF’s 1,763 stating: “Both governments agree fighter with Russia, with both the aircraft is scheduled that the UK will have the ability to programmes gathering momentum, for delivery in 2010. successfully operate, upgrade, emand weigh the JSF option at a suitploy and maintain the Joint Strike able future date—possibly in tandem Fighter such that the UK retains opwith the proposition getting progreserational sovereignty over the airsively more lucrative. SP Issue 4 • 2008






Charter Services Trends inAsia 18


Charter Services.indd 18

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 4:52:46 PM


Business aircraft makers can hope attitudes will change as India Inc gets more comfortable with ‘BizAv’



a film/TV crew and equipment to a PROPHESY GAINAir Marshal V.K. Bhatia shooting locale/covering an imporING GROUND GLOBALLY is that tant happening event. One could just be trying to move one’s family from the 21st century say, Kolkata to Bangalore as quickly belongs to Asia. and comfortably after a change in What it actually refers to is the growing economic pros- assignment requiring relocation. Without air charter travel perity in the Asian region. With China one wouldn’t have the freedom to organise trips which are registering double-digit growth in its GDP year after year built around one’s needs. The only dilemma is, should one and India close on its heels, the two biggest countries in the splurge on air charter services for this reason alone when Asian region are transforming into economic power hous- scheduled airlines services provide a cheaper solution? es. China is soon going to be the second biggest economy in There are many other factors to ponder over. Owner of one the biggest business aviation and air charthe world after the US and India is seen inching towards the third spot with predictions that it would overtake Japan in ter services company, the NetJets and by far the richest due course of time. When one looks at the Asian landmass man in the world Warren Buffet bought his first business jet as a whole, stretching from the Arabian Peninsula in the when he was merely a multi-millionaire and immediately west, to Southern Asia and through South-East Asian coun- christened it ‘The Indefensible’, fully aware that the whole tries on to the Far East including Japan; the overall picture idea of a corporate airplane with associate costs would appears to be positive and full of promises. The Asian re- surely invite the wrath of the shareholders at the annual gion is throwing up more companies than ever before to be general meeting. The latest Buffet purchase, a Gulfstream, counted in the global top bracket such as Fortune 500. Sim- has a new name. It is called ‘The Indispensable’. The now ilarly, the number of high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) multi-billionaire believes the use of the business jet played in the Asian region is increasing exponentially by the day. a key role in bringing him to the super league of the rich Globalisation of businesses has also meant much greater and the famous. What might have been seen earlier as a requirement of air travel. While this has generated a spurt luxury toy has now come to be regarded as a vital busiin the civil aviation business which is ness tool as it saves time and boosts prowitnessing a much higher growth rate ductivity. The security element so cruelly Without air charter in Asia than the rest of the world, it has highlighted by the terrorist acts of 9/11 travel one wouldn’t also given a fillip to the business aviation in the US has added another dimension sector to fulfill the travel needs of the in favour of business/private air travel. have the freedom to corporate houses and the HNWIs. If the There are a large number of corporate organise trips which civil airlines business is growing fast, the houses who would not like to risk their are built around business aviation including air charter high-value executives to the possible one’s needs.The only terrorist acts in the air. The same is apservices are growing even faster. How does air charter differ from aviplicable to other high-value individuals. dilemma is, should Private jets may have the appearance of ation that is scheduled? The answer is: one splurge on air being affluent but these are being used in many ways. But from a user’s point charter services for by lots of people. of view the three key factors are flexthis reason alone ibility, efficiency and, of course, privacy. when scheduled One might need charter services anyCORPORATE AVIATION CATCHES ON time. For example, one could be a corIf the terrorists achieved one thing in the airlines services porate level travel planner trying to get a wake of the 9/11 it was to tear down the provide a cheaper group of senior executives from Delhi to barrier that led many industrialists and solution? Mumbai safely and with little downtime. corporations – particularly in the West Or, one might need to shift a seriously – to resist the strong argument to make ill patient from one hospital to another. use of business and corporate aviation Or, one might be in charge of moving services. With growing affluence in the Issue 4 • 2008

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East the same trend is beginning to be visible in the Asian region, too. In addition, business aircraft manufacturers and charter companies are developing more and more solutions to suit a broader cross-section of customer base depending upon individual needs and affordability factors. From the jetliner types of big airplanes for the high and mighty, akin to palaces in the skies costing hundreds of millions of dollars, to very light jets; from full ownership with all the attendant operations and maintenance paraphernalia to fractional ownership and, even down to air taxi type of operations have made it possible for a large number of people to opt for private air travel as opposed to scheduled airlines. A decade ago, business aircraft use was constrained mostly to North America. Now, with the development of fractional ownership packages, lighter, cheaper aircraft and the expanding global economy, corporations in other parts of the world increasingly are seeking out business aircraft services. Demand for business aircraft is growing fastest in the Middle East due to a number of factors, including infrastructure development, security concerns, rising economic power and a burgeoning number of regional suppliers. Honeywell Aerospace last month revised its forecast for business aircraft sales to 14,000 deliveries through 2017, an additional 2,000 estimated orders from earlier projections. Though US orders accounted for 80 per cent of sales 10 years ago, 50 per cent of the deliveries presently are to buyers in other countries. According to the company officials, demand in Asia is growing the fastest, with five years of consecutive growth rates of 50 per cent. According to Ammar Balkar, President and CEO of the Middle East Business Association the private aircraft market’s growth can be attributed to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 20


Charter Services.indd 20

“The demand for business jets went up by 40 per cent worldwide, mainly due to security reasons.” —Ammar Balkar, President & CEO, Middle East Business Association

“The demand for business jets went up by 40 per cent worldwide, mainly due to security reasons,” he says. Since then, the Middle East region has recorded major growth, with six GCC states accounting for 80 per cent of the total regional business aviation activity. They are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. “Time is money at the end of the day,” Balkar says. “Jets offer privacy and confidentiality, quick access in and out of airports via special terminals, and flexibility. They allow you to choose your itinerary, while providing catering and a high quality of service.” For Shane O’Hara, President and CEO of Abu Dhabi-based chartered flights provider Royal Jet, the Middle East’s booming tourist and business industries, coupled with the growing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibition) market has led to increased demand in recent years. With more chartered flights providers entering the market, competition to provide affordable rates has increased in recent years. As a result, demand for business aircraft providers will continue to rise, according to Balkar. He adds

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4/28/08 4:52:57 PM

cedes the company’s CEO, Chuck Woods. In India, there are mixed reactions to the ownership issues of business aircraft. Earlier, corporate aircraft were used by large business houses like Tatas, Birlas and Reliance, who operated the airplanes and helicopters largely to ferry the brass to remote sites where the factories were located. The change now, though slow in the coming, is that small and medium sized companies are joining the club. The change is partly a result of strong financial gains and partly a requirement made necessary by geographical reasons, say industry sources. Citing an example, Gautam Singhania of the Raymond Group says, his company has joint ventures in several parts of the world and connections offered by commercial airlines are often not convenient. “I can fly directly from smaller cities in India to any place in Europe, saving a day by not “I can fly directly from smaller cities having to transit through Mumbai or Delhi,” he adds. in India to any place in Europe, At the top end, some corporates like Kingfisher and saving a day by not having to Reliance are going for large business aircraft that are actransit through Mumbai or Delhi.” tually commercial airliners configured for business use. —Gautam Singhania, The two aircraft in this segment, both costing around $50 Chairman & Managing Director, million to $60 million (Rs 200 crore to Rs 240 crore; base Raymond Group price) are the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) and the Airbus Corporate Jet (ACJ). Four of these were sold in India in the past one year. Kingfisher and Reliance opted for the that the region’s industry is expected to expand by 15 per ACJs while the government of India is taking delivery of two BBJs to be used by the Prime Minister and top guns in cent year-on-year, generating some $1 billion by 2010. the Defence Ministry. The lavishly configured planes can fly anywhere in the world with one reJET ASIA’S GROWTH fueling stop, have the latest avionics In the Far East, a somewhat similar Earlier, corporate and safety measures. There is a great story is being repeated in terms of possibility of more such aircraft comgrowing demand for business aircraft. aircraft were used As a case in point, Jet Asia of Macau ing into India. by large business is expanding its charter fleet this year All in all, there is an upswing in houses like Tatas, with the addition of seven new airthe business and charter air services Birlas and Reliance. in India and soon those still hesitant craft to reflect the buoyant trend the The change now, though and ‘sitting on the fence’ despite their private jet sector is experiencing in wealth, as also companies such as Asia. These include two new Hawker slow in the coming, is Beechcraft 900XPs and four Hawker that small and medium the IT corporates are also likely to be lured into enjoying the benefits of 750s as also a Bombardier Challenger sized companies are business/chartered air services. In the 605. Tourism (primarily casino activjoining the club. meantime, business aircraft manufacity) attracts millions of visitors from China and Hong Kong to Macau each turers can hope attitudes will change year. “Undoubtedly, this has become a as India Inc gets more comfortable key driver for Jet Asia’s growth,” conwith ‘BizAv’. SP Issue 4 • 2008

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Fleet Size

EGYPT Air Memphis Smart Aviation

Cairo Cairo

6 6

Jet Airliner Mid Jet

HONG KONG Priester Aviation, LLC

Hong Kong


Heavy Jet Mid Jet Light Jet

INDIA Club One Air

Mumbai, Delhi


Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, Ranchi Delhi


Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai, Madurai


Executive Jet Helicopter Turboprop Helicopter Mid Jet Turbo Prop Helicopter Piston -Multi

ISRAEL Chief Air Ltd.

Tel Aviv


Turbo Prop Piston-Single Piston-Multi Heavy Jet Mid Jet Light Jet Helicopter

JAPAN Aero Asahi Corp.



Light Jet Helicopter

MACAU Hong Kong Express Airways

Hong Kong


Mid Jet

MALAYSIA Hornbill Skyways



MHS Aviation

Kuala Lumpur


Transmile Air Services



Mid Jet Helicopter Turbo Prop Helicopter Jet Airliner Turbo Prop

PAKISTAN Aircraft Sales & Services



Turbo Prop Airliner Turbo Prop Piston- Multi

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Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 4:53:04 PM

Check out for next launch by SP’s. . . .

We have news for you! SP's Adverta for SP's Avn 4 of 08 .indd 23

4/28/08 11:57:52 AM





In Deed

In the last 15 years,Israel has unseated the Russians to become the biggest arms supplier to India.How did the country, accorded a mere token recognition by India only in the early 1990s,become its major arms supplier?


By Lt General (Retd) Naresh Chand

stablished by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Indo-Israel relations however were kept low key due to the Arab equation. Israel made periodic efforts to upgrade the relationship but were unsuccessfully. Successive Indian governments, however, extended due courtesies where required and tried to acquire Israeli assistance in matters of defence. Indo-Israel relations remained almost non-existent till the early 1990s when the changed geo-strategic environment compelled India to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992. Key factors that effected this turn around were the Gulf War which eroded the unity of the Arab world, end of the Cold War, Pakistan’s propaganda against India in the West Asian and North African states in an effort to internationalise the Kashmir issue, lack of support from the Arab countries during the time of crisis and their support to Pakistan at the Organisation of Islamic Conference meetings. There was also a growing awareness of Israel’s technological success, especially in the defence industry. After normalisation of relations, the two countries continued to explore as many areas as possible for mutual co-operation which included military in a big way. ISRAEL’S MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Hemmed in by a hostile environment, Israel has strived to develop its Military Industrial Complex due to compulsions of security threats. It also helped in achieving self-reliance, carry out import substitution and gradually emerge the fourth largest exporter of defence equipment after the US, Russia and France. Israel has acquired expertise in small arms, ammunition, communications, force multipliers, remotely piloted vehicles, electronic warfare and related systems, night vision devices; naval equipment ranging from command and control systems, missiles and anti-missile systems to a variety of patrol boats. Israeli hi-tech companies are known to be among the world leaders in radar, avionics and command and control 24


Israeli Aerospace Industry & IAF.indd 24

systems, besides acquiring special expertise in the upgradation of weapons platforms, especially with respect to optronics and avionics. One major advantage is that their systems are battle proven and work well in desert environment. IAF & THE ISRAELI AEROSPACE INDUSTRIES Till the early 1990s, the Indian armed forces traditionally purchased arms from UK, France and the erstwhile USSR. The combat fleet of aircraft, weapons, SAMs and air defence radar in the Indian Air Force (IAF) were mainly sourced from USSR/Russians. Some limited forays were made to diversify through purchases of the Jaguar in late 1970s, Mirage 2000 in the mid-1980s and some state-of-the-art systems from other western sources, mainly the French. But in the last 15 years the picture has undergone a sea change with Israel unseating the Russians to become the biggest arms supplier to India. How did the country, accorded a mere token recognition by India only in the early 1990s, become its major arms supplier? Military thinkers in India have always admired the Israeli military for their professionalism and ability to fight against heavy odds, and win. But in the late 1980s, their equipment invited greater attention. It is no secret that in the 1950s and 1960s, the US and France supplied the latest equipment to Israel at very preferential terms. What, however, is not common knowledge is the efforts put in by the Israelis to establish indigenous research and industry to develop systems most suitable for the kind of war it’s waging with its neighbours. Today, some say wars are fought so that Israel’s strong lobby of Military Industrial Complex can sell battle proven military equipment to prospective buyers at a handsome premium. Israel has a major advantage in this respect since their equipment is designed and developed to meet defence needs and undergoes rigorous tests in the ongoing conflict. Moreover, the equipment is most suitable to the environment/climate prevailing in the Indian military’s area of operations. The defence cooperation between Israel and the Indian

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:16:51 PM

MILITARY INDUSTRY Air Force (IAF) ranges from avionics, SAM systems, Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS), UAVs, refueling systems and surveillance systems, among others. AWACS: An essential element of Network-Centric Warfare, apart from providing all-weather airborne early warning, AWACS was high on the IAF’s wish list. India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been trying to develop AWACS for quite some time but has not made much headway due to complexities of the system, periodic sanctions resulting in denial of key technologies and untimely crash of the Avro aircraft on which the system was being developed. The crash lead to loss of critical data and trained key personnel. DRDO was keen to collaborate with another country and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) came forward with the offer of selling three Phalcon systems to India for over $1 billion (Rs 3,995 crore). The systems were to be fitted on Russian IL-76 aircraft which are already in service in India. The deal came under sanctions when India carried out nuclear tests in 1998 as US technology was being used in Phalcon. The sanctions were lifted by the US in September 2001 and the programme is on course with deliveries likely to be completed by 2010. Industry sources indicate that the Phalcons will be equipped with L-band active phased array radar mounted on a stationary radome developed by Raytheon Airborne Systems, besides eight multi-function state-of-the-art operator consoles and two electronic counter measure/electronic intelligence operator posts. There is reportedly a choice to exercise the option of acquiring two additional Phalcons if required. Ground infrastructure and training of personnel is being coordinated simultaneously. At present, China and Pakistan do not have such a system. China has started a programme for indigenous development after the deal with the Israel fell through due to US pressure. Pakistan is trying to get a SAAB aircraft with Erieye radar from Sweden. Aerostat Radars: Aerostat-mounted air search radar increases the search horizon due to its elevation and can be used effectively to detect and track hostile low-flying aircraft, helicopters, spy drones and missiles. Data generated by the aerostat radar is transmitted to a central air defence control centre to form a comprehensive air picture. IAF has already inducted two EL/M-2083 Aerostat radars from Is-







rael in 2004-2005 and deployed them in Kutch and Punjab. It is understood that a follow up order of four similar radars has been placed on Israel. Total requirement of the IAF is 13 radars. Coupled with the Phalcon, it will provide the IAF a superior air surveillance and warning capability Medium Range SAM: According to media reports, India and Israel have inked a joint venture to develop and coproduce a new generation of medium range surface-to-air missiles (MR-SAM) for the security of India’s strategic assets from the growing threat posed by aerial attacks and the proliferation of missiles in the region. Cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Security in mid-2007, the cost of the proposal is approximately $ 2.5 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) which Issue 4 • 2008

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4/28/08 3:16:58 PM


Phalcon IL-76 TD deal moves forward


s India prepares to receive the first of its AWACS-Phalcon, the IAF has cleared proposals to acquire two more such platforms as a follow up order. The proposal will have to be cleared by the MoD. IAF expects the deliveries by 2012. AWACS will bolster India’s air-surveillance capability manifold, equipping it with an eye-in-the–air to detect enemy planes and missiles while in distant flight. An IAI official said the first Phalcon AWACS, powered by 4PS-90A-76 engines, is currently being fitted out with mission sensors and management suites and will be ready to roll out by end-May for flight certification. He added that the air platforms have already undergone maiden flight tests in November last year which were repeated in January and February this year. India was to receive the first aircraft in December 2007 but the transfer was delayed due to time over-runs in customising the airframes by Uzbekistan’s Tashkent Aircraft Production Organisation. SP

includes development as well as manufacture of MR-SAM to replace the ageing SA-3 Pechora (of Russian origin with a range of 25 km and ceiling of 18 km). The range of the MRSAM is reported to be about 70 km with 360 degree coverage and the ability to engage multiple targets simultaneously. DRDO will be the ‘prime developer’ for the project, which will have a Rs 2,300 crore indigenous component, while key partner IAI will provide most of the technology, just as Russia did for the BrahMos by offering its SS-N-26 Oniks missile. The joint venture is necessitated due the failure/delay of indigenous Akash SAM project which was to replace the ageing Pechora Squadrons few years ago. (However, the IAF has now accepted to place orders for a few squadrons of Akash.) The development phase is likely to stretch across four years and will be based on the naval version Barak-8 also called Barak Next Generation. Spyder SAM system: Trishul SAM system, being developed by the DRDO to replace SAM- 8 of the IAF and the Indian Army, was not successful and had to be foreclosed. Subsequently, the IAF short listed the Spyder developed by Rafael Armament Development Authority, the MBT Missile Division and Elta Radar Division of IAI. Spyder is a quick-reaction, low-level surface-to-air missile system designed to effectively defend against attacks by aircraft, helicopters, UAVs and precision-guided munitions. The intercept envelope of the Spyder system covers from less than 1 km to 15 km against targets flying at altitudes between 20 m and 9,000 m. Israeli armament major Rafael has also announced that the company has joined hands with Tata power to offer maintenance work of Air Defense Systems. IAF proposes to acquire 18 systems for $239 million (Rs 1,800 crore). Heron UAV: The Heron Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV system has been developed by IAI/Malat to carry out strategic reconnaissance and surveillance. In service with the IAF as well as the Indian Army and Navy, the Heron is capable of flying for up to 40 hours at a time at altitudes exceeding 30,000 ft. It has a maximum range of about 1,000 km in autonomous flight and can carry a multiple of payloads for a variety of missions. However, the ground controller can remain in contact only up to about 200 km and a maximum of 320 km in case of an airborne relay aircraft. Electronic Warfare: It is also reported that Elisra Group 26


Israeli Aerospace Industry & IAF.indd 26

has set up a joint venture with DRDO to develop advanced electronic warfare (EW) systems for their air forces’ fighter aircraft by 2009. Multi-Mode Radar: HAL started joint development of MMR with Elta Systems Ltd way back in 1991, but owing to time and cost overruns, the project was completed only in 2004 at a cost of Rs 105 crore. The process to start limited series production and series production has started and close monitoring is being done to take the project to its logical end. The technology of airborne radars is very complex and MMR development is being carried out for the first time in the country. Aircraft upgrade: Except for the upgrade of Mi-35 to render it night capable that was conceptualised by one of the IAI companies, Israeli companies have largely been involved in providing various equipment required to upgrade aircraft. For Mi-35, the design and development of the upgrade was done by the Israeli company but the fleet modification was done by the IAF. The project faced delays because of multifarious reasons but the ultimate product has been satisfying. Israeli avionics products used in the IAF’s aircraft upgrades range from airborne radar to helmet mounted sights, different types of displays and processors, EW systems and laser pods. Refuelling Systems: Israel has supplied air-to-air refueling pod on the IL-78 aircraft. Three pods comprising the probe and drogue system can be fitted on each aircraft. STRATEGIC SYSTEMS Green Pine Early Warning Fire Control & Missile Guidance Radar: Elta developed the Green Pine Early Warning Fire Control and Missile Guidance radar for the Arrow system. The radar EL/M-2090 includes the trailer mounted antenna array, the power generator, a cooling system and a control centre. Green Pine is an electronically scanned, solid state, phased array radar operating at L-band in the range 500MHz to 1,000MHz. According to media reports, India has acquired two Elta Green Pine for employment with the country’s air defence system against ballistic missiles. TecSAR: Israel’s first radar imaging satellite, TecSAR was launched into the orbit in January this year by an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle and will generate synthetic aperture radar imagery. IAI has built the 300 kg satellite with the capability to detect movement carried out under the cover of darkness or heavy clouds. It symbolises the true spirit of Indo-Israeli cooperation. CONCLUSION There are tremendous constraints on upgrading and modernising the armed forces. Although the “self-sufficiency” mantra in core technologies, weapon systems and weapon platforms is very attractive, there is a vast need for inputs, import of components and collaboration. Moreover, the cost of doing ab initio research and development can be crippling in economic terms, apart from long gestation periods of development cycles. Besides being a good source of high technology, Israel can address some specific requirements of the IAF. However, any meaningful relationship between India and Israel is only possible if it covers joint research, joint production and technology transfer. SP With inputs from Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:17:00 PM




Slippery Slope

If oil prices do not climb down and government policies on ATF pricing maintain status quo,the air traveler can expect a wet blanket over leisure and business travel.But more significantly,the coming months may prove to be testing times for private airlines and survival could well become an issue. Group Captain A.K.Sachdev from Bangalore elaborates. Issue 4 • 2008

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4/28/08 3:34:03 PM



historic aviation event occurred last month. way. It is a no-win situation. To add to their woes, the fuel Sasol Limited, the world’s leading producer of price pressure is manifest in the form of a credit crisis as synthetic fuels from coal and natural gas, an- the airlines see their creditworthiness eroding in the face of nounced that it had become the first company shrinking revenues, rising fuel dues and lowered customer worldwide to receive international approval base on account of high fuel surcharge. Government policies do not proffer solace of any kind. for 100 per cent synthetic jet fuel produced by After domestic airlines increased fuel surcharge in Decemits proprietary coal-to-liquids process. This was the first time ever that such a fuel had been ber 2007, oil prices had fallen marginally. Though oil comapproved for commercial aviation use. Having met the per- panies reduced ATF prices in January and February, there formance standards that aviation quality control demands, was no relief for passengers as airlines did not reduce the the synthetic fuel demonstrated a cleaner burn quality than surcharge. Since then, oil prices have increased significantAviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). However, overshadowed by a ly especially in the past month. The price increase is highpall of gloom over the closure of several airlines worldwide, est at India’s busiest airport, Mumbai where the new price the significant event went largely unnoticed. for ATF is over Rs 55,000 per kilolitre. Minister for Civil In the last few weeks, ATA Airlines, Aloha Airlines, Sky- Aviation Praful Patel has requested state governments to bus and charter carrier Champion Air in the US have shut decrease sales tax on aviation fuel. Airlines, too, have been down while Delta Airlines debated a merger, possibly with lobbying for a cut in taxes, as aviation fuel in India now Northwest Airline. In Europe, Alitalia struggled to survive, costs about 70 per cent more than in Singapore or Dubai. teetering on the edge of collapse or a bale out. Closer home, However, the Government seems content to let this state Oasis Airline, operating out of Hong Kong since October of affairs continue as ATF is one of the few products that 2006, ceased operations last month, stranding thousands PSU oil companies make profits on. They lose money on the of passengers in Hong Kong, Britain and Canada. Although bulk of other petroleum products like petrol, diesel, kerothere were other causes for these sene and LPG. The price at which airlines to fold up, the factor that Indian refineries buy crude oil tilted the balance was the rising has touched $117 (Rs 4,606) in Sasol Limited has received April. Simultaneously, inflation is cost of aviation fuel. international approval for a big cause for worry, especially With the falling dollar and since government policies do not speculation in oil becoming at100 per cent synthetic jet fuel permit passing on of the surge tractive, all indicators point toproduced by its proprietary in global crude prices. If crude wards an oil price well above coal-to-liquids process. price increase had been fully the $100 (Rs 3,988) mark in the However, overshadowed passed on to the consumer, the coming months. Reports in the by a pall of gloom over the rise in domestic prices of petroUS media would have the world believe that the upward trend in leum products would have raised closure of several airlines oil prices is fuelled (pun intended) the inflation even higher than the worldwide, the significant by the increased demand from alarming figures it touched durevent went largely unnoticed. India and China. Whether that ing April. However, this artificial is true or not does not change manipulation of inflation is not the fact that the woes of airlines the ideal solution for fuel poliacross the world can be expected cies. It is perhaps worth considto keep them working feverishly ering that the gap be closed beto combat the rising fuel prices. tween the true market price for Government policies across the non-aviation fuels and that being globe are differentially inclined actually charged by the statetowards airlines in their respective domains. In India, the owned oil marketing companies which virtually run the Inairlines are one of the worst affected. This article looks at dian market. the threat to the Indian airline industry on account of curThe Government plans to bear a major portion of their losses on this count through means which have significant rent fuel pricing policies. fiscal impact. For purely political reasons, the Government cannot afford to raise fuel prices to match last year’s oil UNWIELDY GOVERNMENT POLICIES As is the case world over, the Indian airline industry, a huge price surge. At the same time, central and state taxes and fuel guzzler, is under extreme pressure at the moment. Fuel duties on petrol and diesel together contribute to around 25 costs are the largest single head under which airlines list per cent of consumer prices. Thus, the fiscal position of the their expenditure. With fuel accounting for around 42 per economy is being eroded by direct and indirect subsidies, cent of the operating costs, surcharge on this component although there is a large revenue collection through taxes. A is at their highest in the history of Indian aviation. Airlines, part of the losses are countered by oil bonds which is an arespecially the Low Cost Carriers, survive by striving to fill up tificial prop with long term deleterious results. The process seats and manage fuel costs. Every time the fuel prices rise, is essentially postponing the inevitable. On the other hand, it hits them where it hurts most. If they pass on the burden we continue to have an artificially propped up high price of to passengers, occupancy starts decreasing - directly affect- ATF which is the major cause for losses of the airlines, to the ing profitability. If they don’t, they are assured of losses any tune of Rs 2,000 crore in the last year. 28


Fuel Policy_On A Slippery Slope.indd 28

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:34:04 PM

CIVIL POLICY THE STING OF SALES TAX The second problem is that sales tax on aviation fuel is a state subject and each government has the prerogative to levy a sales tax as it deems fit resulting in two consequences. Firstly, in most states, the sales tax rate is very high - up to 30 per cent and secondly, there is no uniformity of the rate applied across the country. The Minister for Civil Aviation had been lobbying pre-budget to restore some order in the oil price situation. However, the budget proposals put forth by the Finance Minister brought no cheer in this respect. Since then, the minister has been trying to work on these two alternatives. Firstly, the Centre could accept a ‘declared goods’ status for aviation fuel thus bringing it under a uniform 4 per cent tax regime all across the country or the states could be persuaded to apply the standard rate of VAT of 12.5 per cent to aviation fuel. The minister had appealed to all chief ministers to reduce the rate of sales tax on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) in their respective budgets for 2008-09. His rationale was that the impact of a reduced sales tax on ATF for the state exchequer would not be too much since the contribution to the overall sales tax collection is negligible. So far, only Andhra Pradesh and Kerala have heeded his plea and reduced tax to 4 per cent. Maharashtra did so, too, but not for Mumbai and Pune from where the major proportion of aviation fuel is uplifted. Sitting right under the minister’s nose, the Delhi Government is industriously assessing the likely increase in off-take resulting from a decrease in sales tax on ATF at Delhi airport, so that it can take a decision on reduction in the tax.

fuel price problem is fuel price hedging. In the US, on account of the volatility of fuel prices, some airlines hedge their fuel costs to a certain extent. Southwest is to pay only $49 (Rs 1,955) per barrel for 65 per cent of its fuel in the ongoing year despite an international price that stands at twice that


figure. Obviously, the arrangement has turned out to be a great thing for Southwest although other airlines scoffed at the idea when it had entered into that deal in 2000. With the oil PSUs dominating an oligarchic aviation fuel market, fuel price hedging was not an option in India until domestic airlines were permitted to do so in July 2007. Fuel hedging serves as a strategy to cushion the impact of rising fuel prices and allows minimisation of the risk in fuel price rise due to any reason. It also helps to spread the fuel cost MITIGATING THE PAIN That brings us to the measures being adopted by airlines to more evenly over a longer period of time. However, it is a counter rising fuel costs. Firstly, every airline has allotted double-edged sword. Another option that airlines find worth considering is an responsibility of fuel conservation to one of its departments. In most cases, it is the Performance Engineering Depart- increase in their turbo-prop fleet. The Kingfisher-Deccan ment which stipulates and monitors the implementation of combine has one of the largest ATR fleets in the world alvarious initiatives designed to reduce fuel consumption. One ready and is planning to add to it to exploit its fuel efficient of these methods is tankering: the process of carrying extra operations. Kingfisher has ordered more than 10 ATRs. Jet fuel onboard from an airport if fuel there is cheaper than Airways has also placed an order for 13 ATRs. In addition to at the next destination. Of course, in the process, extra fuel fuel saving, the ATR option also helps airlines to comply with is burnt wastefully to fly the additional weight of fuel lifted. DGCA’s route disbursal guidelines which stipulate that an This is the attendant penalty. airline operate services to unprofitable routes like airports in To partly counter the problem of taxing the North East and other non-metro feeder the passenger, some airlines have decided routes. ATRs also hold the added attraction of a lowered sales tax on such turbo props to not to pass on the increase uniformly to Government 4 per cent to encourage deployment of fuelall passengers. The increase in surcharge policies do not efficient aircraft as well as enable airlines to for passengers travelling short distances, proffer solace of provide connectivity to smaller towns. mostly on ATRs and other smaller aircraft, However, all these desperate measures will be between Rs 100 and Rs 150 while any kind.After being considered and practiced by airlines medium- and long-haul passengers will fork domestic airlines are unlikely to enhance profitability in a out Rs 350 to Rs 400 more. Passenger lobby increased fuel hurry. If oil prices do not climb down and groups and lessening interest in air travel on surcharge in government policies on ATF pricing mainshort sectors due to the comparative attracDecember 2007, tion of rail fares is the cause for this differtain status quo, the air traveler can expect a wet blanket over his leisure and business ential surcharge policy. Thus, the surcharge oil prices had is now around Rs 1,650 to Rs 1,800 for short fallen marginally. travel. But more significantly for the aviation industry, the coming months may prove to journeys and Rs 2,000 for long distances, in be testing times for private airlines’ risk and addition to the congestion surcharge of Rs crisis management plans and survival could 150 and PSF of Rs 225. well become an issue. SP Yet another rather risky counter to the Issue 4 • 2008

Fuel Policy_On A Slippery Slope.indd 29



4/28/08 3:34:05 PM





Faced with obsolescence, the IAF’s transport and helicopter fleet needs to undergo upgrade in systems, avionics, engines and life extension.The dilemma, of course, is to identify an agency to carry out the upgrade.

By Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra

Preceding two editions of SP’s Aviation focused on upgrades carried out by the Indian Air Force (IAF) to its fighter aircraft. The chapters elaborated on the upgrade programmes conducted by India in the past, planning and considerations for upgrade, and, finally, fighter upgrade programmes. In the current issue, the focus is on transport and helicopters upgrade. But first, a synopsis of all that has been covered. Past aircraft upgrade programmes: In the past, HAL, along with the IAF, has undertaken some very major modifications driven by urgent need. Installation of the Jet Pack on C-119 Packet transport aircraft, fitment of Orpheus engine in HJT-16 in place of the Viper engine were some of the major upgrades involving structural rework on the aircraft. Development of Ajeet aircraft from the original Folland Gnat and designing a two seat version can arguably be considered somewhere between new design and an upgrade. Planning for upgrade: The Operations branch at the Air HQ is all the time evaluating the capability of the fleet vis-à-vis the perceived threat and the likely future tasks. There are a number of ways by which the user is able to identify the need to upgrade but foremost among them is the effectiveness of the fleet to meet the tasks as laid down in the War Plans. Upgrade of the air superiority and multi-role aircraft needs to be planned keeping in mind the extended role and the strategic reach required for future tasks. Considerations for aircraft upgrade: Several key points need to be considered before deciding on fleet upgrade: • What is the technological status of the aircraft? • Current Status of the fleet, including the balance life of the aircraft. • Is the aircraft an indigenous manufacture? • The extent of modernisation will depend upon, among 30


MILITARY Upgrades.indd 30

• • • • •

• •

other factors, the age of the fleet and its technological status as compared to the state-of-art. Are there any other friendly foreign countries who would like to join in the development programme? Any other upgrade programmes going on so that commonality of systems and equipment need to be factored in? Decision to undertake upgradation indigenously will depend upon available in-house expertise. In case the upgrade involves changes in the airframe structure and extension of life of aircraft then availability of the design data is essential. Integration of major systems like multi-mode radar and new weapon systems can be achieved only with help from the OEMs of both aircraft, radar and weapon system. Availability of a simulator and the possibility of its upgrade or build a new one to make it suitable for the upgraded aircraft. Obsolescence always leads to lower MTBF and higher MTTR. The target MTBF and MTTR should be determined and included in the contract after an analysis of the equipment being installed and its role in operational scenario.

Fighter upgrade programmes: Upgrades to the following fighter fleets of the IAF are either planned or in process: MiG-27 upgrade: Upgrade of the MiG-27 systems was on the cards even at the time of manufacture and induction. The MiG-27 upgrade has been undertaken by HAL Design Bureau at Ozar along with extensive help from DRDO labs like DARE. The avionics have been integrated through a Mil Bus architecture using the Core Avionics Computer cum Display processors and other interfaces developed by DARE at ADE Bangalore. The capabilities of the aircraft have been enhanced by the in-

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 2:58:14 PM



TRANSPORT AND HELICOPTERS UPGRADE esides some occasional tinkering with the HS748 aircraft, the IAF has rarely upgraded its transport fleet. Mi-35 was upgraded by the IAF to make it night capable and fleet modification was done thereafter. The present transport and helicopter fleet is also facing obsolescence and needs to undergo upgrade in systems, avionics, engines and life extension. The dilemma, of course, is to identify an agency to carry out the upgrade. The following fleets are under consideration: • IL-76 strategic airlifter • An-32 medium-lift aircraft • Mi-17 versions


IL-76 MD STRATEGIC AIRLIFTER UPGRADE The IL-76 has been in service for over two decades and is fitted with equipment which is verging on obsolescence. With major improvements having been brought in by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in precision air navigation to regulate and make civil aviation safer, the instrumentation of the IL-76 falls far short of the requirements. Some piecemeal modifications have been done in the past but at present the fleet requires major upgrade in avionics, instruments, navigation system, landing aids, communication systems and also the engine D-30 KP-II. Life extension of the IL-76 is also required to make the

upgrade cost effective. There is a need to change the engines in order to improve the hot and high performance and also make this aircraft comply with International civil aviation regulations for noise and fuel efficiency. Operational equipment like Station Keeping Equipment, NVGs for night operations and other self protection devices should also be considered to make the operations in hostile environment safe. There is an urgent need to improve the ground handling and loading of aircraft so as to improve productivity. Mandatory use of pallets and automation will help in improving efficiency to a large extent. AN-32 UPGRADE An-32 has been the IAF’s workhorse for over two decades. This aircraft was specially modified by the Russians to meet high-altitude operations by installing higher power engines. The bigger propellers fitted on the more powerful engines caused an increase in noise and vibrations. The systems installed on the aircraft are also vintage and in urgent need for replacement but unless the vibrations in the aircraft are reduced the new sophisticated equipment will not give optimum performance. Re-engining and extension of life have to be undertaken simultaneously during the upgrade to get value for money. The aircraft serviceability and availability can be improved only by upgrading the Avionics Systems, Communication Systems, weather radar, landing aids and compliance with the latest ICAO regulations.


Issue 4 • 2008

MILITARY Upgrades.indd 31



4/28/08 2:58:17 PM

MILITARY UPGRADES corporation of modern avionics systems consisting primarily of two Multi-Function Displays (MFDs), Mission and Display Processor (MDP), Ring Laser Gyros (RLG INS), combined GPS/ GLONASS navigation, HUD with UFCP, Digital Map Generator (DMG), jam-resistant Secured Communication, Stand-by UHF communication, Data link and a comprehensive Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite. A mission planning and retrieval facility, VTR and HUD Camera has also been fitted. Jaguar upgrade: Development of DARIN I system for Jaguar was done by a team from the IAF, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) under the aegis of the Inertial Nav-Attack System Integration Organisation (IIO) nearly two decades back. The unfinished task of upgrading the balance fleet has now been undertaken by HAL with an even improved version. The upgrade of NAVWASS Jaguars and Standard of Preparation (SOP) of the newly built Jaguars to the DARIN II standard has been undertaken by HAL. There has been a great learning process in the aviation industry in India, thanks to the DARIN I, LCA and participation in Su-30 development. The NAVWASS Jaguars have now been fitted with a MIL-STD-1553B digital bus and bus compatible LRUs (Line Replacable Units) sourced from France, Israel and indigenous HAL/BEL manufacture. The major avionics components forming part of the DARIN II upgrade are indigenous Core Avionics Computers, RLGINGPS, Wide angle 30 x 20 deg HUD with FLIR and raster Video imagery, Active Matrix LCD MFD, Video based HUD camera, multichannel colour video recorder. Elta Radar on Maritime Jaguar: The original maritime Jaguars were fitted with AGAVE radar from Thales France. The AGAVE radar had become obsolete and hence Elta EL-2032 L/M radar was selected out of the two short listed contenders. The installation and the integration with the DARIN II system were done by HAL on 10 Jaguar aircraft. The nose cone was also changed and that was to be developed and manufactured indigenously. The radar is capable of picking ships at distances of 150 km and with the SAR and ISAR capability it is very easy to identify the ships. This radar has very significant air-to-air capability and with a CCM can enhance the self-defence capability considerably. MiG-29 upgrade: After considerable delay, India recently

MI-17 & MI-17 1V UPGRADE The Mi series helicopters have done yeoman service throughout the country and even abroad under the UN. The need for mediumlift helicopter capability has been felt in all the terrains and during all kinds of operations, including disaster relief. This fleet has also been awaiting upgrade for many years and due to varied reasons. The fleet requires extensive upgrades but the SOP for upgrade has to be similar to that on new Mi-17 helicopters proposed to be acquired. Identification of agencies to undertake design, development and fleet modification is crucial especially after the experience of upgrading Mi-35. Commonality with equipment installed on Dhruv and also on Mi-35 will reduce the burden of large inventories. Avionics, communication and, to top it all, the upgradation of self protection suite should drive the project to give all weather day and night capability in the prevailing operational scenario. The armament upgrade should include weapons from both western and eastern countries to give it the lethal punch. SP (To be continued)




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awarded Russia the contract to upgrade its multi-role MiG-29 warplanes. According to an air force official, the two post-Cold War allies signed the deal to extend the life of India’s fleet of 70 MiG-29 jets another 15 years from their current 25 years. Upgrade of MiG-29 involves three versions and is complicated because of the airframe modifications for conformal fuel tank and carriage of under wing tanks in a few versions. MiG-29 has excellent handling qualities and any airframe modification requires extensive data base, which is only available with the OEM. The avionics upgrade will essentially require a Mil-Bus architecture with Mission computers, a phased array radar capable of engaging multiple targets and matching air-to-surface capability, changes in the display system through installation of modern HUD and MFDs, RLGINS with GPS/GLONASS for improved Navigation and Precision Attack, EW/ECM package, dorsal fuel tank and other air intake modifications for more fuel besides air-to-air refuelling, present generation fire and forget BVR and other weapon systems, HOTAS and other ergonomics improvements. Mirage 2000 Upgrade: The upgrade of Mirage 2000 has also been mired in delays but the reasons are somewhat different. At one time, the Mirage 2000-5 was the front runner for the 126 aircraft MMRCA deal and hence the upgrade SOP was linked with the SOP of the MMRCA aircraft. Since the Mirage 2000 does not require a life extension and only minimal upgrade of the engine, the focus of the upgrade will be on replacing the obsolescent avionics like the INS, Mission Computer, AI radar, HUD and Active Matrix SMFDs, substantial improvements in the EW/ECM package along with secured communication and data link. New weapon systems will have to be integrated to keep the aircraft as a formidable platform in future. Improved HOTAS and installation of sensor platform along with helmet mounted sighting system will ensure the effectiveness of the fleet. Presumably, Dassault along with Thales will upgrade a few aircraft in France and they will assist in upgrading the rest of the fleet at HAL Bangalore. This upgrade is likely to be very costly since the French Avionics equipment is comparatively more expensive than others and also IAF will have to go in for new weapons. It would be prudent that the upgrade of all fighter fleets include integration of weapons from both eastern and western origin.

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Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. company, announced it is closing in on certification of the turbo diesel model of its popular 172 Skyhawk. Cessna and Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH have accumulated more than 200 hours on a prototype of the single-engine piston aircraft in efforts to achieve European Aviation Safety Agency certification for the supplemental type certificate that will allow Cessna to offer a factory-installed engine operating on Jet-A fuel. Once EASA certification is secured, Cessna will pursue type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. Deliveries are expected to begin by mid-2008. “Customers see exceptional value and productivity in an airplane combining the reliability of the Skyhawk with Jet-A fuel’s wide availability and lower direct operating cost,” said John Doman, Cessna Vice President of worldwide propeller aircraft sales. “Market interest in the new Skyhawk TD is very high; we plan to increase production in 2009 to meet the demand.”



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Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:30:10 PM






Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, on March 13 announced the introduction of an all-new business jet: the Gulfstream G650. With its ultra-large cabin and ultra-long range, the G650 offers the longest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and the most-advanced cockpit in the Gulfstream fleet. It can climb to a maximum altitude of 51,000 ft, allowing it to avoid airline-traffic congestion and adverse weather. “The G650 offers the most advanced flight deck and the widest array of cabin comforts. Its performance and aesthetics are unprecedented,” said Joe Lombardo, President, Gulfstream Aerospace. Gulfstream expects to begin G650 customer deliveries in 2012. CHARACTERISTICS CREW Two pilots; SEATING CAPACITY 11 to 18 passengers; LENGTH 99 ft 9 in; WINGSPAN 99 ft 7 in; HEIGHT 25 ft 4 in; EMPTY WEIGHT 24,500 kg; MAX TAKEOFF WEIGHT 45,200 kg; POWERPLANT 2 × RollsRoyce Deutschland BR725 turbofan, 71.6 kN each


On April 12, Embraer finished assembling the first Phenom 300 jet at its Gavião Peixoto plant in São Paulo, Brazil. “The Phenom 300, with its premium comfort, best-in-class performance and low operating cost, will set a new standard for the Light Jet category,” said Luís Carlos Affonso, Embraer Executive Vice President, Executive Jets. Interiors designed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the Phenom 300 best-in-class jet’s onboard conveniences include a wardrobe or refreshment centre, an aft cabin private lavatory with toiletry cabinet, and satellite communications. Customers can fly nonstop from London to Reykjavik in Iceland, the Azores, Cairo, Tel Aviv or Moscow; and from Geneva to the same destinations, plus the Canary Islands. The aircraft is expected to enter service in the second half of 2009.


CHARACTERISTICS MAXIMUM SEATING CAPACITY Six; RANGE* 1,800 nm; HIGH SPEED CRUISE 450 ktas; MMO M 0.78; MAXIMUM OPERATING ALTITUDE 45,000 ft; TAKEOFF FIELD LENGTH 3,700 ft; POWERPLANT 2 x Pratt & Whitney (* NBAA IFR reserves (35 min) with 100 nm alternate; six occupants @ 200Ib)

Issue 4 • 2008

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4/28/08 3:30:18 PM

ILA_SPs_Aviation_210x267 11.04.2008 13:10 Uhr Seite 1

The focal point of aerospace.

Berlin Air Show May 27–June 1, 2008

Official Partner Country:

Hosted by:

German Aerospace Industries Association

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By Lt General (Retd) Naresh Chand


he Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has replicated the challenges and concerns faced by India for decisionmakers in the US. The US Defence Modernisation 20082013 report compiled by the Aerospace Industries Association gives indications of US defence planners experiencing dilemmas similar to that of India. With the defence budget increasingly focussing on conflicts across the borders, war on terrorism and increasing manpower costs, India’s military establishment’s modernisation plans have for long been adversely hit. The US, apparently, is now in the same boat. A look at some of the key elements highlighted by the report.

Emerging national security challenges of the 21st century require renewed national focus on the relevance of air power Aerospace Industries Association’s (AIA) concerns that will affect decision-makers response to long-deferred defence modernisation and recapitalisation needs and requirements are inexorable growth in operations and maintenance costs; rising personnel expenditures, including future costs of recent increases in active duty end strength and simultaneous needs for reset and recapitalisation. For several generations US’s national security has depended heavily on sustained military superiority, especially in aerospace systems which is fast degrading as the existing fleet is aging rapidly. The US has in the past also allocated defence budget at much higher levels than its current 4 per cent share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates the need for steady procurement funding of $120–150 billion per year, in constant dollars, to modernise the current force AIA believes that while the investment resources proposed in the fiscal 2008-2013 Future Years Defence Program (FYDP) represent a modest start, the FYDP itself doesn’t effectively address growing structural challenges within the US defence budget or the mounting modernisation and recapitalisation bills coming due as a result of years of deferred investment. Since then, there have been moderate increases in investment spending, heavily influenced recently by growth in RDT&E and transformational programmes. Congressional Budget Office analysis indicates the need for steady procurement funding of $120–150 billion per year, in constant dollars, to modernise the current force. Funding Challenges for Modernisation Funding for investment is gradually being squeezed from the defence budget as military personnel, operations and maintenance costs take an increasing share of defence resources. By 2013, over a 25-year period, the operations and support element of the budget will have more than doubled, faster than the growth in the defence budget itself. In contrast, investment will increase by slightly more than 50 per cent, well below the

The US Defence Modernisation 2008-2013 report reveals funding for military personnel, operations and maintenance costs fuelled by the GWOT are gobbling up an increasing share of defence resources growth of the general budget. These trends translate into a structural shift in which investment will decline to only 35 per cent of the defence budget by 2013, well below the 41 per cent level of fiscal 1988 and translate into billions of dollars being shifted from the investment portfolio (capital portion of the budget in the Indian context) into operations and support (revenue portion of the budget in the Indian context) costs. These trends suggest a change in the defence budget, in which operations and support consumes an ever-increasing share of the defence budget. The Role of Air Power in the 2010 QDR and Defence Planning The 2006 QDR had focused on irregular warfare, defeating terrorist networks and weapons of mass destruction and similar operations being carried out in Iraq and Afghanistan. The 2010 QDR should re-evaluate the role of air power in all potential conflict regions, assess the appropriate balance among security challenges, such as planning for near-peer regional conflicts, while also engaging in the GWOT. Thus the plan should address modernisation to include: • Airlift • UAVs • Rotary wing aircraft • Missiles • Space launch • Precision-guided munitions • Command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) systems. Resource Planning for Aerospace Modernisation AIA recommends the following approach. Sustain a national consensus to adequately fund national defence capability and readiness as a high and enduring priority in order to develop a long term modernisation plan to realistically address aerospace requirements. Support growth across the full spectrum of conflict and not only for the conflict US is currently engaged in. DoD thus needs to increase annual procurement spending to a steady state range of $120–150 billion, in constant dollars, to modernise the current force. Provide growth and stability in not only aerospace procurement but also in RDT&E. Foster innovation and stability in DoD investment planning. This can be best accomplished by establishing for the fiscal 2010 budget submission a Stable Programme Funding Account, similar to that proposed by the Defence Acquisition Performance Assessment Panel, for all Acquisition Category I programmes. A pilot programme for capital budgeting is currently underway in DoD. Incorporate into broad national budget planning the goal of defence being no less than 4 per cent of GDP. AIA will assist the next administration in all its efforts to formulate a realistic plan for modernisation. SP Issue 4 • 2008

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4/28/08 2:56:49 PM




The Eurofighter Invite

Four nations,four air forces and the four leading European aerospace companies—EADS, EADS Casa,BAE Systems and Alenia Finmeccanica— fully support the Eurofighter campaign in India

By SP’s Team


NDIA HAS BEEN INVITED to join the Eurofighter programme as a new partner. Announcing the invitation, Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Military Air Systems, an integrated activity of EADS Defence & Security, said, “As part of our industrial cooperation offer, we invite India to become a member of the successful Eurofighter family. India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long-lasting political, industrial and military relations which will be based on a win-win partnership. Therefore the door is widely open for India.” Addressing representatives of the Indian Ministry of Defence, the Indian Air Force, suppliers and the media in Delhi on April 24, Gerwert emphasised that Eurofighter partners have intensive experiences in international cooperation because the combat aircraft is developed and manufactured as a quadrinational programme from the very beginning. Underlining that four nations, four air forces and the four leading European aerospace companies—EADS, EADS Casa, BAE Systems and Alenia Finmeccanica—fully support the Eurofighter campaign in India, he said: “We have a strong and committed international team and we will make sure that Eurofighter will be a major player in a fair and transparent competition.” On behalf of the Eurofighter consortium and the industrial partners, EADS will deliver the bid proposal in response to India’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft on April 28. Conceding that the RFP’s requirements pertaining to transfer of technology, licence production and 50 per cent offset are challenging, Gerwert said, “We are ready to meet these challenges and we will satisfy the expectations of our customer. Our team is working extremely hard to meet these requirements.” As a fast growing and dynamic country, India is not only regarded as a market but most importantly as a partner for joint industrial and military projects in the future. As a recent example, EADS Defence & Security and TATA announced in February 2008 to join forces for the Indian Army’s $1 billion (Rs 4,015 crore) Tactical Communications System. Fully operational in four countries and with more than 700 orders from six customers (Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria and Saudi Arabia), the Eurofighter Typhoon’s key feature is its multi- and swing-role capability that affords enormous flexibility. Simply put, the aircraft can fly either air-to-air or air-to-ground missions or both sorties at the same time. In terms of weapons payload, it is capable of carrying six air-to-air missiles plus additional air-to-surface weapons such as Paveway II or GBU-10/-16, or external fuel tanks on seven further hard points. Another operational benefit is the installation of the electronic warfare equipment in the wing tips without sacrificing external stores capacity. Combining advanced technology with world-class performance, the combat aircraft provides highest levels of mission effectiveness for all scenarios and a broad range of mission flexibility. Further, its air-to-air refuelling capability extends mission duration and range. Remarkable agility, capability and flexibility allow the Eurofighter Typhoon to meet the challenges of fast-changing operational scenarios. SP 38

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“As part of our industrial cooperation offer, we invite India to become a member of the successful Eurofighter family. India is our partner of choice and we are interested in long-lasting political, industrial and military relations which will be based on a win-win partnership. Therefore the door is widely open for India.” —Bernhard Gerwert, CEO, Military Air Systems, EADS Defence & Security

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:20:13 PM

Hall of Fame


“I see the Earth! It is so beautiful!” were the ecstatic words of the very first human being to step across the threshold of the universe.


ID YURI GAGARIN ACTUALLY utter these words from space? It is not easy to sift through the Soviet cold war propaganda, and what may have been lost in translation, so as to arrive at the truth. However, fact is the Soviet Sputnik was the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth and Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 the first human to be launched into space. The Americans recovered from the humiliation of these two triumphs of their archrivals by putting a man on the moon eight years later. Yuri Gagarin was born on March 9, 1934, in the village of Klushino, Smolensk. During World War II he had a dramatic introduction to aviation when a crippled Soviet fighter crashed in the neighbourhood. Yuri was among the throng of children who rushed to the site of the crash and clambered all over the wreckage. Then and there Yuri decided to become a combat pilot. On November 7, 1957, he was commissioned in the Soviet Air Force. The very same day he married Valentina. Caught up in the excitement of the wedding preparations, he had failed to notice the launch of Sputnik I & II a few weeks earlier. In 1959, Yuri volunteered for space training—one of 154 pilots to do so. The training was rigorous and demanding; the recruits were bombarded with space navigation, rocket propulsion, physiology, astronomy and upper atmospheric physics, and trained to cope with weightlessness. Yuri loved to sit in the simulated cockpit and imagine blasting off into space. The number of candidates progressively whittled down to 50, then 20, then six. Finally, a week before the scheduled date, Yuri learned that he had been selected. His short size had apparently proved advantageous for the cramped Vostok cockpit. April 11, 1961. 9.07 am. Vostok 1 was launched from the Baikonur Cos-

modrome in Kazakhstan and placed in an elliptical orbit with apogee 327 km and perigee 181 km. Prior to take-off, Gagarin drank water and ate some jelly. Essentially, he was little more than a passenger. Scientists feared the rigours of spaceflight might render a pilot un-

Yuri Gagarin (1934–1968) April 11, 1961. 9.07 am. Vostok 1 was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and placed in an elliptical orbit with apogee 327 km and perigee 181 km. Prior to take-off, Gagarin drank water and ate some jelly. Essentially, he was little more than a passenger. Scientists feared the rigours of spaceflight might render a pilot unconscious and incapacitate him and hence, the craft was fully automated. conscious and incapacitate him and hence, the craft was fully automated. On the re-entry, a flaw in the recovery sequence gave Yuri several anxious

moments. The re-entry module was supposed to separate cleanly from the equipment module but did not. The unbalanced Vostok began to spin erratically, exposing less protected surfaces to the intense heat of re-entry. The module finally separated. Yuri was automatically ejected from the craft at 7 km and descended by parachute. The mission was successfully completed at 10.55 am when he touched down in Siberia. It took an hour and 48 minutes to orbit the Earth once and complete the mission. For several years the Soviets concealed the fact that Major Gagarin had to eject to make it safely back to Earth because it would have robbed the feat of some of its sheen. Fédération Aéronautique Internationale’s regulations mandate a pilot to land with his craft for a mission to qualify as a spaceflight. Yuri, meanwhile, returned to Moscow to be feted and fawned over by an adoring populace. At the age of 27, he was transformed from a fighter pilot—one of thousands—to a world celebrity. A tour of the Soviet Union and the world brought him adulation on an unprecedented scale. Nikita Khrushchev compared him to Christopher Columbus, publicly smothered him with kisses and named him a Hero of the Soviet Union. The next few years were marked by Gagarin’s determined efforts to make another trip into space and the authorities’ stubborn refusal to let him do so. They did not want him to risk his life. Fate, nonetheless, willed him a violent death. On March 27, 1968 Yuri and an instructor pilot took off in a MiG-15UTI jet on a routine training mission. The sky was murky, the weather bad. A few minutes later the plane lost contact with the ground and crashed. Was poor visibility the cause? Did the MiG inadvertently enter the turbulent wake of a Su-11 jet on maximum afterburner, causing the pilots to lose control? We may never know. Years later, when Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on the moon they left one of Gagarin’s medals there—a tribute to the world’s first cosmonaut. SP — Group Captain (Retd) Joseph Noronha, Goa Issue 4 • 2008

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he Boeing Company on April 24 delivered a detailed 7,000-page proposal offering its advanced F/A18E/F Super Hornet to the Indian Air Force as part of India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition. Jim Albaugh, President and CEO, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) said: “We are offering India the best-value, most advanced and proven multi-role combat fighter in production today.” India issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for 126 multi-role combat fighters in August 2007. Boeing completed its proposal before the initial March 3 deadline, which the MoD subsequently rescheduled for April 28. “Boeing’s strategic goal has been to seek a long-term partnership with India to help strengthen the country’s aerospace capabilities and enhance its national security,” said Chris Chadwick, President of Boeing Precision Engagement & Mobility Systems. “Choosing the F/A-18E/F would give Indians a direct hand in building an advanced fighter aircraft that will robustly defend their shores and airspace, infuse new strength into the Indian Air Force, and serve as a catalyst for India’s growing defence aerospace industry.” The Super Hornet variant being offered to India, the F/A-18IN, is based on the F/A-18E/F model flown by the US Navy and currently being built for the Royal Australian Air Force. Delivery of the first F/A-18IN Super Hornets to India can begin approximately 36 months after contract award. Advanced technology—such as Raytheon’s APG-79 Active Electronically Scanned Array radar—and proven reliability have enhanced the interest of US and international customers in the aircraft which is increasingly being lauded as a cost-effective and lethal air defence. LOCKHEED MARTIN’S F-16IN HAS BEEN ESPECIALLY DESIGNED TO INCLUDE CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGIES SUCH AS A MODERN, FULL-COLOUR, ALL-DIGITAL, GLASS COCKPIT


he US Government, supported by Lockheed Martin, has responded to the Indian Ministry of Defence’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) programme by proposing the most technologically advanced F-16 ever conceived, uniquely tailored to meet or exceed the requirements of the Indian Air Force. “No other operational multi-role strike fighter in the world today compares to this aircraft,” said Orville Prins, Lockheed Martin’s Business Development Vice President and MMRCA programme Campaign Lead. “The F-16IN is a unique configuration of the F-16, designed to address the requirements specified in India’s RFP. The F-16 is already the most reliable, maintainable, affordable and safest multi-role fighter in the world. The F-16IN will be even better. This proposal also represents a long-term partnership between the Air Forces of India and the United States and between Indian industry and the F-16 industry team.” The F-16IN has been especially designed to include a multitude of cutting-edge technologies such as a modern, full-colour, all-digital, glass cockpit; the APG-80 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar; the GE F110-132A engine for increased, thrust; a large weapons inventory; a highly effective electronic warfare suite; and Conformal Fuel Tanks (CFTs) to significantly extend range and persistence. The aircraft also includes advanced survivability features such as superior agility, excellent pilot situational awareness, and critical systems redundancy. The F-16IN is designed to provide outstanding front-line capability, unprecedented reliability, and an extremely low total cost of ownership. The F-16IN is an advanced derivative of the most combat proven multi role strike fighter available in the international marketplace today. Twenty-four countries have selected the F-16 as their fighter aircraft of choice, with 14 of those countries selecting the aircraft for follow on buys an unprecedented 52 times.

MILITARY Asia-Pacific UAV kills armed criminals near Baghdad On April 11, an air strike by a coalition forces’ Predator UAV (with Hell fire missile) killed six enemy combatants and injured one who were firing mortars at Iraqi security forces in Basra. The enemy combatants were observed in the Hyanniyah district by a coalition aircraft and positively identi40

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fied as an active mortar team. A day before, a Hellfire missile fired by a Predator UAV killed six heavily armed enemy combatants in Baghdad. Coalition forces from Multinational Division, Baghdad operating the UAV had observed a large group of enemy combatants with rocket-propelled grenade launchers and a mortar tube in northeast Baghdad. Agreement between Indian and Pakistani institutes To establish academic and scholarly ties for cooperation

in research on national and international security issues, an agreement has been signed between the Indian Institute of Defence Studies Analysis and Pakistani Institute of Strategic Studies. In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said the agreement came into force on February 4 for a period of five years and can be further extended for subsequent periods of five years at a time unless either gives to the other a written notice three months in advance of its intention to

• Aer Lingus, Ireland’s national carrier, has become the latest airline to place a firm order with Airbus for six A350 XWB. The contract brings total firm orders for the A350 XWB to 362. • The first A400M, MSN001, has recently left station 40 where all the aircraft systems’ interfaces have been connected and the electrical system successfully tested with power-on. From station 40 the aircraft has been moved to station 35 where all the systems on board will be checked for compliance with design requirements. ALENIA AERONAUTICA • The DA7 Euro fighter Typhoon prototype is the first aircraft to enter the new anechoic shielded chamber, the largest in Europe, built by Alenia Aeronautica, a Finmeccanica company, to test the electromagnetic compatibility of aircraft and systems, and measure the performance of emitting devices, specifically in the field of radio frequencies. ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS • Alliant Techsystems have recently delivered the 100,000th DSU-33 Proximity Sensor to the US Air Force. The DSU-33 provides proximity sensor functionality for weapons such as the Joint Direct Attack Munition, as well as general purpose bombs such as the Mk 80 and M117. BAE SYSTEMS • BAE Systems has developed a satellite navigation receiver system that provides uninterrupted operation of the GPS for air, land, and sea platforms. • BAE Systems has cut metal on its first component for the F-35 Lightning II production aircraft. This opening cut, on a component part of the aft fuselage, signifies a major milestone for the F-35 Lightning II programme and is for the F-35 which will enter USAF in 2010. BOEING • Following Boeing’s announcement regarding changes to the 787 schedule, Finmeccanica states this will have no material impact on its consolidated results and therefore confirms the guidance issued to the market for 2008-2010.

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APPOINTMENTS IAF CHANGES IN OFFING Air Marshal V.R. Iyer, with effect from May 1, takes over as the AOC-in-C of Training Command from the current incumbent Air Marshal G.S. Choudhry who retires on superannuation. Air Marshal S. Mukherji will move into Air Headquarters to take over Air Officer Personnel’s post to be vacated by Air Marshal V.R. Iyer. HAWKER BEECHCRAFT CORPORATION APPOINTS CHARLES MAYER VP, MARKETING Hawker Beechcraft Corporation has appointed Charles D. Mayer Vice President, Marketing. He will also lead marketing communications, public relations and internal communications, market analysis and database management. GULFSTREAM NAMES JIM GALLAGHER ENTRYINTO-SERVICE DIRECTOR, GULFSTREAM G650 Gulfstream Aerospace has appointed Jim Gallagher to lead the Gulfstream G650 Entry-Into-Service program. Gallagher will develop and implement a plan for bringing the all-new business jet to market in 2012. BOEING NAMES DE PALMAS TO LEAD RELATIONS WITH EU, NATO The Boeing Company has named Antonio De Palmas, 44, President of European Union and NATO Relations. BOEING NAMES DAVID DOHNALEK VP, FINANCE AND TREASURER The Boeing Company has appointed David Dohnalek corporate treasurer, succeeding Paul Kinscherff, who has been named president of Boeing Middle East. BOEING NAMES PAUL KINSCHERFF TO LEAD BUSINESS IN GULF STATES The Boeing Company has named Paul Kinscherff President of Boeing Middle East. Kinscherff, 49, will work with Boeing Saudi Arabia President Ahmed Jazzar.



assault Falcon has appointed Jacques Chauvet as Senior Vice President to the new position of Worldwide Customer Service. The appointment integrates two support organisations—the Eastern and Western Hemisphere Customer Service—into one support team, functioning under one worldwide leader. Chauvet has been with Dassault for 27 years, starting in the fighter jet prototype workshop in SaintCloud, France, and was previously Senior Vice President, Customer Service Eastern Hemisphere. “Our goal of providing the best customer service possible to our Falcon owners around the world has never been more important to us,” said John Rosanvallon, President and CEO of Dassault Falcon. “With record sales and the deepest backlog in business aviation, unifying the support team under one leader is vital to keeping up with the growing Falcon fleet.” Gerry Goguen, previously Dassault Falcon Jet Senior Vice President, Customer Service, will assume a new role as Senior Vice President, Customer Relations and Business Strategy. Goguen will provide guidance to enhance Dassault’s competitive position in the marketplace and will focus on customer expectations. He will report to Jacques Chauvet. “Gerry has been the driving force for many of our new programs over the past several years and has played a very important role in our success to date,” said Chauvet. “He has a unique strategic vision that will help guide our Customer Service activities moving forward.” terminate it before its expiry. The objectives are: • Exchange of ideas on issues of common concern through the conduct of scholarly conferences, seminars and round-tables • Mutual consultation and exchange of research scholars • Joint research projects • Exchange of research works and publications • Regular meetings between the representatives of the two institutes

which has a range of 2,000 km, was launched for the first time during a field training exercise by the army’s Strategic Forces Command, the military stated. The location of the launch was not disclosed. All previous launches have been conducted by defence scientists and engineers. The Shaheen-II is Pakistan’s longest range ballistic missile and was first tested in 2004.

Lockheed Martin contract for Pakistan Lockheed Martin Corporation, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics of Fort Worth, Texas, is being awarded two modified contracts for the procurement of non-recurring engineering activity for aircraft production programme changes; and developmental support equipment and country standard technical order for the Peace Drive I (Pakistan) programme for foreign military sales F-16 Block 52M aircraft.

President and CEO Åke Svensson addresses Saab’s annual meeting. Excerpts: An order has been received from Swedish Defence for the upgrading of 31 Gripen aircraft to the most modern versions and also an order for a demonstrator programme for Gripen. Also offers are being submitted to Switzerland, Norway and India. In 2007, an offer was submitted to Denmark, and work is in progress on several important campaigns including for countries in eastern Europe. An agreement was also concluded at a national level between Thailand and Sweden for a complete defence system based on Gripen, which also includes an advanced airborne surveillance system with the Erieye radar on the Saab 340 aircraft and associated communication and

Pakistan test-fires nuclear capable Shaheen-II again On April 21, Pakistan testfired the Shaheen-II longrange ballistic missile, which can carry nuclear and conventional warheads and hit targets within India, for the second time in three days. The Shaheen-II or Hatf-VI surfaceto-surface ballistic missile,


QuickRoundUp • The Boeing Company began final assembly work on the first 777 Freighter at the company’s Everett, Washington, facility. The new cargo airplane will roll out of the factory during end of April. • Boeing has announced a revised plan for first flight and initial deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner that includes additional schedule margin to reduce risk of further delays. • Boeing Australia Limited has opened a component repair business that will be housed in a new facility at Melbourne Airport, Victoria and will maintain, repair and overhaul a wide range of components for commercial and military aircraft. • Boeing Integrated Defense Systems has awarded Hamilton Sundstrand, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., a follow-on procurement contract to supply additional constant frequency electric systems for the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. • The Boeing Company, through its commercial launch business, Boeing Launch Services, has been awarded a contract to launch DigitalGlobe’s second WorldView Earth-imaging satellite on a Delta II launch vehicle. • Boeing and ANA celebrated the inaugural flight of the first 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighter as well as the completion of the airplane’s journey to Seattle on the airplane’s second flight. ELBIT SYSTEMS • Elbit Systems Ltd have announced that its subsidiary Elbit Systems Electro-Optics Elop Ltd was selected by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to supply new generation Head Up Displays for the new F-16 aircraft. INDIA • Close on the heels of floating multi-billion dollar global tenders for buying long-range artillery guns, India plans to invite international bids for purchase of 312 light helicopters. The tenders for these helicopters, 197 for the army aviation and another 115 for the air force, are expected to be floated shortly. • India is in advanced stage of negotiations with Russia on purchase of 80 medium lift advanced version of the MI-17 helicopters. The medium

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command systems. Gripen has thereby established itself in the three important market segments that have been identified: to replace Russian aircraft, to replace French aircraft and now also to replace American aircraft. Thus, at present, Gripen is in service/being delivered in Sweden, Thailand, Hungary, Czech Republic and South Africa.

Americas DARPA celebrates 50 years of technological evolution When Russia surprised the world a half century ago by launching the Sputnik satellite through Earth’s atmosphere, the ripple effect spurred the White House into action and in response President Dwight D. Eisenhower in February 1958 commissioned DARPA. Fifty years later, the agency’s mission remains clear: prevent future technological surprises for the US and create them for the nation’s enemies. Several hundred past and present DARPA employees gathered to celebrate a half century of success that produced the Saturn V rocket that enabled US Apollo missions to fly to the moon, stealth aircraft, guided munitions, body armour, and an early version of today’s Internet, to name some of the agency’s mainstays. Orbital awarded US Air Force contract Orbital Sciences Corporation have announced that the US Air Force Space and Missiles Systems Center has ordered three additional Minotaur space launch vehicles in support of the new Operationally Responsive Space office. The order for Minotaur vehicles consists of two Minotaur IV vehicles and one Minotaur I vehicle for launches that will take place in 2010-2011. Cyber Command officials define unit’s scope Using energy as a war fighting tool is one area that members of the Air Force Cyber Command’s 450th Electronic Warfare (EW) will be charged with exploring. So far, electronic warfare has focused on radar jamming, deception, 42

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coding new frequencies and such, and mostly on airborne platforms such at the B-52, F-15 and B-1B. The EW Wing has been asked to look at expanding their capabilities and one of these areas is through the use of directed energy such as lasers or microwaves or high powered electromagnetic pulses. But warfare in the electromagnetic spectrum is more than the use of directed energy. There are visible and non-visible aspects of the spectrum to include infrared, ultra violet, gamma rays, X-rays and so forth, and those are divided even further into electric and magnetic fields. Boeing delivers 1st Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition The Boeing Company has delivered the first LJDAM kits to the US Air Force. The Precision Laser Guidance Set (PLGS) kits are being produced to satisfy the air force and navy’s urgent need for engagement of fast-moving land targets. The initial LJDAM contract, awarded in May 2007, will add 600 laser seekers to the services’ existing inventory of 500-pound bombs. The tests demonstrated LJDAM’s ability to engage and destroy targets moving up to 70 miles per hour.

CIVIL Asia-Pacific Lockheed Martin wins BSAT-3b Satellite contract Lockheed Martin has been awarded a contract by B-SAT of Japan to build its next geostationary telecommunications satellite. Designated BSAT-3b, the satellite will provide high-definition direct broadcast services throughout Japan following its scheduled launch the third quarter of 2010 aboard an Arianespace launch vehicle. The Lockheed Martin A2100 geosynchronous spacecraft series is designed to meet a wide variety of telecommunications needs.

Americas TeamSAI predicts strong MRO growth in next 10 years During the opening session

of the annual Aviation Week Group, North American MRO Conference, Chris Doan, TeamSAI President & CEO, predicted an annual growth averaging 4.3 per cent for the worldwide MRO industry to yield a total revenue level of $68.6 billion in 2018. The forecast specifically covers western-built jet aircraft in commercial airline service worldwide. Doan’s presentation pointed out that key drivers include the fact that much of the scheduled MRO work has been queued up by fleet decisions made five to 10 years ago, as well as shortages in the work force pushing labour rates up, and the impact of the weak dollar on the international market. Major US carriers face massive fleet upgrade cost Ascend, the world’s leading provider of information and consultancy to the global aerospace industry, reveals that the airlines face being stuck with old aircraft for years to come because they currently do not have enough firm orders to replace them. Over the next decade, major US airlines are facing a potentially crippling bill to upgrade ageing fleets, according to industry experts. Order backlogs at both Boeing and Airbus means there is unlikely to be any quick fix. The problems are particularly acute for major US carriers American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines.

SPACE Americas Modernised GPS satellite begins operations A rapid on-orbit deployment of the modernised Global Positioning System Block IIR satellite launched on March

QuickRoundUp choppers are being purchased to boost up Indian Air Force’s logistic capability. • In a written reply in the Lok Sabha Defense Minister A.K. Antony said India has signed a contract for upgradation of 63 MiG-29 aircraft with M/s RAC–MiG, Russia. Thirteen MiG-29 aircraft have crashed till date since their induction in mid-1980s. The upgradation of all 63 aircraft is likely to be completed by March 2014. ISRAEL AIRCRAFT INDUSTRIES • The first flight of Spanish Army’s UAV (Searcher Mk-II-J of Israel Aircraft Industries deployed in Afghanistan has been flown for 22 minutes from Herat forward support base. LOCKHEED MARTIN • Lockheed Martin has received a contract from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to manufacture components for eight additional F-2 production aircraft. MHI is the prime contractor for the F-2, Japan’s operational support fighter. • Lockheed Martin Corp., Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems has been awarded a firm fixed price contract for Lot 1, material/fabrication, initial spares and Lot 2 advance procurement for the C-5M Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Programme. • The VINASAT-1 communications satellite, designed and built by Lockheed Martin for Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group of Vietnam, has been successfully launched from Kourou, French Guiana. VINASAT-1 is based on Lockheed Martin’s A2100A spacecraft platform. NORTHROP GRUMMAN • Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded five-year contract from the US Department of Defense to support theoretical studies and engineering research for Army, Navy and Air Force research and development programmes. The indefinite delivery/ indefinite quantity Theoretical Studies and Engineering Services contract has an option for five additional years. • Alliant Techsystems has received a contract option from Northrop Grumman Corporation to refurbish components and replace propellant on

Issue 4 • 2008

5/6/08 12:18:15 PM



SHOW CALENDAR 28 April-30 April IDGA’S COCKPIT AVIONICS, DOUBLETREE HOTEL, ANNAPOLIS, MD, USA Organisers: IDGA Email: URL: 1 May-2 May ARMED UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS, WYNN LAS VEGAS, LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA Organisers: Technology Training Corporation Email: URL: 5 May-7 May 5TH GLOBAL CONFERENCE: WAR, VIRTUAL WAR AND HUMAN SECURITY, BUDAPEST, HUNGARY Organisers: Inter Disciplinary Email: gellert.reservation@da URL: www.inter-disciplinary. net 5 May-7 May 6TH ANNUAL AEROSPACE & DEFENSE INDUSTRY SUPPLIERS CONFERENCE, THE JONATHAN CLUB, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA Organisers: SpeedNews Email: jspeed@speednews. com URL: defenseconference 11 May-13 May HELI MIDDLE EAST CONFERENCE, GRAND HYATT MUSCAT HOTEL, MUSCAT, OMAN Organisers: Shephard Conferences & Exhibitions Email: URL: heli-me 19 May-20 May FIGHTER TRAINING 2008, LONDON Organisers: SMI Email: URL: 19 May-20 May GULF C4I 2008, ARMED FORCES CLUB, ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Organisers: Worldwide Business Research Email: URL:




oeing and Airbus have signed an agreement to work together to ensure global interoperability in air traffic management as part of an effort to help reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. The companies will seek the acceleration of improvements to the world’s air transportation management system in order to increase efficiency and eliminate traffic congestion. Scott Carson, Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO, and Tom Enders, Airbus president and CEO, signed the agreement between the two industry leaders at the sidelines of the third Aviation and Environmental Summit in Geneva. “Airbus and Boeing are great competitors and this has been a critical element that has sharpened our focus and efforts toward making aviation more efficient,” Carson said. “While our approaches often differ, we are working towards the same goal—to reduce aviation’s environmental impact.” The initiative by Airbus and Boeing to work together to help the aviation sector and governments choose the most direct THE INITIATIVE BY THE TWO GIANTS path to a modernised air traffic manageOF THE AVIATION INDUSTRY IS PART ment system is part of a three-pronged OF A THREE-PRONGED APPROACH TO approach to help improve the environHELP IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENTAL mental performance of aviation. The other PERFORMANCE OF AVIATION two prongs are competition, which is critical for environmental and technological advances that result in new aircraft programmes such as the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, and support for industry alignment on environmental positions where appropriate. “I am convinced technology and innovation hold the key to reducing aviation’s environmental impact and increasing eco-efficiency,” Enders said. “And competition is a great motivator for this. Where Boeing and Airbus share a common position on the environment and safety, it is in all our interests that we cooperate to achieve our common goals more quickly.” In the last 40 years, the aviation industry has made significant improvements in aircraft efficiency with reductions of 70 per cent in carbon dioxide, 90 per cent in noise and 90 per cent less unburned hydrocarbons. The Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe targets reductions of 50 per cent in carbon dioxide and 80 per cent in nitrogen oxides by 2020. A modernised air traffic management system will be a key contributor to achieve this goal. 15 from Cape Canaveral was completed by a combined US Air Force/Lockheed Martin team. Declared operational for military and civilian navigation users worldwide, the spacecraft includes new features that enhance operations. New satellite affords more power, better fighter support The most powerful communications satellite in the US Department of Defense inventory went operational during midApril. The Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is the first of six satellites that will take over long-haul communications from the legacy constellation, the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS). Originally planned as a gap filler between the DSCS and a more capable system, it evolved to become the new system. Raytheon wins GPS contract Raytheon Company has won a US Air Force contract to complete the development and

certification of next-generation global positioning receivers. Under the Modernized User Equipment program, the circuit card technology will connect military users with new GPS navigation signals compatible with enhanced NAVSTAR GPS satellites.

Europe Astrium wins ESA contract to build Sentinel-2 Astrium has been appointed by the European Space Agency to be the prime contractor to build Sentinel-2, the first optical satellite in the Sentinel series. The contract was signed in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Sentinel-2 will provide a permanent record of comprehensive data to help inform the agricultural sector (utilisation, coverage), forestry industry (population, damage, forest fires), disaster control (management, early warning) and humanitarian relief programmes. •

Minuteman III Stage 1, 2 and 3 rocket motors. The Minuteman III Propulsion Replacement Program began in 1998. PRATT & WHITNEY • Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan demonstrator engine has begun Phase II ground testing at the company’s advanced test facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. Phase II of the ground test programme will focus on engine performance and acoustic characteristics with a flight capable nacelle system prior to initiating flight testing mid-year. RAYTHEON • Raytheon Company is developing transmit-receive modules based on the advanced semiconductor gallium nitride for use in future radar upgrades. • Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems of Woburn, Mass., has been awarded by the Missile Defense Agency an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to support the design, development, and activation of a European-based mid-course radar to be completed by February 2013. • Raytheon Company was awarded an US Air Force contract for Phase II risk reduction of a radar-jamming variant of its Miniature Air Launched Decoy—a state-of-the-art, low-cost flight vehicle that is modular, airlaunched and programmable. SAAB • FMV, the Swedish Defence Material Administration has responded to a request from the Croatian government for information regarding the supply of 12 new Gripen fighters. SUKHOI • The State Corporation “Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs” (Vnesheconombank, Russia), COFACE, a French export credit agency, and SACE, an Italian export credit agency signed a Joint statement on the establishment of an integrated export credit financing scheme for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 international sales. US • The USAF’s F-22 Raptor is under attack from clams dropped by birds on the Langley Air Force Base runway to break open the shell-fish appetizer.

Issue 4 • 2008

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5/6/08 12:18:16 PM







lory, or rather the lack of it in the condescending confines of ‘glorified’, and gumption, an unexpected dose from unexpected quarters, came into sharp focus at Calicut airport on April 7 when, following a heated altercation, Rajya Sabha MP Abdul Wahab was offloaded from an Air India aircraft under instructions of the Pilot-in-Command, Captain Rajat Rana. Unprecedented and unusual in many aspects, the incident has triggered a multi-faceted complexity. Adding a touch of the bizarre to the sensational, an employee of a state-owned—and not a private airline—dared to act against a powerful political entity in the Government. Not an experience Air India’s new CMD can hope to cherish within a week of assuming charge. Events leading up to the flashpoint were nothing out of the ordinary. The Air India flight from Bahrain arrived in Calicut 20 minutes behind time and thereafter, departure for Cochin was held up for Wahab, who, escorted by the Duty Airport Manager, boarded the aircraft few minutes late. Worked up over the delay, Captain Rana reportedly started berating the Duty Airport Manager when Wahab allegedly entered the cockpit to intervene on behalf of the latter. The MP is accused of dubbing the Captain “a glorified driver”, provoking the pilot to stubbornly refuse to fly the aircraft with the MP onboard. Evidently, what seems to have triggered the Captain to throw the rule book at the VIP was the derogatory remark and not really the ‘security implications of unauthorised entry into the cockpit’. Fortunately, Wahab chose not to escalate matters and disembarked. One with lesser wisdom or humility could have adopted a confrontational approach, possibly demanding immediate intervention by the CMD Air India, the DGCA, Minister of Civil Aviation or even the Prime Minister. Opting to instead withdraw, the minister displayed exemplary wisdom, maturity, humility and grace even if it is construed by some as acceptance of guilt. A wealthy Keralite NRI entrepreneur in the Gulf, Wahab has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since 2004. Apart from controlling a vast business empire covering real estate, hospitality and shipping, he enjoys good reputation as a philanthropist and a thorough gentleman. A legacy of the colonial past, the VIP menace continues to afflict Indian society with sycophancy of state agencies contributing proactively to perpetuate this malaise. In this episode, Air India and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, both departments of the government, are in a dilemma: neither can afford to an44

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noy the VIP community nor can they take on pilots’ Going by Rajya Sabha MP associations with Abdul Wahab’s yardstick, the attendant risk even Neil Armstrong would of country-wide perhaps fall in the same disruption of air subservient social group— services. Taking a of ‘glorified drivers’! serious view of the affront, the Indian Commercial Pilots’ Association is determined to settle for nothing less than an apology from Wahab. He, on the other hand, has threatened action through the Parliament. Already, conciliatory signals are emanating from the Ministry of Civil Aviation. In retrospect, what is cause for dismay is the public display by a member of the political establishment of the pathetic lack of knowledge, poor understanding and scant respect for a highly specialised segment of professionals whose contribution to social and economic development of the nation can neither be undermined nor ignored. Going by the yardstick employed by Wahab, even Neil Armstrong would perhaps fall in the same subservient social group—of ‘glorified drivers’! The MP ought to appreciate that pilots are no less capable or specialised than professionals from any other discipline. The alleged remark appears especially indiscreet as one airline pilot had in the past held the position of Chief Executive of the nation. Air India’s immediate response that “the customer is always right” is perhaps limited to situations where the ‘customer’ is a VIP, as this spirit is usually not perceptible in cases involving the common man. This time around, Air India has been caught off-guard—never before has anyone in the airline industry asserted his authority in the manner expressed by Captain Rana, albeit spontaneous and not premeditated. However, the key issue is whether Air India is able to recognise the feeble but clear signals indicating thin tolerance, simmering discontent and yearning for change. The manner in which the case is finally disposed of will give a clear indication of how serious the civil aviation authorities are about transforming Air India from a government department to a dynamic private enterprise capable of holding its own in a highly competitive world. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey

Issue 4 • 2008

4/28/08 3:23:50 PM

So, here we are... SP’s

A n E x c l u s i v e M a g a z i n e o n C i v i l Av i a t i o n f r o m I n d i a Back Cover Inside.indd 45

4/28/08 12:07:15 PM

F-16 proven record of performance. 4,300 deliveries and counting. The greatest multirole fighter units in the world demand nothing less than the greatest operational multirole fighter. The F-16 operates with durability and precision in all conditions. Its adaptability to new technology keeps it at state-of-the-art performance. And it’s easily the most cost-effective fighter to deploy, maintain and support. At 4,300 deliveries and counting, the F-16 has a proven record of incorporating new technology to maintain the combat edge.

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4/28/08 11:10:14 AM

SP's Aviation April 2008  

Aviation Magazine

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