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Aviation SP’s


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

ISSUE 2 • 2008

Singapore Airshow That BIG anymore? PAGE 24

Business Aviation & Growth of





Table of Contents

Aviation SP’s

Regular Departments 2 A Word from Editor 3 NewsWithViews


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


ISSUE 2 • 2008





Show Report 24 Singapore Airshow ’08: SPLIT TO SIZE 28 DEFEXPO ’08: LAVISH SPREAD

Hall of Fame

16 Business Aviation: Sense & Savings

NewsDigest LastWord

BIAL: Protracted Delivery


���� Cover Photo: New VLJs, like the Cessna Mustang, are drastically ���������� cutting down the cost of �������� chartering a private aircraft ��������� by as much as 30 per cent ��������

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.


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Photo credit: Alan Peaford

© SP Guide Publications, 2008

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)






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DESIGN SP Guide Publications Team

SUB-EDITOR Bipasha Roy


Little to Cheer Expertspeak - Budget







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


Superficial vs Substantial


As global travel becomes increasingly tedious with all the hassles posed by elaborate security checks and airport transfers, the business jet has emerged a far more attractive option





Paramount expansion a pipe dream? Many twists to US spy satellite tale Confusion Galore

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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: Maintenance for Corporate Aviation Issue 2 • 2008



A Word from Editor

Defence allocation in the Budget has come as a dampener for Indian armed forces even as the share set aside for civil aviation somewhat reflected the sector’s dynamic growth.That,and high drama over a defence deal in the US makes for an engaging read.


rue to our word to bring SP’s Aviation to you every month, we feel privileged to present to our readers the second issue of 2008 close on the heels of Defexpo 2008 held in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan from February 16 to 19. In the cover story, Alan Peaford presents a world view of the growing popularity of business aviation that has in recent years received an impetus as global travel becomes increasingly tedious with the numerous hassles posed by elaborate security checks and airport transfers. Looking at Asia, the author comments that India, with its greater number of millionaires than anywhere else in Asia and record number of aspiring graduates and entrepreneurs, is a potentially huge market for business aircraft. In reflection of this statement, just the other day, a brand new hangar was commissioned at the domestic side of the IGI airport at Delhi to service Hawkers. Even as the civil aviation sector booms, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s 2008-09 Budget, presented in Parliament on February 29, gave little cause for cheer to the Indian armed forces with industry pundits and senior servicemen insisting that the allocation would fall short of realising the aspiration for rapid modernisation of the forces. A rather disturbing development is the defence budget’s slide to less than 2 per cent of the GDP—for the first time since 1962. Analyses carried in the In Focus and Forum columns are further strengthened by former Chief of the Indian Navy Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash’s




opinion piece where he reiterates that a mere 10 per cent hike in the defence budget from the previous year may mean nothing as, in real terms, the budget may have remained static or even declined. Away from home, the United States Air Force (USAF) finds itself in the centre of a storm over a $40 billion contract for the supply of 179 Flight Refuelling Aircraft which it awarded to a consortium consisting of Northrop Grumman and European firm EADS. The country’s home company, Boeing—the traditional supplier of air tankers not only to the USAF but also to other air forces of allied/friendly countries—has not taken kindly to the snub. Far from it. Bewildered and angry, it has decided to file a formal protest asking the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to review the USAF’s decision. In a short time, the raging debate has acquired political and patriotic overtones. Even as Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey discusses threadbare the intriguing twists and turns in the so-called tanker war, the voices of reason are strident in their demand to be heard above the din raised by opponents of the deal. Finally, after almost a quarter of a century after the Indian Air Force’s initial bid for an advanced jet trainer (AJT), the Hawks were formally inducted into the force at a small but glittering ceremony on February 23 at the air base at Bidar, heralding a new era in the history of flying training. Enjoy!

Jayant Baranwal

Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Issue 2 • 2008



Chennai-based regional carrier Paramount Airways plans to start international operations by 2011. Managing Director M. Thiagarajan declared: “As soon as we finish five years of operations in 2010, we plan to start international operations.” Paramount Airways initially hopes to explore direct flight operations to select destinations on the lucrative European and US sectors. As part of its preparation to fly international, Paramount is currently holding final negotiations with US aerospace major Boeing and Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer Airbus for acquiring at least 10 wide-bodied planes. An official said the airline is actively considering Boeing’s B 777 family of planes or Airbus A 330 as its final choice. The deal is likely to materialise and an announcement may be made during the ongoing Singapore Air Show 2008.




aunched on October 19, 2005, Chennai-based Paramount Airways is a low-cost airline in the private sector. Owned by Madurai-based textile giant, the Paramount Group, the airline is unique on a number of counts. Unlike other low cost or full service airlines in India, its aircraft are configured to a combination of only first and business class sections catering to a narrow segment of the society. The airline offers good value for money at highly competitive prices. Also, Paramount Airways is the only airline in India to operate the Brazilian Embraer family of aircraft. Over the last two-and-a-half years of existence, Paramount Airways has managed to build up its fleet to just five aircraft. In this period, the airline has essentially been validating its exclusive but somewhat doubtful business model. Adopting an extremely conservative approach, the airline has resorted to scaling down operations cutting out non-profitable sectors confining operations to southern India to focus on profitability. Whether or not the business model adopted by the airline is successful, cannot be stated with any degree of certainty as the cumulative losses suffered by all airlines in India by the end of the financial year 2006-07 is estimated to be in the region of $700 million (Rs 2,800 crore). It is unlikely that any airline, least of all Paramount Airways with its rather difficult business model, is truly out of the red, claims to the contrary by the airline management notwithstanding. Over the next three to four years, the airline has intentions to expand its fleet to 60 aircraft involving investments of over $2.5 billion (Rs 10,000 crore) and progressively enlarge its footprint to cover the rest of the country. However, given the seemingly cautious approach the airline has displayed to date, the stated expansion plans appear somewhat unrealistic and unconvincing. As of date, the airline has a long way to go before it can shed its distinctly regional identity. In this context, indications by the airline management of

intentions to foray into the international arena with direct flights to the US and Europe, adds a perplexing dimension to its strategic plan and is in jarring contrast to both its character and track record. For international flights to the US and Europe, the airline would have to acquire a fleet of wide body jets either from Boeing or Airbus, necessitating sizeable investments in human resources and infrastructure associated with the induction of a new type of aircraft. Also, whether the airline has the financial resilience to muster the enormous resources required over and above the investment committed for the expansion of the Embraer fleet, is not quite clear. It is also not yet clear whether the airline has plans to replicate its unique cabin configuration adopted for the domestic sector. In all probability, the airline may opt for a more conventional approach in this regard. Paramount Airways will complete five years of operation in October 2010 by which time the airline intends to supplement its current fleet by inducting more than 20 aircraft. Armed with these two attributes, the airline will technically be eligible to operate international flights. On account of lower international fuel prices and higher fares, such a move is expected to offer better margins of profit. The airline’s effort at expansion of its domestic fleet and planning to emerge on the international scene is indeed lofty and laudable. However, so far, apart from ambitious pronouncements of intent, there has been little movement on the ground by way of effective execution of plans. Finally, given the financial, technical and operational complexities involved in the management of a mixed fleet with radically different types of aircraft operating on domestic and international sectors, Paramount Airways may well be fishing in troubled waters. In the final analysis, the recent pronouncements may well turn out to be merely another exercise in public relations that are usually timed to coincide with international air shows. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey Issue 2 • 2008





On February 21, 2008, a missile launched from a US Navy cruiser soared 240 km above the Pacific and smashed a dying and potentially deadly US spy satellite, the Pentagon said. Several defence officials claimed it had apparently achieved the primary aim of destroying an onboard tank of toxic fuel. Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the satellite, the size of a school bus. But they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more worrisome fuel tank, whose contents posed what Bush administration officials deemed a potential health hazard to humans if it landed intact.




wned by the National Reconnaissance Office, the US spy satellite was launched in December 2006 from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California for testing newly developed sensors for both optical and radar based high resolution imagery. Owing to failure of onboard software-based control systems, a hurdle that apparently proved insurmountable, control over the satellite was lost and it was consequently declared defunct and abandoned. However, two months ago, it was observed to be moving progressively closer to the Earth and the estimate was that it would ultimately impact some point on it by the first week of March 2008, posing danger to human habitation. As claimed by Pentagon, the decision to destroy the satellite before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere was triggered by the fact that it was carrying in excess of 500 kg of unspent Hydrazine, a potential threat to humans as the impact point of the satellite could neither be predicted nor controlled. The last part of the claim lacks credibility as the US has the capability to track tiny objects on a re-entry trajectory and predict with reasonable degree of accuracy the likely impact area. During the Cold War era, both the US and the Soviet Union pursued the development of anti-satellite missiles, conducting innumerable successful tests. The first time that a satellite in orbit was successfully destroyed by an anti satellite weapon launched from a USAF F-15 aircraft was in 1985. Testing was, however, discontinued to avoid pollution of space by debris from fragmented satellites. Early last year, China created a furore by downing one of its own life-expired satellites in orbit with a ground-launched ballistic missile. Apart from littering space, demonstration by China of the capability to successfully target a satellite 650 km in space, was an event that caused much consternation to the US. Successful military operations undertaken in theatres across the globe by the US armed forces are critically satellite dependent. Protection of these assets is, therefore, of major concern. As of date, there is no available means besides deterrence. The 4


Issue 2 • 2008

US exercise was perhaps an unequivocal message to China. But the US is yet to match China’s demonstrated capability as the F-15 based ASAT programme was terminated years ago. In this case, the rationale put forth by the US for undertaking a $60 million (Rs 240 crore) mission to destroy the crippled satellite, is somewhat unconvincing. Firstly, it is highly unlikely that the Hydrazine tank would have survived the fiery entry into the Earth’s atmosphere with the inflammable fuel burning out in the process. Even if it did, apprehension of danger to human habitation from impact is more imaginary than real, considering 70 per cent of Earth’s surface is covered with water and only three per cent of the land surface is inhabited. The probability of the satellite which is not very large impacting an inhabited area is low enough to be ignored. In 2007, around 100 objects, including some Hydrazine laden containers, made reentry with few reaching the surface of the Earth but without any injury to humans or damage to property. Over the nearly six decades of space exploration, there is no recorded case of human fatality or injury from space debris. The other possible motivation could be to ensure sensitive satellite reconnaissance technology does not fall into Russian or Chinese hands. But it is extremely unlikely any hardware could retain intelligence value should it survive reentry and violent impact on land or water. There were also unfounded rumours about a nuclear power generation device being onboard, reviving memories of the Russian COSMOS 954 satellite showering radioactive debris in January 1978 over parts of Canada that, thankfully, was sparsely populated. Whatever the official position, both Russia and China view the episode as an exercise to not only validate antimissile technology but also prove the capability of the SM 3 to knock out satellites in low Earth orbit. The world is moving inexorably to cold war confrontation with profound implications for humanity on account of the arms race extending into space. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey



In the aftermath of the official termination of India’s quarter-of-a-century-old Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP) in December 2007, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is reportedly focusing on the development of Astra air-to-air missile systems. Also on the anvil are four other missile systems: the 700 km range K-15 submarine launched ballistic missile, the 290 km BrahMos supersonic and hypersonic cruise missiles, the 3,500-km range Agni III ballistic missile and the long-range surface-to-air missile system being jointly developed with Israel.




ndia, it may be recalled, had launched an ambitious indigenous programme for the development of a comprehensive range of missiles, including the intermediate-range Agni and short-range Prithvi surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, Akash medium-range and Trishul short-range surface-to-air missiles, and Nag anti-tank missile systems. The project was launched in the early 1980s and headed by the DRDO with the former President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, as one of the chief architects. On January 8, 2008 the DRDO announced it would be closing the missile programme since most of the proposed missiles had been developed and inducted in the Indian armed forces. It further stated that the new missile and weapon systems would be developed in much shorter timeframes with foreign collaboration and participation by private industries. The fact that not all the old programmes were fully developed created confusion, which deepened due to criss-cross reporting by the media on the ongoing and follow up programmes. That said, it would perhaps be prudent to look at the status of the previous programmes. Of the early projects, it is only the Prithvi which can claim to be fully successful. Agni, on the other hand has yet to find its full potential. While Agni Mk I has been operationalised, the MK II version has yet to be deployed operationally and the Mk III is still under development. As far as surface-to-air missiles are concerned Trishul has been a total failure as the programme has been foreclosed at the technology demonstration stage. Akash has found conditional success in that it has conditional acceptance from the Air Force while the army has rejected it outright citing cross-country incompatibilities as the main reason for non-acceptance. The last, Nag missile system, is yet to undergo field trials before its acceptance by the army. Foremost among the dilemmas facing the DRDO concerns the naval version of the Prithvi missile which has been variously named as Prithvi III, Sagarika and Dhanush. In addition, another missile has appeared on the scene with the media covering the marginally successful test firing of K-15 from a submerged pontoon off Visakhapatnam on February 26, 2008.

The naval Prithvi III was supposed to have a range of 350 km with a 1,000 kg warhead, 600 km with a 500 kg warhead and 750 km with a 250 kg warhead. It could be that Dhanush which was successfully tested from a ship on March 30, 2007 is the surface-launched version of the Prithvi III with 1,000/500 kg warhead capability. On the other hand, K-15 appears to be submarine-launched version of Prithvi III or Sagarika with 250 kg warhead/750 km range (reported as 700 km by the media). Other confusing reports emanating from the media pertain to India-Israel collaborative programmes on acquisition/ development of missile systems. The earlier derailed Spyder (Python plus Derby) surface-to-air missile system due to suspicions of middlemen involvement appears to have been revived, most probably, due to the failure of the indigenous Trishul programme. On the naval front, notwithstanding the political and corruption riddled controversies in the Barak quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system acquisition programme, India and Israel appear to be all set to jointly develop an improved version called the Barak NG (Next Generation) which would have much longer range (50 to 70 km) compared to 10 km range of the present system. The navy has decided to configure all its future warships with longer range surface-to-air missile systems in its transition to a more of a ‘blue water’ navy that can reach into highthreat areas, and a logical complement to the Navy’s establishment of a comprehensive carrier task force beginning with INS Vikramaditya (formerly, Admiral Gorshkov). Amid confusing reports by the media, it appears to be the project which is being described as MR/LRSAM (medium/long range surface-to-air missile) system to be co-developed by India’s DRDO and the Israeli IAI for the Indian armed forces. The army and the air force are known to have projected requirements for long-range SAMs for a credible nationwide air defence system. But will this development also put the indigenous Akash SAM system into jeopardy, notwithstanding the fact that the IAF have reportedly placed an order for two squadrons’ worth of these systems? SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia Issue 2 • 2008





S u p e r f ivsc i a l SUBSTANTIAL P

ithy and precise, allocation for the defence sector in Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s 2008-09 Budget was contained in the traditional twoliner. Presenting the Budget to the Indian Parliament on February 29, Chidambaram said: “The allocation for defence is being raised by 10 per cent from Rs 96,000 crore to Rs 1,05,600 crore ($26.5 billion).” Adding: “I have assured the Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister) that more money would also be provided if necessary, especially for capital expenditure.” On the day the Budget was announced it was not clear as to how much would be the share of each service. However, it was being hoped that the Indian Air Force (IAF), highly capital-intensive service that it is, would continue to get a bigger share of the pie so far as capital budgetary allocations are concerned so as not to derail its modernisation programmes. The now released figures for the three services reveal that the hopes were not entirely misplaced. The Ministry of Defence appears to have to some extent addressed the concerns of the IAF which has hit new lows in terms of its fast depleting force levels and obsolete operational/ support equipment. Last year, the IAF had been allotted Rs 16,660.17 crore ($3.70 billion) for capital expenditure, compared to Rs 11,374 crore ($2.52 billion) for the army and Rs 10,000 crore ($2.22 billion) for the Indian Navy, at the then prevailing exchange rates. This year, too, the IAF remains at the top of the table with a slightly increased allocation of Rs 18,281.42 crore ($4.57 billion) at the current exchange rates against a weakened US dollar. In the case of the army and navy, however, the trend seems to have been reversed with their share being Rs 10,057.29 crore ($2.51 billion) and Rs 11,328.59 crore ($2.83 billion), respectively. The above allocations pertain to only major hardware such as aircraft and aero-engines, heavy and medium vehicles, naval warships and other major equipments. It does not cater for other sundry allocations which when added up take the combined capital allocations to a figure of Rs 48,007 crore ($12.175 billion). While the capital allocations show an overall increase of approximately 20 per cent over the previous year, in absolute terms there may be little reason to cheer as far as acquisition of major hardware for the armed forces is concerned. It may be noted that these allocations do not permit quicker modernisation the services so desperately want to match the feverish pace at which India’s neighbourhood is arming itself. The IAF, for instance, will be able to rapidly absorb the allocated amounts on the ongoing programmes, 6


The MoD has to some extent addressed the concerns of the IAF even as allocations for civil aviation maintain last year’s momentum

Issue 2 • 2008

such as the Hawk AJT, the Phalcon AWACS systems, the additional Su-30 MKI and FRAs, and the recently revived Spyder SAM project, to name a few. But this may prove to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg considering the large voids which exist between its present and desired capabilities to fulfill extended responsibilities. CIVIL AVIATION: BONANZA CONTINUES

Budgetary allocations for the civil aviation ministry maintain the momentum of the last year when it witnessed a sudden five-fold spurt in allocations from the previous year’s (200607) Rs 2,256.36 crore to Rs 12,192.09 crore ($2.70 billion). If last year the lion’s share was earmarked for public sector carriers Air India and Indian, this year the same has been transferred to the now merged airlines amalgamated into the National Aviation Company of India Limited (NACIL). However, compared to a combined total of Rs 8,844.71 crore ($1.95 billion) for both airlines in 2007-08, this year’s allocation for the NACIL has been pegged at Rs 5,786.48 crore ($1.5 billion). The reduced allocation may have been due to a possible lesser requirement to meet the payment schedules for new aircraft inductions, which consume major part of allotted funds. In a similar vein, Air India Charters at Rs 634.5 crore ($160 million) gets a little over half of what it got last year. That appears to be the main reason for the somewhat reduced allocations for the Civil aviation Ministry which stand at Rs 10,031 crore ($2.577 billion) for the present year. The fact that the government has taken the infrastructural improvement requirements more seriously is evident as the Airport Authority of India (AAI) bags Rs 3,377.10 crore ($845 million), an almost two-fold increase from last year. These funds will be utilised for providing operational improvements in various airports in the North Eastern Region and crucial areas like Jammu, Leh, Srinagar, Port Blair, Agatti, Pudduchery and Aurangabad. The other traditionally big spender, the rotary wing public enterprise Pawan Hans, has been allotted Rs 123.8 crore ($40 million) which is about half the amount it received last year. A sizable chunk of Rs 413.0 crore ($100.4 million) has been also earmarked for Haj charters. SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia



While India’s defence budget has slid to an alarming figure of less than 2 per cent of the GDP, its neighbours Pakistan and China continue to spend between 4 to 6 per cent of their respective GDPs on defence













inance Minister P. Chidambaram’s Budget may have reason why the defence budget couldn’t be increased to 3 won accolades and many a sobriquet—‘mother of per cent of the GDP if India continues to maintain a high all budgets’, ‘a common man’s budget’, ‘everybody’s economic growth rate. However, even after achieving the budget’, ‘election year budget’—on the defence ex- desired growth rate year after year, the ministerial promises penditure front, however, any hopes of a departure from the remain firmly in the realm of mere rhetoric. mundane and staid announcements of the previous years While India’s defence budget has slid to an alarming fighave proved to be thoroughly misplaced. Two-liner pro- ure of less than 2 per cent of the GDP, its neighbours Pakinouncements were a jaded repeat of the previous years: the stan and China continue to spend between 4 to 6 per cent customary 10 per cent hike (primarily to counter domestic of their respective GDPs on defence, taking into account real and international inflation) and a vague assurance that, if expenditures. Chinese actual figures are two to four times required, more funds would higher than their official be provided to meet defence figures. Last year, the Chineeds. Fact is, for the first nese had officially released Revenue Allocations (Rs crore) time in over the last four dea figure of $44 billion (Rs cades India’s defence budget 1,77,430 crore) for defence 40000 has plummeted to less than expenditure but it was well 2 per cent of the GDP. A simknown that the actual figure 35000 ilar dip was seen in 1962, had crossed the $100 billion the year India suffered an (Rs 4,03,250 crore) mark. 30000 ignominious and shameful This year, while the official 25000 defeat at the hands of the figure announced by PeoChinese. That was also the ple’s Congress spokesman 20000 time when India’s politiJiang Enzhu showed a 17.6 15000 cal leadership had refused per cent increase in China’s to address the country’s 2008 military budget over 10000 military vulnerabilities. Inthe previous year to 417.77 5000 dia lost to the Chinese not billion yuan ($58.82 billion, because the Indian armed or Rs 2,37,190 crore), the 0 Indian Army Indian Air Force Indian Navy DRDO forces failed to measure up actual figure may be hovto the adversary, but owing ering near the $200 billion Revised Budget Estimates Initial Estimates 2007-08 2006-07 2008-09 to the refusal of the ruling (Rs 8,06,500 crore) mark. establishment to acknowlIn the last year itself, referedge ground realities. Like ring to China’s steeply hiked last year, the UPA Governbudget, Antony had admitment has once again failed to realise the need to spend a ted that the Indian armed forces needed more than what fair amount of the GDP on defence. When computed as a the Finance Minister had awarded. Reacting to this year’s percentage of GDP, defence expenditure provides a clear in- allocation of a relatively paltry $26.4 billion (Rs 1,06,458 dication of the investment a country is willing to make to crore), he said, “I can say that I am happy with the budmeet its security concerns. This is a clear yardstick and a get.” The Defence Minister’s volte face came as a complete universally accepted norm. surprise to the entire military community, including defence To refresh memories, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and security analysts. had in the not too distant past issued a categorical assurCommenting on the 2008 defence budget, Admiral Arun ance that if the economic growth were to reach 8 per cent, Prakash, who recently retired as Chief of the Indian Navy, defence allocations would be increased to 3 per cent of the said, “Above all, economic prosperity and national security GDP. Defence Minister A.K. Antony later stated he saw no are two sides of the same coin. Only the short-sighted will 32,187.26




Issue 2 • 2008



FORUM BUDGET imagine that you can have one without the other.” (For full comment, see “Expertspeak: Budget” on page 9.) India, with extensive land and maritime borders and a vast airspace to guard, faces a variety of threats and challenges especially from its traditional neighbouring adversaries. In an effort to tackle these threats, India has one of the largest armed forces in the world, including the third largest army, the fourth largest air force and, an expanding navy aspiring for ‘blue water’ capabilities. To maintain these force levels at the peak levels of combat efficiency and abreast of modern technologies and war fighting techniques, it is imperative that greater allocations are made in the annual defence budgets. All appraisals and assessments in this regard continue to point towards pegging the defence budget to approximately 3 per cent of the GDP which would be easily affordable by the nation and provide the necessary balance to maintain its march on the path to achieve economic prosperity. Air Chief Marshal S.P. Tyagi, former Chief of the Indian Air Force, puts it succinctly, “Even as the country endeavours to eradicate poverty and grow financially, one must keep in mind that no nation has grown economically without military backup. In the current world order, “NO NATION HAS GROWN ECONOMICALLY WITHOUT MILITARY BACKUP. IN THE CURRENT WORLD ORDER, WEAKLINGS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO PROSPER, THAT’S A UNIVERSALLY ACCEPTED TRUTH.” —AIR CHIEF MARSHAL S.P. TYAGI, FORMER CHIEF OF THE INDIAN AIR FORCE

weaklings are not allowed to prosper, that’s a universally accepted truth.” Even though the capital outlay on this year’s defence budget shows an increase of about 20 per cent, what is actually available for acquisition of military hardware is not adequate, especially in the light of the inflation of about 6 per cent, combined with escalation in international prices of weapon systems by about 10 per cent. The marginal increase in the services’ revenue budgets (see table) is even more depressing as it may not be able to even cater for the inflation leave alone provisioning for implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission. Out of a total of $12 billion (Rs 48,600 crore) approximately in the capital outlay, close to $9.91 billion (Rs 40,135 crore)—air force $4.57 billion, navy $2.83 billion, army $2.51 billion—is available for acquiring equipment hardware by the three services. This outlay would have to provide for payments/part payments for a large number of ongoing projects of the three services, such as the C-130, Hawk, AWACS, FRA and Spyder SAM for the Air Force; Scorpene submarines, Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya) and other warships for the navy; and additional T-90 tanks and much awaited 155 mm towed and self-propelled guns for the Army. There may be little left to proceed with new programmes. One of the major flaws in the system of procurement in India is the inflexibility in the procedures which invariably results in large unspent amounts from capital outlays. For8


Issue 2 • 2008

mer Indian Army Chief General Shankar Roychowdhury points out: “Procedures for defence procurement and its connected expenditures still remain in the dark ages of bureaucracy, while the capacities of the private sector remain shut out of the system. Unless that attitudinal turnaround commences in earnest during the forthcoming financial year, increased allocations to the defence budget will be like pouring water on desert sand.” Add to this the fact that every major defence deal in the recent past has acquired the murky hues of a ‘scam’, invariably stalling efforts at defence modernisation and effectively stemming defence expenditure. In 2006-07 more than Rs 3,000 crore meant for capital acquisitions languished unutilised. Last year, the surrender amount increased to a whopping Rs 4,217 crore. “We know that physical outlays don’t get translated into outcomes and when you consider this aspect with a below 2 per cent spending of GDP, you know it is not a happy auguring,” says Uday Bhaskar, former director of New Delhi’s Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis. “They (armed forces) have a long shopping list and every year all they have been doing is returning money as files have not moved,” he further added. “UNLESS ATTITUDINAL TURNAROUND COMMENCES IN EARNEST DURING THE FORTHCOMING FINANCIAL YEAR, INCREASED ALLOCATIONS TO THE DEFENCE BUDGET WILL BE LIKE POURING WATER ON DESERT SAND.” —GENERAL SHANKAR ROYCHOWDHURY, FORMER CHIEF OF THE INDIAN ARMY

On a somewhat similar note, Air Marshal P.K. Mehra, former Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of South Western Air Command, wonders: “There may be some disappointment over the defence allocation going below 2 per cent of GDP. The focus on increasing the allocation for capital purchases in the defence budget, however, is laudable. But will it lead to self-reliance is the question?” In his opinion, the major consideration for defence allocation so far has been the cost of replacement of equipment but the need of the hour is to fund a game changing plan for which stage wise allocations need to be made. To better utilise unspent money and mitigate hassles of funds surrender every year, the then Finance Minister Jaswant Singh under the NDA government had proposed and created a ‘Defence Fund’ in which the excess amounts up to a total of Rs 25,000 crore could be parked to cushion the inevitable slow progress of the defence modernisation programmes. However, this very thoughtful and progressive initiative was scuttled by the UPA Government citing absence of constitutional support for such a move. “The politico/bureaucratic system have become unresponsive, there is no urgency and they are not looking at defence as national issue,” Ajay Sahni of New Delhi’s Institute for Conflict Management said. “There is no missionary purpose anymore.” Might one hope for light at the end of the tunnel some day? SP — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia



“In real terms,the defence budget may have remained static or even declined” Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash


S EXPECTED, the defence budget for FY 2008-09 crossed the landmark figure of Rs 1 lakh crore after the FM factored in an escalation of about 10 per cent over last year’s estimates. However, this milestone loses much of its sheen when viewed pragmatically in the light of some hard realities. The first significant point is the defence budget’s percentage to GDP. For the first time since 1962, it has fallen below 2 per cent. Post-Independence, mindset of India’s political leadership was that expenditure on defence was a necessary evil, and since there was no threat to the nation, it needed to be curbed as much as possible. The figure, therefore, hovered around 1.8 per cent of GDP for the first decade or so, and fell to 1.69 per cent in 1962. Consequent to India’s humiliating defeat in the brief Sino-Indian war of 1962, the defence expenditure climbed to an average of 3.05 per cent GDP for the next 25 years. Thereafter, it slid gradually to 2.31 per cent at the turn of the century. Those present at the 2005 Combined Commanders Conference will recall Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remark that if the economy continued on its current trajectory, he envisaged no impediment to defence allocation hitting the 3 per cent GDP mark. Of course, neither a general election nor a pay commission hovered on the horizon then. Nevertheless, we need to be extremely wary of letting our guard down yet again. From time to time, the pacifist predilections of our political establishment come to the fore, and it appears to them that peace is about to break out all round India. In recent memory, it has happened in the early 1990s, and it is possible that our burgeoning trade with China and the turmoil in Pakistan are luring us into the same trap once again. Our policy makers must be reminded that building the national security edifice cannot be a stop-start process, which remains hostage to the vagaries of the annual budget. Above all, economic prosperity and national security are two sides of the same coin. Only the short-sighted will imagine that you can have one without the other. Secondly, the 10 per cent escalation in the budget which has taken it over the one lakh crore mark is meaningless so far as modernisation is concerned because arms vendors usually hike prices going by this figure or, more often, an-

nually. The Russians have traditionally been the toughest. They demand very high escalation rates and eventually settle for well above 10 per cent. So, in real terms, the budget may have remained static or even declined. Thirdly, although successive versions of the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) issued over the past few years have helped to streamline the painfully slow processes involved in hardware acquisition, the essential problem lies is that since Independence, the Service Headquarters (SHQs) have remained segregated and outside the MoD. At present, any acquisition proposal has to be laboriously processed through four sets of bureaucracies, namely; the SHQ, the Department of Defence, the Department of Defence (Finance) and, finally, the Ministry of Finance, before it can be put before the Cabinet Committee on Security for final approval. Each scrutiny is successive and very often repetitive; queries answered once will often be repeated by a different set of bureaucrats and must be answered again. This process can take anything from 10 to 18 months or more, and that is why few proposals can be processed in one financial year, and the MoD is the only ministry which surrenders large amounts regularly. The only resolution to end this conundrum is to integrate the SHQs with the MoD, as has happened in every other democracy. Only then will the Services proposals be formulated, processed and approved with harmony and unison rather than with acrimony and delay. Finally, the fact that every major defence deal in the recent past has become a “scam”, and, therefore, subject to scrutiny by the CVC or CBI has led to a deadly stasis setting into the defence modernisation process and hence in defence expenditure. The irony here is that in each instance, the armed forces have acted in the best interest of the nation, and good weapon systems have been selected entirely on merit. Yet, allegations of kickbacks and middlemen—true or motivated—have time and again muddied the waters and jeopardised national security. This stasis will only be broken when and if the major political parties agree that national security must remain above politics and that defence procurement projects are taboo as far as election funding is concerned. SP Issue 2 • 2008







Trans-Atlantic Tanker War By Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey, Bangalore



Issue 2 • 2008


EADS bagging the US Air Force’s $40 billion deal for Flight Refuelling Aircraft has raised a storm of protest and miffed Boeing IDS.But shutting out the din and brouhaha brings forth a clearer picture of sound logic.


HE RECENT DECISION BY THE US AIR FORCE TO capability to deploy at smaller airfields, low demand for the AWARD A $40 BILLION (Rs 1,61,680 crore) contract aircraft for commercial use in the face of stiff competition from for supply of 179 Flight Refuelling Aircraft (FRA) to Airbus and the effort to remain within budgetary constraints of a consortium of Northrop Grumman and European the customer. Whether or not the Boeing 767 would fully meet firm EADS North America, has left the world’s sec- with the requirements of the USAF as a tanker was, apparond-largest aerospace and defence contractor Boe- ently, not one of the considerations. ing IDS bewildered and a deeply divided Congress in Acting on a suggestion by Boeing, the USAF moved a case fierce debate. This initial order has the potential to be enlarged in due in 2003 for approval by the Congress to acquire 126 role-modcourse to 500 aircraft worth $100 billion (Rs 4,04,046 crore). ified Boeing 767 aircraft. Unfortunately, on account of revelaTo an independent observer, an European aerospace major tions of indiscreet conduct of certain individuals in the USAF supplying aerial refuelling tankers—a vital and critical com- and Boeing, the deal was scrapped. A revised global Request ponent of air power—to the USAF would appear both illogical for Proposal (RFP) for KC-X to replace the KC-135 was issued and incongruous. It is, therefore, not surprising that Boeing in December 2006. In response, Boeing submitted a revised should protest and even ‘demand’ the USAF explain the ratio- bid in April 2007 offering the KC-767 Advanced Tanker (AT) nale for rejecting their bid. At an investors conference in New based on a newer version of the 767-200 Long Range FreightYork on March 5, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems President er. This aircraft would have a fly-by-wire boom, new wing reand CEO Jim Albaugh explained: “Our view is that the US Air fuelling pods, centre line hose drum, flight deck from the most Force is buying a more costly and less capable aircraft and is recent model of the Boeing 777 airliner and a remote vision taking on risk in doing so. We need to be debriefed to under- refuelling system. stand why our conclusion is different from the air force’s.” A In response to the RFP, Northrop Grumman-EADS North couple of days later, soon after it had been debriefed by the America consortium offered the modified Airbus 330-200 USAF, a company statement quoted Vice President and Pro- Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) originally called KC-30, gram Manager of the KC-767 tanker Mark McGraw as saying: now re-designated as the KC-45A. This has been derived from “While we are grateful for the timely debriefing, we left the the popular Airbus 330 airliner of which nearly 900 are in serroom with significant concerns about the process in several vice around the world. Compared to this aircraft, the smaller areas, including program requirements related to capabilities, KC-767 AT would have lower fuel consumption and possibly cost and risk; evaluation of the bids and the ultimate decision.” would be less expensive to maintain. But it would be more Finally, on March 10, Boeing announced it would file a formal meaningful to rate the two contenders against yardsticks of efprotest asking the Government Accountability Office to review ficiency and operational attributes. Compared with the Boeing the decision by the USAF. Jim McNerney, Chairman, President 767, the KC-45A can transport more fuel, has better range, can and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Based upon what we have refuel more aircraft in a mission and has a significantly higher seen, we continue to believe we submitted the most capable, airlift capability. It offers better operational flexibility as it can lowest risk, lowest Most Probable Life Cycle Cost airplane as effectively combine the roles of tanker and troops/cargo carmeasured against the air force’s Request for Proposal.” rier. A major concern of the USAF was related to the delivery A derivative of the Boeing 707 airliner, the KC-135 Stra- schedule. Scrutiny of quotations suggested that by 2013, Boetotanker FRA which was developed in the 1950s and is cur- ing had the capacity to deliver only 19 aircraft as compared to rently in service with USAF, is fast approaching the end of its 49 by Northrop Grumman-EADS North America consortium. technical life. At best it could be stretched for In view of the condition of another decade or two. Also, there is a dethe existing tanker fleet, this gree of urgency for its replacement to prevent would have been a considerOn March 10, Boeing erosion of the capability of the US to project ation of critical importance for announced it would combat power across the globe. Boeing had the customer. ask the Government been working on replacement options since The decision by the USAF 1980. After the production of Boeing 707 was favouring the Northrop-EADS Accountability Office stopped in 1991, the company zeroed in on North America consortium to review the decision the slightly smaller twin engine Boeing 767 as drew an avalanche of proby the USAF a suitable airframe for conversion as tanker. tests from several members of The offer of the Boeing 767 was based on facthe Congress, especially from tors such as size (nearly the same as the KCamong the Democrats. Quite 135), better flexibility for the USAF through suddenly the issue shifted to Issue 2 • 2008



MILITARY TOP STORY the political arena and was even inclined to become a subject cal, are being progressively demolished. Lines demarcating of debate in the US presidential campaign. Support for the deci- ownership of giant conglomerates are increasingly getting sion came largely from the Republicans with President George blurred with investments from multi-national sources. Today, W. Bush, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates and the party’s no country or company builds aeroplanes, especially large nominee for the forthcoming presidential election and former ones, entirely on its own. The KC-45A, too, will have a global Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John Mc- supplier base with the power plants and avionics from US Cain, stoutly backing the decision. The general refrain was that companies, wings from UK and the fuselage from France. the contract was awarded based on merits and most rigorous Northrop Grumman, a major partner in the consortium, is selection procedure with complete fairness and transparency. very much an American company of stature being the third The procedure, which had the backing of statute, was formu- largest in the US aerospace industry. This company will suplated to ensure that the USAF would have the best machine in ply the refuelling apparatus and all other critical or sensitive the global market and the tax payer would get a cost-effective technologies in the assembly plants which will be located in solution and good value for money. The aircraft were evaluated the US. As per Northrop Grumman, 60 per cent of the tanker against nine key performance parameters and the Northrop- will be built in the US and will support 25,000 jobs. In case EADS North America bid was adjudged better of the two. the contract had gone to Boeing, once again critical parts of Arguments put forth by opponents of the deal are founded its tankers would have come from outside the US, from counon a mix of concerns related to national security and prestige, tries such as Canada, UK, Japan and Italy. It goes without damage to the interests of the US aerospace industry, adverse saying that a higher percentage (assessed as 85 per cent) of effect on the troubled US economy and loss of jobs at home. the aircraft would have been made in the US in comparison On the face of it, the arguments are all seemingly potent and with Northrop-EADS North America. valid. The USAF is being seen as handing over on a platter, Boeing itself is dependent on foreign sales that account a high value contract in the regime of for approximately 40 per cent of its advanced aerospace technology for the revenue. It has sold aerial refuelling manufacture of vital defence equipment tankers to Japan and Italy, military Concerns range from to a foreign company, unmindful of the transport aircraft to the UK, Canada national security and wide range of imperatives involved. and Australia and combat aircraft to damage to the interests Opponents of the deal are crying foul as friendly nations in South East Asia. of the US aerospace high level of expertise, aeronautical exIn 2007, sales to Europe accounted industry to adverse effect cellence and experience developed over for 10 per cent of total revenue and five decades to build FRA is available in part of it was through defence sales. on the troubled economy abundance with an American company, Besides, history of global defence and loss of jobs Boeing IDS. In the context of the ongorelated industry is replete with exing turmoil in the recession-plagued US amples of sales programmes involveconomy, it is difficult to reconcile with ing military equipment across the the fact that 19,000 American jobs and Atlantic. So what is different now? billions of dollars are being given away As of today, EADS has a strong to Europe. What is perhaps most gallpresence in the US with over 2,600 ing for many in the corridors of power is the USAF opting to Airbus aircraft in service and on order. In addition, there are a practically outsource national security to nations who have not large number of other aircraft, including civilian and military supported the US-led war against terror in Afghanistan and helicopters, from Eurocopter, a company under EADS. While Iraq and also continue to have close links with Iran. Ironically, lawmakers continue to spar and some could even be preparthe decision comes at a time when an appeal by the US gov- ing to scuttle the deal through denial of funding, optimists ernment against the European practice of government subsidy see a silver lining. This programme will help create a new to its aerospace industry is pending disposal with the World aerospace industry belt in the southern parts of the US with Trade Organisation. The deal, therefore, is perceived to be a suppliers spread across practically all states. As for the $32 compromise to not only American commercial interests but, in billion (Rs 1,29,360 crore) aerospace giant Boeing IDS, this the long-term, to national security as well. episode need not be seen a ‘major strategic setback’ as the There are apprehensions the contract will help EADS break company delivers 450 aircraft annually whereas this contract into the US market and establish strong industrial presence, would mean work order for a mere 15 additional aircraft per aggravating competition for domestic players. In one swift year. With the order books full and more work on hand than it stroke, five decades of Boeing’s track record in the US aero- can cope with, loss of this contract should hardly make a dent space industry seems to have been rendered meaningless. It in the company’s business model. is also of concern that through this deal, foreign governments While the tussle may be rooted in the traditional rivalry becould have influence in a critical area of US national defence. tween the aerospace giants across the Atlantic, political expediIn effect, the billions of US dollars to be transferred to EADS ency in an election year in the US may inspire intervention with North America in this deal will help strengthen European R&D a protectionist undertone, thereby inviting a backlash from Euand production capability as also provide them an opportunity rope. In the race to extract political mileage, hasty and flawed to penetrate a sensitive area of US military technology. decisions could set incorrect precedents such as cancellation, Arguments in favour of the deal appear equally cogent. In- revision or re-tendering of contract. These may in the long run dustry, technology and trade are undergoing rapid and exten- prove to be unhealthy and counterproductive for the US and sive globalisation. Erstwhile barriers, economic or ideologi- only serve to accentuate the divide across the Atlantic. SP 12


Issue 2 • 2008



Defying Constraints

By Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra

It would be prudent to integrate weapons from both eastern and western origin when upgrading all IAF fighter fleets


pgrade and modernisation of aircraft, an exercise undertaken by air forces across the world to ensure fleet contemporariness, is easy enough for nations that design, develop and manufacture the aircraft. The process, however, assumes tedious proportions for developing nations dependent on outright purchase or licensed manufacture. In the past, when aircraft were simple and did not come equipped with complex and integrated systems, modification of the various individual modules were stand alone operations. In the modern aircraft, inter relationships between the systems, specially those operating with bus architecture, upgrade invariably requires assistance of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Acutely aware of this limitation, the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) have in the past adopted pre-emptive measures to overcome the hurdles. Development of DARIN I Jaguar was one step in that

direction, wherein the entire system based on 1553 bus architecture was developed by the IAF’s erstwhile Inertial Integration Organisation (IIO). The learning process gave confidence to IAF and HAL to undertake DARIN II development and also the MiG-27 upgrade. The participation of HAL and DRDO with the Sukhoi Design Bureau in the integration of the western avionics on Su-30 MKI also gave insights to our R&D teams to learn how to integrate systems on foreign aircraft. Design and development of Tejas carried out indigenously by the ADA will place our industry in a different league.

PAST AIRCRAFT UPGRADE PROGRAMMES IN INDIA HAL, along with the IAF, has undertaken some very major modifications driven by the urgent need in the past. 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 FINALLY ON TRACK: UPGRADE OF THE MIG-27 SYSTEMS WAS ON THE CARDS aircraft from the original Folland Gnat EVEN AT THE TIME OF MANUFACTURE and designing a two seat version can AND INDUCTION arguably be considered somewhere between new design and an upgrade. However, these programmes were certainly very bold initiatives by the fledgling Indian aircraft industry. 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. Conduct of various exercises and the assessment/inspection by the DG (I&S) helps the Operations branch in comparing the fleet with that of the potential adversary. Scanning the development of Issue 2 • 2008



MILITARY UPGRADES systems and upgrades in the international defence industry are also pointers towards the state-of-the-art equipment. The international exercises with some of the developed air forces in the last few years have also educated the users in determining requirements of the systems to make fleets more capable. 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 There are a few important points, which need to be considered before deciding on fleet upgrade. These are: • What is the technological status of the aircraft? Avionics systems have grown in importance and complexity and have equalled or surpassed the airframe or engine in terms of contribution to mission effectiveness and cost. • Current Status of the fleet including the balance life of the aircraft will determine the number of aircraft to be modified. • Is the aircraft an indigenous manufacture, if not then the extent of knowledge about the aircraft and the systems will determine the level of support required from the OEM. • The extent of modernisation will depend upon the age of the fleet, its technological status as compared to the state of art, operational utilisation, threat perception, status of the potential adversary etc. • 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 up gradation indigenously will depend upon the in house expertise available with the design and development agencies. • In case the upgrade involves changes in the airframe struc-

• • •

ture and extension of life of aircraft then availability of the design data is essential or the data through a lead aircraft needs to be generated for life extension fixes. 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. This penal contract should be binding to all vendors including indigenous developers of equipment.

FIGHTER UPGRADE PROGRAMMES The IAF has embarked upon major upgrades of its various aircraft in order to retain capability even when the total numbers are reducing. Following fighter fleets are either planned or are undergoing upgrades. These are: • • • • •

MiG-27 upgrade DARIN II on Jaguar ELTA radar on Maritime Jaguar MiG-29 upgrade Mirage-2000 upgrade SP Note: This article discusses at length the details of the MiG-27 upgrade. The next issue of SP’s Aviation will carry full details and holistic coverage of other fighter programmes and various ongoing upgrade efforts.

MiG-27 upgrade


pgrade of the MiG-27 systems was on the cards even at the time of manufacture and induction. It was well known that the avionics systems and the EW systems would need to be upgraded even as part of the phased improvements during manufacture. The success of the DARIN programme on Jaguar was the key to this thought process. 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 incorporation 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. The aircraft will retain stand-by (conventional) instrumentation, including artificial horizon, altimeter and airspeed indicator, to cater for the failure of HUD and the MFDs. HAL (Hyderabad Division) systems being installed are Secured Communication System INCOM-1210A, Radio altimeter RAM-1701A, 1FF- 1410A and Stand-by UHF Communication System COM-1150A. The display symbology will be common with that in other aircraft like Su-30 MKI and Jaguar in order to ease training and conversion. Regarding weapons, the existing Weapon Control System has been retained, but a new weapon interface box has been developed for the integration of new weapons. Besides the existing conventional weapons, the upgraded MiG-27 will be capable of launching new weapons such as 1000 lb laser guided bombs. The airframe modifications during the upgrade were mainly internal for installing the new systems. The modification for in flight refuelling has apparently been dropped may be due to the complexities of CG control and the additional plumbing. The aero-engine R-29 has already undergone modifications after a series of failures of turbine and compressor blades in the past. In fact engine was a major concern during the decision making process but an alternate engine, if available, would have involved major airframe modifications. There is no change in the external weapons load carrying capability but there is a phenomenal improvement in the accuracy, which has been proven in the exercises and the gunnery meets. The carriage of PGMs will bring about a huge improvement in the fleet effectiveness especially for night operations. This upgrade programme, although successful, faced a lot of delays during decision making primarily to identify the system integrator among the various agencies who wanted to show case their superiority. SP 14


Issue 2 • 2008



‘Elettronica ready

to transfer technology of high-end EW systems’ SP’s: What do you expect will be the key changes and cornerstones of the future market? Enzo Benigni (EB): Elettronica has gained its rightful position without resting on its achievements, both in terms of product range and market acquisition. Looking ahead is an intrinsic feature of our company’s DNA and, as a consequence of this attitude Elettronica is ever more alert to any sign of change. The market is beginning to seek, at an increasing pace, products that find applications not just for military purposes but also in homeland security, primarily exploiting dual-technology developments. Our attention is essentially focused on developing industrial collaborations in the target countries of the defence market, without which business opportunities would drastically dwindle. SP’s: Which are the market segments that attract your interest and which ones do you expect will be forthcoming? EB: The most valuable markets are those represented by the Middle and Far East countries in which Elettronica is making a major effort to ensure continuous presence. However, one should not overlook two of the largest potential markets: Russia (a major platform manufacturer) and India (a leading democratic country playing an important role in the East Asian defence strategy). In both these countries, the European defence industry, especially the Electronic Warfare (EW) segment, has up to now, and for various reasons, bestowed little attention. Adopting different strategies, Elettronica’s objective is to pursue successful business relations with both these countries. SP’s: Participation in international exhibitions enables companies to establish direct contact and confrontation with the market. What prompted you to take

part in Defexpo 2008? EB: Elettronica has always been convinced that participating in international exhibitions yields benefits both in terms of company prestige and contact opportunities due to the presence of potential customers and other concerns. This issue has, in recent years, received foremost attention and a special department—the Corporate Image and Communication unit— has been setup to, among other duties manage Elettronica’s participation in international fairs and exhibitions. India belongs to the new entries in which our company is promoting its military procurement policy. Elettronica is already active in this country and Defexpo 2008 will certainly represent a unique opportunity to promulgate the company’s trademark. SP’s: Your interest in India matches your teaming-up strategy at the international level. Within this framework, do you believe this could lead to future partnerships in the Asiatic region? EB: As already mentioned, the Asiatic market is one of the most interesting areas from our point of view. Elettronica has already established JVs with several Indian companies and is negotiating with some local leading concerns to implement industrial cooperation models that have already been proven elsewhere. We are ready to transfer technologies for the production of highly advanced EW systems. SP’s: Elettronica is engaged in commercial relations all over the world with a sales record of 2,500 items. What are the products you will be focusing on for the Asiatic market to extend your market hold? EB: Elettronica’s winning products both for military end users and industrial partnerships are basically contained in the radar EW sector, in which the

President of Elettronica S.p.A. Enzo Benigni in a conversation with SP’s outlines his company’s ambitious plans for the Indian defence market company has witnessed a renewed interest, gaining the fourth world position. However, following the increase in the volume of business in the sector and the need for product diversification, Elettronica has in recent years reviewed its interest in the Electro-Optical and Communication EW sectors, also prompted by the successful outcome of several industrial collaborations. As a consequence, Elettronica can now propose unique state-of-the-art solutions. SP’s: Considering your long standing experience in the production of defence technologies, there are certain to be key components of which you are particularly proud of. Which is the most important one? EB: Undoubtedly, the fully solid-state jammer, based on a Linear and Planar Phased Array Antenna, featuring a retrodirective reciprocal architecture and latest generation DRFM driver to ensure a coherent response. Developed by Elettronica, this type of architecture also allows the implementation of very special and highly effective jamming programmes, such as Wave Front Distortion and Cross-Polarization. SP Issue 2 • 2008








By Alan Peaford, London

As global travel becomes increasingly tedious with all the hassles posed by elaborate security checks and airport transfers, the business jet has emerged a far more attractive option 16


Issue 2 • 2008


Issue 2 • 2008






CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION ne of the world’s richest men knows something about business jets. When he was merely a multi-millionaire, Warren Buffet bought his first jet and immediately christened it ‘The Indefensible’, aware that the whole idea of a corporate airplane with its associate costs would have shareholders turning in the aisles at the annual general meeting. The latest Buffet purchase, a Gulfstream, has a new name. It is called ‘The Indispensable’—and the now multi-billionaire believes the use of the business jet played a key role in consolidating his business and fortune. Earlier, Buffet had admitted it was one of his few indulgences. Subsequently, what elevated the business jet from a luxury toy to what is increasingly seen as a vital corporate tool? In the US, hundreds of Fortune 500 companies now flaunt their own aircraft, with companies arguing that this vital conveyance saves time and boosts productivity. A recent CNN report quoted David Savile, CEO of charter company Air Partner, as saying: “Private jets have this appearance of being affluent and full of fat cats and celebrities. But our experience is actually the opposite. These are practical business tools and are used by lots of people. Some of the bigger private jets now in operation even have boardrooms where meetings can be conducted in-flight.” With a price tag ranging from around $2 million (Rs 8 crore) for a light jet to more than $70 million (Rs 284 crore) for a larger business jet, the cost cannot always be justified. But business manufacturers and charter companies are developing more and more solutions as SPREADING AWARENESS: the rest of the world folBOMBARDIER’S CHALLENGER IS lows the American lead FREQUENTLY SEEN ON THE RAMPS on business aviation. OF AIRPORTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND ASIA AS ONE OF THE MOST India, with its greater POPULAR LARGE CABIN AIRCRAFT number of millionaires TO OPERATE IN THE REGION than anywhere else in


IS WORKING ON THE SSBJ CONCEPT Asia and record numbers CLAIMING EVEN FASTER TRAVEL of aspiring graduates and BETWEEN DESTINATIONS. NEW YORK entrepreneurs, is a poTO PARIS, FOR INSTANCE, IN JUST ABOUT FOUR HOURS. tentially huge market for business aircraft makers. Options such as fractional ownership (where a buyer invests in a proportion of a plane and pays for a share of its maintenance and management) are taking hold. No surprise that the company taking the lead around the world with this idea is Netjets, owned in part by Warren Buffet, who loved the concept so much he bought the company. “It is an expensive proposition, no question about it, but there are rewards in terms of control of one’s time,” says former Netjets CEO Bill Boyster. “Who you travel with and when you travel (is important). The privacy and security in which you travel does make (business jets) a reasonable value equation.” As global travel becomes increasingly tedious with all the extra security and difficulties posed by airport transfers, the business jet option becomes far more attractive. It makes even more sense when travelling across Asia as point-to-point commercial flights are still not robust enough to suit a busy businessman’s schedule. Gary Anzalone of Aero Toy Store, a private jet sales firm based in Florida, says the trouble at airports has boosted the jet market and businessmen are finding the benefits straight away. “With the scrutiny of travelling through the airlines right now, where a businessman might take seven days to hit seven cities, with access to a private aircraft he can hit seven cities in two days,” Anzalone says. According to latest estimates, more than 10,000 companies operate business aircraft in the US and nearly 3,000 in Europe. All have had to go through the same justification process.

Issue 2 • 2008




What is my time really worth? How can others within the company benefit from the aircraft? • What are the opportunity costs associated with company travel? • What are the intangibles associated with business travel? The ability to capitalise on some form of competitive advantage, to follow through on a bright idea, is what separates the winners from the losers. Often, this requires swift, decisive action and getting there “first with the most”. In other words, getting to



especially if you are far away from airports served by airlines. Time saved during travel can be measured. Other desirable features of using company aircraft are not so clear, but they may be equally if not more important than what can be measured. Among the most notable difference between airline travel and availing one’s own aircraft is the hassle factor. While difficult to define in their entirety, the hassles associated with airline travel are many and varied—waiting in queues, lots of them; delays, cancellations, reroutes and being stranded in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps more



a customer with an idea before others do, cementing a relationship, allaying fears and making an offer that can’t be refused. Trying to achieve this via the airlines may not be the best use of company executives’ time,



Issue 2 • 2008

important is the uncertainty of the process, the unpleasant surprises that await the unwary traveller at every turn. The time spent waiting is not very productive, either. The time spent enduring the airline experience is es-

CIVIL BUSINESS AVIATION sentially time lost, often triggering frustration and stress. We prized features of the corporate environment. Attempting to are out of control; the airlines control our destiny for the work on or discuss confidential company material at any entire period, if in fact they are actually in control. “Business time during airline travel is chancy at best. aircraft return control of our travel schedules to us,” says John Sheehan, President of Professional Aviation Inc., Anzalone. “Since most of us like to think we are in control of a company that assists corporate flight departments with our future, the business aircraft provides us with the ability safety, management, and training issues, says there are to schedule our trips when we wish. We don’t have to wait some easy questions to ask when a company is considering until tomorrow or until a seat is available; our one-airplane purchasing or chartering a business aircraft: airline is ready when we wish.” • Is the company’s financial position sufficiently healthy to Stress associated with the travel process applies to any support the operation of a business aircraft? type of travel, not just airlines. But stress associated with • Is all the potential travel necessary to increased company travel comes in several degrees, and it is associated with success? the degree of control that we have • Can I travel enough to justify a comover the process. Airline travel propany aircraft? vides only minimum levels of in• Is this really a business decision not Granted, there are formation and control; piloting our unduly influenced by my ego or personal defrustrations associated own aircraft provides the ultimate sires? with flying business level of control. Granted, there are “Lots of people fly an aircraft for aircraft, yet the passengers business purposes, some for the right frustrations associated with flying are better informed business aircraft, yet the passenreasons and some for questionable gers are better informed and have reasons. Justifying the operation of a and have options, and, options, and, therefore, tend to be business aircraft should be subject to a therefore, tend to be less less perturbed. number of objective and subjective inperturbed Many corporate users point to quiries. Make them wisely and enjoy the security—not just of the person— experience,” he says. but of information, too. Security, Business Aircraft Associations privacy and confidentiality are all around the world are bringing together

It’s as if we read the minds of India’s business leaders. In many ways, we did. Some Citation business jets are so perfectly suited to doing business in India, it’s as if they were created specifically for that purpose. Here’s why: Every Citation is based on what customers tell us they need. Those customers come from all over the world, but they all have three things in common: They are poised on the brink of a major breakthrough in the growth of their business. They are seeing opportunities like never before. And they are looking for the undeniably best way to seize them. Their answer can be your answer – the best-selling business jets and propeller aircraft in the world. For a free, no-obligation analysis of what a Citation business jet can do for your company call Mike McGreevy at 971.4.295.4822 or visit

Cessna Aircraft Sure Thing®

Issue 2 • 2008




the charter operators, the manufacturers and the users. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) of the US is the largest and has spent years monitoring and promoting the use of business aircraft. “You have the flexibility of ac-

READ THE BOTTOMLINE Addressing last year’s Asian business aviation show ABACE, John Sullivan, Director, Worldwide Security & Corporate Flight Operations for American multinational Texas Instruments Inc., outlined real savings that are made on even the shortest trips. Destination Distance

Total Savings

Under 500 miles

3 hours and 56 minutes per round trip

500 to 1,500 miles

4 hours and 26 minutes per round trip

Over 1,500 miles

5 hours and 26 minutes per round trip

He also outlined benefits that can influence profit margin growth, including: • • • • • • • • • • • •


Employee time saving Accelerated transaction rates Decreased trip expenses Offset commercial airfares and shipping and mail expenses Decrease employee replacement costs Offset costs through charter revenue Reduced turnover Reduced staffing levels Increase customer base Improve customer relationships Improve risk management Protect intellectual property


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cess to thousands A COMBINATION OF COMFORT & RANGE: GULFSTREAM’S G550 IS AN UBIQUITOUS more airports FLAGSHIP OF COMFORT AND RANGE. around the world, THE UNIQUE OVAL WINDOWS GIVE thus you can choose THE CABIN AMPLE NATURAL LIGHTING TO INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY, an airport close to OR SIMPLY AID COMFORT. your end destination rather than the airports served by commercial airlines,” says Ed Bolen, President & CEO of NBAA. “Use of a business aircraft will enable you to organise your travel requirements conveniently around meeting timetables rather than scheduled flight times, thus helping you to achieve significant management time savings. Less time spent in airport terminals and check-ins augment the time available for productive use. Added to these benefits is the security of your own private flying office or meeting room and the safety of business air travel.” A US study found business aircraft operating organisations earned 146 per cent more in cumulative returns than non-business aircraft operators. Furthermore, on a return to shareholder basis, business aircraft operators returned 343 per cent to their shareholders between 1996 and 1999 versus 177 per cent for non-operators. Smaller businesses are proving the point, too. Richard Thalheimer, Founder of Sharper Image, the specialty retailer, outlines the numbers for the time he and his colleagues spend in a company jet: a Cessna Citation Excel that seats seven and has a range of 2,175 miles. “It might cost a smidgeon more than it would to fly commercial,” he reasons, “but when you’ve got an executive on board who’s earning $100,000 (Rs 40 lakh), along with a senior vicepresident of merchandising who’s earning $250,000 (Rs 1 crore) and another executive who’s earning $750,000 (Rs 3 crore) and me who’s earning almost $1 million (Rs 4 crore),


ACCRUING BENEFITS SAVING EMPLOYEE TIME: Business aircraft can be flown non-stop between airports close to where people want to go without the delays of main terminal hubs.

INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY EN-ROUTE: Rather than write off traveling time as lost, studies have shown productivity on business aircraft is actually higher than in the office.

EFFICIENT, RELIABLE SCHEDULING: The near total flexibility inherent in business aircraft is a powerful asset. Business determines the schedule - not the airlines.

REDUCE HOURS AWAY FROM HOME: Both businesses and the individual benefit when family time is not lost to non-productive travel. you put us all on an airplane together and calculate what it costs to have us all lose a day flying commercial, the numbers start to make sense.” Thalheimer is one of a growing number of users of block charterers. His company buys 25 hours of use of the Citation at a fixed price and the aircraft is available when they need it throughout the year. Bala Ramamoorthy, Founder and Managing Director of BJETS, says his charter company based in Mumbai and Singapore will “provide a new benchmark for private aviation services. There is an acute shortage of these services in Asia and as wealth continues to grow in the region, we believe that the demand will continue to increase dramatically”. With the introduction of smaller aircraft, such as the Very Light Jets like the Eclipse 500 and the Citation Mustang as well as the anticipated entry into service of the Brazilian made Phenom 100 next year, there are opportunities for charterers to bring access to business jet flying even closer to the middle class businessmen. “Our customers are talking about being able to save up to 30 per cent on standard charter costs,” says Roger Whyte, International Sales Director of Cessna. “Introduction of the Mustang to the market means business aircraft travel is more accessible than ever before.” In the US, air taxis have begun operating as more people get used to the idea of flying to where they need to go directly. In Europe, the clock charter business is becoming more popular. In Russia and the Pacific Rim, direct ownership is more popular, often because culturally it is unacceptable to share one’s airplane. One of the challenges delaying the growth of business aviation throughout Asia is the problem of flight clearance for private flights. “It can take up to seven days to get clearance to fly from India to the Middle East,” said Ali al Naqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East Business Association. “We are working hard in the Gulf to get countries to recognise the value of business aviation and to give the operators greater freedom. We need that to happen in India and elsewhere in Asia.” SP CONFIDENTIALITY ASSURED: AT THE TOP END OF THE MARKET, THE BOEING BUSINESS JET PROVIDES A BOARDROOM FOR TOP EXECUTIVES AND COMPANY CEOS TO HOLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSIONS WITHOUT BEING OVERHEARD

ENSURING INDUSTRIAL SECURITY: Use of business aircraft reduces travel visibility and eliminates unwanted and unnecessary conversations and interruptions.

HIGH PERSONAL SAFETY: Turbine powered business aircraft flown by professional crews have a safety record comparable or even better than that of the largest scheduled air lines.

INCREASING ENTERPRISE: Business aircraft allow opportunities especially those in remote regions to be more readily considered and acted upon. Studies have put access to business aviation in the top three drivers for business relocation decisions.

PROJECTING A POSITIVE CORPORATE IMAGE: Using a business aircraft shows a company to be progressive with a keen interest in efficient time management and high levels of productivity. SP

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Hope &



ndia’s expansive military modernisation programme and the proposed civilian nuclear deal with the US hogged the limelight during US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates’ maiden two-day visit to India in February. Issuing a reminder to India to accelerate efforts to seal the proposed 123 agreement, Gates pointed out that “the clock is ticking in terms of how much time is available to get all the different aspects of this agreement implemented”. Emphasising that the agreement serves the best interests of both countries and that it “has positive global consequences, as well”, Gates said, “The real key is providing time for our Senate to ratify the final arrangements. And with this being an election year, there is an open question about how long the senate will be in session beyond this summer.” The secretary expressed appreciation with India’s move to purchase six C-130J Hercules aircraft from Lockheed Martin. “One of the virtues of the C-130 sale is that it gives us an opportunity to demonstrate not only the quality of our equipment, but the quality of the service and maintenance and follow-on activities that go with these sales. So we’re very encouraged, (but) we’re at the beginning of this process,” Gates said. The US, he stressed, is eager to bid for contract for 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for the country’s air force. The deal, estimated at about $10 billion (Rs 40,000 crore), is being touted as the world’s largest single external defence procurement in history. “I indicated that we obviously are interested and believe we are very competitive in the selection of the new fighter.” India has several billion-dollar deals in the works, and Gates said he would like to see defence trade expand between the two countries. “We’re not looking for quick results or big leaps forward, but rather a steady expansion of this relationship that leaves everybody comfortable.” Questioned about Washington’s plans for Asia at a time when China is also strengthening its ties in the region, the secretary said that the US relationship with India is not influ-

enced by India’s neighbour on the eastern border. “I don’t see our improving military relationships in the region in the context of any other country, including China,” Gates said. “These expanding relationships don’t necessarily have to be directed to anybody. They are a set of bilateral relationships that are aimed at improving our coordination and the closeness of our relationships for a variety of reasons, including those that I’ve just indicated.” While the secretary did not discuss any new joint exercises between the two country’s militaries, he did discuss details of a logistics agreement that would allow expansion of military-to-military relationship. The agreement is largely administrative in nature, detailing how the countries reimburse each other for expenses, such as fuel, during training. Complimenting the government’s efforts in Afghanistan, Gates said India spends around $800 million (Rs 3,230 crore) in economic and civic reconstruction efforts there. He, however, clarified that the subject of increasing India’s contribution there did not come up in the meetings. Referring to missile defence, Gates said talks on the subject are in “very early stage” and that they focused on conducting a joint analysis of what India’s missile defence needs are and how the US could cooperate. During the visit, the secretary met with Defence Minister A.K. Antony and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and members of Parliament. Later, Gates said the discussions were positive and likeminded. “I encountered only enthusiasm in all of the leaders here I talked to,” he said. “I think they see it as we do—a long-term enterprise by two sovereign states. We are mindful of India’s long tradition of non-alignment and are respectful of that, but I think there are a lot of opportunities to expand on this relationship, and I think that was the feeling on the part of the Indian leaders that I met with, as well.” SP (Courtesy: US Department of Defence)

Goodwill punctuated by optimism towards removing hurdles to consolidate long-term relations marked US Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates’ maiden two-day visit to India in February



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Hawks Arrive in India By Our Special Correspondent, Bidar


eads shot up and necks craned as a collective gasp greeted the awe-inspiring sight of five Hawks taxiing out and soaring in perfect sync. The next few minutes flew past as the trainer aircraft led by HPT-32 with Chetak helicopters, AN-32 and Dorniers followed by Kiran jet trainers in Vic formations enthralled the gathering with daredevil manoeuvrings. Amid thunderous applause, the quintet swooped down as if in salute to Defence Minister A.K. Antony. It was February 23 and Antony was Chief Guest at the induction ceremony of the Hawk 132 at Air Force Station Bidar in north Karnataka. In his speech, the Defence Minister assured: “The Government of India will ensure that cutting edge technology is available to our armed forces. Funds will not come in the way of IAF modernisation plans.” Present in the audience were the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, Principal Staff Officers from the Air HQ, senior officers from HQ Training Command, AOC and Air Warriors of Bidar air base and several retired IAF officers. Among the special invitees at the three-hour programme was the British High Commissioner, Sir Richard Stagg, besides top ranking officials from BAE Systems and Rolls Royce and senior officers from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Military Engineering Service. BAE Systems will directly supply 24 Hawks to the Indian Air Force (IAF) while an additional 42 will be produced under licence by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). DEFENCE MINISTER A.K. ANTONY The air force is likely to bid RELEASES A COMMEMORATIVE for and get an additional 40 COVER ON THE OCCASION Hawks from HAL for establishing a second Hawk training base in the eastern part of the country. For now, Air Force Station Bidar is fully geared up for the Hawk Operational Training Squadron (HOTS) to commence its training routine from June 2008. Both the runways have been extended to the standard length of 9,000 ft. The entire airfield complex has been upgraded with the construction of a new 113 m by 48 m hangar, an armament centre, a propulsion engineering bay, and mechanical and

Induction of the Hawk 132 heralds a new era in the IAF’s flying training history and the ceremony was conducted to martial tunes composed especially for the momentous occasion electronic centres. All technical personnel for HOTS will be trained at the newly established Hawk training school. A new air traffic control is under construction and in the pipeline are plans to acquire the latest navigational aids. Powered by the Rolls Royce MK-871 Adour turbofan engine, the Hawk can achieve speeds of up to 1,050 kmph or Mach 1.2 with a service ceiling of nearly 15 km altitude. The Hawk 132 will enable trainee fighter pilots of the IAF to transit from the basic jet trainer Kiran Mk1/1A to frontline fighters like Su-30MKI, MiG-29, MiG-21 Bison, Jaguar and Mirage 2000. It has four hard points under wing and two on wing tips to carry under wing fuel drop tanks, rockets, missiles, practice bombs and under fuselage gun pods. Its glass cockpit with head up display, hands on throttle and stick controls and weapon aiming system will enable pilots carry out all advanced manoeuvres and weapon firing. In a contingency the Hawk 132 can be operationally employed. Induction of the Hawk 132 heralds a new era in the IAF’s flying training history and the ceremony was conducted to martial tunes, composed especially for the momentous occasion, and played by the Air Warrior Symphony Orchestra. On an apt note, the finale was a breathtaking display of precision formation flying by the world famous Surya Kiran Aerobatic Team who are also based in Bidar. SP Issue 2 • 2008





Split SIZE to

By Phil Nasskau, Singapore

The new purpose built venue next to Changi Airport is good, secure and an excellent stage for aircraft display. Unfortunately, not that many were on display, but those that were, made for an impressive backdrop to the activities.


epending on the individual’s point of view, it was for the first or the 11th time that the Singapore Airshow opened its doors this year. Held in February every two years, the event has historically been the cornerstone event for the Asian aerospace industry since the 1980s. Two years ago, however, amid rumours of a dispute the key partners split—Reed Exhibitions took its Asian Aerospace brand to Hong Kong (see SP’s Aviation 5/2007) and the Singapore government launched the Singapore Airshow at a new purpose built site next to Changi Airport. The venue encompassed a 40,000 sq m air-conditioned exhibition hall and a 100,000 sq m area for static display of aircraft, besides 100 Chalets. For the bemused industry, already straining under the weight of too many shows, it became somewhat of a choice. Do they stick with the traditional location, or the traditional organisers? Hong Kong promised access to China (and indeed delivered with a splendid congress and exhibition) but Singapore provided several elements that Asian Aerospace could not: defence equipment and a flying display. Putting to rest apprehensions, both shows went on to succeed, albeit on a scale smaller than the previous major event. Only time will tell whether the two events, albeit with very distinct characteristics, will survive in the long run. In a half-hearted attempt, Singapore show organiser Jimmy Lau laid claims to the number three position in the world but amended that to the largest show “this year, so far”. On paper, it is firmly behind Paris, Farnborough and Dubai in terms of exhibitors and trade visitors. Undeniably, the Singapore Airshow generated phenomenal interest, underscoring the fact that Asia is the fastest growing aviation market and Singapore has grown as the aviation maintenance hub in this region. Participation by over 800 companies from 42 countries and high level government, military and industry delegations from 30 countries underlined the popularity of this event. The new venue is good, secure and an excellent 24


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stage for aircraft display. Unfortunately, not that many were on display, but those that were, made for an impressive backdrop to the activities. Further, a slew of announcements and updates criss-crossed all the aerospace sectors. Inaugurating the show at a simple and elegant ceremony, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong observed that China and India would lead the demand for air travel in the region and a 10 per cent growth would be maintained in aviation services by Singapore in 2007. BUSINESS AVIATION

Business Aviation was not taking a side-step at the Singapore show—indeed the static park was positively filled with business aircraft, proof that the sector was booming in the region. The show also broke the record for the single largest business jet order in the region: start-up fractional operator BJETS ordered 50 new business jets in an effort to become Asia’s first dedicated fractional, block charter and aircraft management company. The order, valued around $600 million (Rs 2,427 crore), covers 20 Cessna Citation CJ2+ jets and 20 Hawker Beechcraft 850XP and 900XPs with options for a further 10. Headquartered in Singapore, the company is set to take delivery of its first aircraft sometime in March, with operations starting in the second quarter of this year. A total of 15 aircraft is expected to be delivered by the end of the year. Founder and Managing Director Bala Ramamoorthy said BJETS will “provide a new benchmark for private aviation services. There is an acute shortage of these services in Asia and as wealth continues to grow in the region, we believe that the demand will continue to increase dramatically”. “BJETS will have the biggest fleet of private jets in Asia in its very first year of operations,” added Chief Executive Mark


SHOW REPORT SINGAPORE AIRSHOW ’08 Baier. “There are no dedicated business jet fleets in Asia, and Epic aircraft also announced selection of Honeywell’s what we provide is guaranteed availability for our customers. TPE331-10A for its newest aircraft, the Escape. The Escape It is something the region direly needs and we believe that is a 92 per cent scale version of the LT and will have 940shp our model can be very successful.” The aircraft will be reg- with 1,800nm range and 360kt cruise speed. istered in India and based at Singapore’s Seletar Aerospace Park and Mumbai. Baier believes services will mainly be be- AIR TRANSPORT tween India and Southeast Asia. Singapore continued the age-old tradition of Airbus and Cessna also confirmed an order for 20 172 Skyhawks to Boeing spats—how could it be an air show without these India’s Chimes Aviation for its aviation academies in Mad- two giants? Airbus was positively gleeful about the 787 dehya Pradesh and an as yet unnamed location. Eleven of the lays and Airbus’ Chief Salesman John Leahy again hinted at aircraft will be delivered immediately and the remainder, an ultra-long range version of the A350XWB, the -900. Yet, the diesel version, will be delivered before the academy of- despite Boeing’s protracted delays to the 787 programme, it ficially opens in October. Coupled with an order for six ad- is still going to be the first to market. ditional Grand Caravans to Indonesia’s Susi Air, six model The air transport sector was far from quiet with orders 206Bs will be delivered in 2009 and 2010. Susi already op- and also updates on the latest widebodies in development. erates eight Caravans and has two more scheduled for deliv- Boeing is considering suspending work on the 787-3 shortery this quarter. Eurocopter delivered an EC155 at the show haul variant of the delayed twinjet. A 787 programme source to Indonesia Air Transport. said the delay in development of the -3 “may be a precursor AgustaWestland was not hovering around with the ap- for the cancellation. Regardless we’re stopping work on it”. pointment of King Express Group as its official distributor The source added that the short range -3, “being developed in Hong Kong and Macau, coupled with an initial order of simultaneously with the -9, was really stretching the companine helicopters, comprising AW119Kes, AW109 Power and ny’s resources. This will free up people to work on the much Grand twins, and the AW139. It sold an AW139 to Malaysia’s more popular -9 variant”. YTL Group—the first VIP AW139 Boeing is now drawing up into Malaysia. And two AW109 a new delivery schedule for all Powers for China’s Maritime Safety 787 customers in the wake of Administration, as well as an orproduction delays which have der for two AW139s to the Korean pushed the aircraft’s first flight Coast Guard. back to the middle of this year. Airbus was not keen to lose out Boeing said it expects to anafter the embarrassment of the nounce its plans at the end of A380 earlier in the week, and landthe first quarter and is unable ed an order from Hong Kong-based to comment on any possible reC-Jet for a CFM-powered ACJ as sequencing of the variants bewell as its second commitment for fore then. Indonesia’s Lion Air the A350 Prestige-liner. Gulfstream placed an order for 56 Boeing was awarded Civil Aviation Author737-900ERs, bringing its total ity of China (CAAC) type certificates commitments for 737-900ERs for five of its line-up—the GV, G350, to 178. President Director of ARCHITECT OF SINGAPORE: LEE KUAN YEW G450, G500 and G550. On top of Lion Air Rusdi Kirana signed the (IN BLUE SHIRT) RECEIVES A PRESENTATION AT THE SHOW the approval it also found a home firm order at the show, with purin China for four of its business jets chase rights on a further 50. with and an order worth $140 million (Rs 565 crore) coverHowever, industry experts and analysts view this addiing a single G550 and three G350 from Hainan Airlines’ sub- tional order as a bridge too far. The first delivery of this orsidiary Deer Jet. This order also marked the first time that der is scheduled for 2014. Kirana said he wants to have 60 Deer Jet had placed a fleet order. Each of its previous eight 737-900ERs in Indonesia and the remainder will be used for aircraft had been acquired individually. Deer Jet Chairman airline joint ventures it plans to start in Australia, Thailand Liu Zhiqiang said the addition of the jets would allow fleet and other Asian countries. and capacity optimisation to meet the company’s growing Garuda Indonesia ordered 10 Boeing 777-300ERs and customer base. plans to use the aircraft for longhaul services to the US and VLJ manufacturer Eclipse also made its first inroads into Europe. First delivery is expected in mid-2010. “We hope this the lucrative Indian market with a deal to supply New Delhi- will be part of our expansion… and will be used to open new based Club One Air with 10 Eclipse 500s. Four of the aircraft routes,” said CEO Emirsyah Satar. “We’re going to expand to will be delivered this year and the remainder in 2009. Club the US and Europe and phase out Boeing 747-400s.” One Air Managing Director Manav Singh said, “I think it’s a Embraer fuelled its E-Jets fire with several orders at the very affordable solution. Nobody has a plane that’s as af- show. It added another 10 notches to the orderbook with an fordable to acquire and operate as the Eclipse.” Singh plans order for 10 E190s from US-based lessor Jetscape, along with “to get the middle class of the country to start chartering further options for 10 and purchase rights for another 10. All aircraft. We are in negotiations to buy a substantially larger orders converted would represent around $1.125 billion (Rs fleet and I do hope to conclude these negotiations before the 4,540 crore) at list prices. Deliveries are set to start in 2009 end of the year”. and will complement the company’s fleet of 18 owned and Issue 2 • 2008





BIG FAT DEALS Foremost among the big deals was an order for 56 Boeing 737900ER aircraft worth more than $4.4 billion (Rs 17,787 crore) by Indonesian low-cost carrier Lion Air. • Indonesian flag carrier Garuda ordered four Boeing 777300ERs worth $1 billion (Rs 4,043 crore) and business jet operator BJets signed a $600 million (Rs 2,426 crore) contract for 40 Cessna and Hawker jets. • Boeing’s rival Airbus secured orders for five A330-200F cargo planes from BOC Aviation, an aircraft leasing firm fully owned by the Bank of China. The deal is worth a total of $877 million (Rs 3,545 crore) at catalogue prices. • Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer scored orders from US aircraft leasing firm Jetscape Inc for 10 E190 jets, with options for another 10 and purchase rights for 10 more. The deal is worth $375 million (Rs 1,516 crore) at list price. It could be worth up to $1.1 billion (Rs 4,447 crore) if all the options and purchase rights are confirmed. In another contract for Embraer, Australia’s Virgin Blue signed four purchase rights for E190 jets worth $150 million (Rs 606 crore). This takes the number of firm orders from Virgin Blue to 24—six E170s and 18 E190s. Some other major deals included: • Korean Air: Three Airbus A380-800 worth $906 million (Rs 3,663 crore). • Air Caraibes: Selection of Pratt & Whitney PW4000-100 engines for its three Airbus A330-300 aircraft worth over $180 million (Rs 728 crore). • Grupo Marsans: Selection of Pratt & Whitney PW4000-100 engines for its five Airbus A330 aircraft worth over $285 million (Rs 1,152 crore). • Jetstar Asia Airways: Selection of Global Service Partners to maintain V2500-A5 engines. • JAT Tehnika: Selection of Pratt & Whitney to maintain CFM56-3 engines. • Etihad Airways: Addition of four new Indian destinations, namely Chennai, Jaipur, Kolkata and Kozhikode. Tiger Airways: Selected International Aero Engines to supply V2500 engines for 20 Airbus A320 planes, worth $580 million (Rs 2,345 crore). SP Compiled by Sanjay Kumar

managed aircraft. “With the big lessors focused primarily on larger aircraft, this order enables Jetscape to establish itself as a leader in the growing 70- to 120-passenger jet market,” said Jetscape CEO John Evans. The rest of the orders came from EgyptAir Holding Company for six E170s, converted options from an earlier order for six. Australian Virgin Blue also exercised four purchase rights for E190s and converted three into options. Virgin Blue already operates three E170s and is set to receive its first E190 this year. To wrap up regional, a subsidiary of Air France converted options for a single E170 and an E190 from an original order in August 2007. Both aircraft are slated to be delivered in 2009. Airbus, meanwhile, added a further three orders to its behemoth A380. Korean Air placed an additional order taking its commitments up to eight. Airbus also made another step forward with its green focus. The company flew one of its A320s with a fuel cell to power flight control and cabin systems. The main aim of this is to reduce fuel burn while on the ground and comes hot on the heels of the A380 flying on a gas-to-liquid fuel blend. Airbus and EADS researchers believe that the technology could advance enough to enable the 26


Issue 2 • 2008

replacement of auxiliary power units on the next generation of single-aisle aircraft. Coupled with a potential weight saving element, going green is getting easier. Potentially one weight saver is to reuse the wastewater generated in the electricity production process with the hydrogen fuel cells, thereby negating the need to carry extra water on long-range flights. DEFENCE

Opening the show after an eight-year break was the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Black Knights, who suitably dazzled onlookers. While the F16s of the Black Knights ripped the skies with raucous noise, India’s Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major announced that the country would induct two squadrons of the long-delayed Tejas Light Combat Aircraft from 2010. With up to another six squadrons if the first batch impress in operations. Plagued by problems, the Tejas was originally meant to enter service early this decade, but design and performance issues with the development of an indigenous engine are the main reasons for delay. “There were hitches in the past, but the tests that we have been doing over the last few months indicate that those have been resolved. The programme was streamlined and it is a much better aircraft now. We are confident that it can serve our needs,” Major said. Competition for India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will reach a crucial stage in March. The first delivery of aircraft is due in 2012. Delay in the Tejas programme, according to some analysts, would drag the Indian Air Force’s operational competence below optimal capabilities. In a bid to overcome this shortfall, Delhi placed an interim order of additional licence-built Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighters. “As the Chief, I’m in a hurry to rejuvenate the service as soon as possible,” added Major. “I will do my darnedest to ensure we keep to that schedule.” At the show, Lockheed Martin announced it would submit a “very responsive package” for the MMRCA. John Larson, Vice President F-16 programmes also revealed: “The US government is reviewing the proposals right now.” Larson declined to reveal firm details of the offer but did confirm that the company has already chosen between GE and P&W to supply the engine for the aircraft, which will draw on technologies developed for the Advanced Block 50 and Block 60-series F-16s. Lockheed also “has every intention” of responding to Delhi’s requirement for an active electronically scanned array radar on the selected type, he added. Boeing delivered the first of four KC-767 tankers to Japan and Senior Manager Global Mobility Systems Business Development for Boeing’s IDS Michael Marshall said Japan’s

SHOW REPORT SINGAPORE AIRSHOW ’08 second aircraft will be handed over by the end of the first quarter and the two remaining aircraft would follow in 2009 and 2010. Speaking at the show, Marshall revealed that Boeing would also deliver Italy’s first of four KC-767 tankers by the end of the second quarter this year. The handovers to both customers had been delayed after buffet problems were encountered during flight trials involving Italy’s first aircraft. Pilatus made progress and flew its first Singaporean Basic Wings configured trainer while the contenders for the advanced jet trainer displayed their platforms at the show. The PC-21s will replace Aermacchi S-211s, with the first training scheduled to start in June 2008. The 20-year contract to Lockheed Martin covers 19 aircraft, as well as maintenance, simulators, courseware and simulator instructors.


A rather embarrassing moment ensued for Airbus as Singapore Airlines was forced to make the first A380 cancellation a day before the air show officially opened. The flight was cancelled after its only in-service A380 suffered a fuel pump problem. The flight was replaced by a Boeing 747400 and SIA is reported to have confirmed that the problem was detected during engine start and could not be resolved by the installation of a replacement fuel pump. However, the airline made no official comment. The incident marked the first technical problem to cause disruptions since the A380 entered service last October. Airbus continued to fly the A380 daily at the show. With fuel prices still rising, Lufthansa Systems launched a new flight planning module which promises fuel savings of up to 2 per cent. The add-on to its Lido Operations Centre makes automated checks of a potential routing relative to current air traffic capacity and flow management rules. “Airlines have to check their preferred routings against the latest ATC rules,” said Senior Vice President Sales Asia Pacific Norbert Mueller. “If there is a TFR in place, they must manually replan a route.” The module does this automatically and even considers partly restricted airways, suggesting bypasses where permitted, for the best airway combination. Singapore’s Changi International Airport will also be the first platform for Singapore-based Stratech Systems’ iFerret runway surveillance system in a contract worth more than $8.5 million (Rs 34 crore). iFerret uses what Stratech terms ‘intelligent vision’, a form of artificial intelligence that en-




ables machines to ‘see’ in real time to detect, identify, track and display foreign objects. Foreign Object Damage (FOD) can easily ground an aircraft and, according to Stratech, costs the air transport industry approximately $4 billion (Rs 16,142 crore) in repairs, delays and airport maintenance. Executive Chairman Dr David Chew said the system represents cutting edge technology and he hopes it will help improve safety standards worldwide. A 15-month trial at Changi preceded the contract. Director General & CEO of Singapore Civil Aviation Authority Lim Kim Choon said: “The frequency of our runway inspections already exceeds guidelines set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. iFerret will enable us to automate these inspections and set even higher standards in operation efficiency and passenger safety.” Moreover, Chew pointed out, the technology is scalable and could be used for runways and taxiways of any length, as well as possible use on aprons, hangars and even aircraft carriers. As the trade days drew to a close, the public display began with around 50,000 Singaporeans making their way to the new location. Official visitor figures are still not available but the organisers are convinced they will be back in 2010. However, with the growing popularity of the shows in Bangalore and Hyderabad, along with the increased investment in Asian Aerospace for Hong Kong in 2009 as well as Dubai’s lofty ambitions to be the world’s number one following its relocation to the new Jebel Ali airport next year, Singapore may need to offer more to achieve its goal. SP With inputs from Air Marshal (Retd) P.K. Mehra Issue 2 • 2008




Lavish DEFEXPO ’08

S p r e a d

By SP’s Team


Spanning the expansive, sunlit venue at Pragati Maidan, over 30 countries showcased the best in land and naval systems at Defexpo India 2008


learly, the two traffic policemen in trademark grubby fence department were out in full force. Close on their heels were the white were puzzled. “What is going on inside, sir? Is it a French, who participated with 43 companies, the Russians with 24 meeting of police officers?” they enquired of the retired and the Israelis and Germans with 19 each. Over 20 companies from Air Marshal making his way through the throng of visi- the UK participated in the Defexpo. In addition, a British Army Demtors, delegates and participants both Indian and foreign onstration Area displayed a range of equipments covering peacetrooping through Gate No. 8 of Pragati Maidan. “Not keeping, border security and explosive ordinance disposal. police, it is a military exhibition,” replied the gentleman, bemused. At the inauguration, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said, While the two law enforcers may have been wide off the mark in “Defexpo offers a single-window platform for bringing together ditheir conjecture, their curiosity echoed the buzz Defexpo inevitably verse players in the defence sector to showcase products and techgenerates among the masses every year. nology, to build partnerships and collaboration, to boost exports Spread across the expanand promote the reach and sive, sunlit venue comprising growth of R&D, besides helpVOICES & FACES: (CLOCKWISE) DEFENCE MINISTER A.K. ANTONY INAUGURATES eight halls covering 32,000 ing to forge closer interaction THE SHOW; ANTONY WITH AIR CHIEF MARSHAL F.H. MAJOR; THE IAI STALL; MAJOR square metres space, over 30 among the scientific commu(CENTRE) FLANKED BY DG CII LT GENERAL S.S. MEHTA (LEFT) AND MINISTER OF STATE countries showcased the best nity and other stakeholders.” FOR DEFENCE PRODUCTION RAO INDERJIT SINGH; VISITORS BROWSE THROUGH SP’S SHOW NEWS; BOEING’S MICHAEL J. MARSHALL MAKES A PRESENTATION in land and naval systems Also present was Minister of at Defexpo India 2008 from State for Defence M.M. Pallam February 16 to February 19. Raju, besides others. In all, 475 exhibitors, including 273 from Among the larger Indian companies, abroad, participated in Defexpo 2008 which the Tata Group inked MoUs with Israeli for the first time displayed products and serfirms to manufacture missiles, UAVs, radars vices from the telecom and IT companies. and electronic warfare systems, while MaSignifying India’s growing importance as a hindra Defense Systems announced it is in market for defence, a large number of leadadvanced talks for a strategic alliance with ing global armament companies led by the Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei, the US, France, Russia and Israel hogged the maritime underwater systems subsidiary of limelight. Largest the $20-billion (Rs was the delegation 80,880 crore) Finfrom the US with 46 meccanica Group companies led by of Italy. Additional former Defence SecSecretary (Defence retary William CoProduction) Ajoy hen. US giants like Acharya confirmed Boeing, Raytheon, footfall of over Lockheed Martin, 40,000 business Northrop Grumvisitors during the man and Sikorsky four days of the Defbesides the US deexpo. SP



Issue 2 • 2008


AGREEMENTS & MoUs In the first three days of Defexpo 2008, as many as 20 major deals were established, confirmed Additional Secretary (Defence Production) Ajoy Acharya. Some of these are: • The Tata Group signed an MoU with the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for developing and manufacturing a wide range of defence products, including missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, radars, electronic warfare and security systems. • European military systems integrator Thales had earlier bagged an order to fit fire control systems and night vision devices on T-90 tanks. It is now hopeful of winning the contract for upgrading the T-72 tanks and armoured personnel carriers. • Thales announced plans to set up an Indian company to look after maintenance and servicing issues for thermal imagers. • European Naval Defence Systems organisation DCNS announced its Indian chapter. DCNS India would be based in Mumbai and become op-

erational mid-2008. Talking to the media, senior DCNS official Xavier Marchal said the subsidiary would be oriented towards design, service to naval shipyards and sourcing of components and materials in Indian industry. The company would cater to current projects such as Scorpene submarines as well as future programmes. • UK-based global defence and aerospace major BAE Systems and Mahindra Defence are mulling joining forces to build an Indian mine-protected vehicle. • BAE Systems is also eyeing a deal to supply 40 more Hawk advanced jet trainers to the Indian Air Force in addition to 66 already contracted under a Rs 8,000-crore deal signed in March 2004. • Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) signed four MoUs with three Israeli defence companies—one with Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Limited for missile technologies and guidance electronics; two with Israeli Aerospace Limited, Malat for UAV Systems; and the last with Elisra for electronic warfare programmes. SP








Issue 2 • 2008





“India relies on its time-tested relationship with Russia” Rao Inderjit Singh, Minister of State for Defence Production To what extent is Defexpo a platform to bridge gaps in defence technology? Defexpo showcases what the world has to offer to India and vice versa. What is India’s policy on defence export? India’s policy of non-align-

ment does not permit export of arms to a country where there is a conflict. However, export of indigenous arms is permissible under JVs. Numerous bottlenecks discourage private sector participation in defence

production. The private sector has to invest in infrastructure development. Bottomline is to encourage the sector to enter into partnership arrangements of up to 26 per cent, which can be increased to 50 per cent

with Cabinet approval. Foreign companies are reportedly finding it difficult to implement the offset clause. The companies are well versed with the offset clause and quite capable of complying with it. SP

“India and Boeing make for win-win relations” Jim Albaugh, President & CEO, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems What is the extent, structure, size of Boeing IDS’s representation in India? Boeing has a Delhi office led by Dr Ian Thomas. Currently, Boeing has 30 employees in India. Which are the Indian companies with whom

Boeing has entered into strategic partnership? For IDS, Boeing signed an MoU in 2007 with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). At 2007 Aero India, we entered into an MoU with L&T. What is the status of the

proposal for India’s acquisition of Chinook? We understand an RFP may be released in 2008. What are your chances of bagging the MMRCA deal? I’d say our chances are good. The Super Hornet is the most capable, combat-

proven, multi-role fighter in the world today. The response to the RFP is expected by March 2008. Will Boeing submit the response in time? Boeing anticipates filing its proposal by March 3 or before. SP

“We want to gain cost advantages by increasing our local capabilities” Yves Guillaume, CEO, EADS India What is your long term strategy in India? We want to be seen as a company with an Indian citizenship and at the same time gain cost advantages by increasing our local capabilities. To what extent is EADS

participating in India’s space programme? Astrium and ISRO have long lasting ties starting with the delivery of satellite components, followed by testing equipment for satellite antennas. Can you give a glimpse

of some of the success stories of EADS and its subsidiaries in India? EADS is a major supplier to the booming Indian commercial aviation sector. Most of the fast-growing private airlines and the state-owned Air India

have selected Airbus and ATR to develop their fleet. In the past two years, Airbus and ATR have received orders from Air India, Air Deccan, Kingfisher, IndiGo, Jet Airways, GoAir and Flyington Freighters. SP

“We’ll work with the Indian industry to add value to our product lines” Richard T. Kirkland, President, Lockheed Martin for South Asia Have you established any strategic ties with Indian IT companies? We partnered with Wipro Technologies to establish Ambar Jyoti. This lab will develop, demonstrate and experiment with emerging network-enabled capabili-

ties and applications. What are your chances of bagging the MMRCA deal? Lockheed Martin is offering India the F-16 Fighting Falcon. The company’s approach is to provide an advanced configuration that is tailored

to all the Indian MMRCA requirements at the lowest possible procurement and operating costs. Will the F-22 Raptor be offered to India in future? That is a policy question that should be directed to the US government.

The response to the RFP for MMRCA is to be submitted by March 3. Is Lockheed Martin on schedule or are you contemplating filing for extension of deadline? Lockheed Martin intends to file on schedule. SP

“Fire Scout an affordable platform for Indian Navy” John Brooks, President, Northrop Grumman International Inc. What is Northrop Grumman’s involvement in the MMRCA deal? Northrop Grumman is very active in India’s new fighter acquisition drive. Our Integrated Systems Sector is a major partner with Boeing on the F/A-18 30


Issue 2 • 2008

E/F and will build 40 per cent of the aircraft. What is the status of the E-2 Hawkeye programme? The US Navy has provided technical briefs to the Indian Navy since November 2005. Dialogue

on a potential AEW&C capability acquisition by India continues between the US Navy, Northrop Grumman and the Indian Navy. How will the Indian Navy benefit by inducting Fire Scout UAV?

It will provide the Indian Navy and Army with a proven platform at an affordable cost. The Fire Scout UAV provides continuous C4ISR, Engagement Capability and Quick Delivery to Operational and Tactical Forces. SP

Hall of Fame



ERLIN MOTOR SHOW, 1938. A petite blonde, just over 5 feet, strides briskly towards a strange looking contraption with twin rotors and settles in. The engine roars to life, the aircraft takes off and to the amazement of the audience executes a variety of manoeuvres, from take-off and hover to sideways flying, steeply ascending and slowly descending. Finally, it freezes in the hover and slowly executes a 360-degree rotation. Twenty six-year-old Hanna Reitsch ends the gripping performance with the Nazi salute. Hanna was flying the FockeAchgelis Fa-61—the world’s first fully controllable helicopter. Sporting a simple German design, the aircraft was fitted with the fuselage of a small biplane to mount two outriggers supporting contra-rotating rotors powered by a radial engine. Hanna repeated the act each night for three weeks. It was an impressive display, more remarkable since the whole demonstration was indoors! The slightest miscalculation would have resulted in a crash, taking a heavy toll in the crowded hall. Hanna was born in Hirschberg, Germany on March 29, 1912. An intense and intelligent child with a fascination for flying, she longed to be a missionary doctor. However, the Second World War intervened and had a profound effect on her. She soon became an enthusiastic admirer of Hitler and an unrepentant Nazi. At a time when women were mostly confined to the kitchen, Hanna was the world’s first female test pilot and flew practically everything available. Endowed with great courage and extraordinary skill— essential prerequisites for those in the forefront of aviation given the exceedingly high mortality rates at the time—she was the first woman to cross the Alps in a glider, first to fly a helicopter and first to fly a jet. During the war, the Germans designed a manned version of the V-1 bomb, the Fieseler Fi-103R manned missile. It had wings just three feet long, making it impossible to fly. Therefore, it was operated as a robot controlled by an early auto-pilot— something the clever German scientists designed—then precision-guided to its

target by a pilot on a suicide mission. Catapult launched from a sled, it produced more than 24-‘g’ acceleration force, enough to burst body organs, as

Hanna Reitsch (1912 – 1979) On one memorable occasion, while flying a top secret German rocket plane, the Me-163B Komet, the landing gear failed. Rather than abandon the expensive aircraft, Hanna Reitsch decided to land it, and nearly lost her life. Awarded the Iron Cross, First Class—the only woman to be conferred this medal—rumour is Hitler himself forbade her to attempt such a foolhardy feat again. emerged from failed experiments and dead pilots. Hanna flew it 10 times. Another daring feat was to fly straight at a simulated British balloon barrage in an effort to cut the cable. In one such trial (witnessed by Hitler) she had to fly very low into the 5.6 millimetre thick cable

in her twin-engine Dornier. The cable strands exploded, breaking two propeller blades. As a result, one engine tore loose and she began to lose height rapidly. She landed safely and was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class and a diamond clasp—the first such award conferred on a woman and a civilian. A top secret German rocket plane was the fastest and most dangerous plane Hanna tested. Three male pilots had died in earlier attempts. First she flew the prototype as a glider. Then she flew the militarised version, the Me-163B Komet. In 90 seconds after takeoff, this experimental interceptor climbed to 30,000 feet at a 65-degree angle. It travelled at 500 mph, the fastest any human had ever flown till then. On one memorable occasion, the jettisonable landing gear failed to separate from the plane. Rather than abandon the expensive aircraft, Hanna decided to land it. She nearly succeeded, but at the last instant stalled and crashed into a field just short of the runway. Fortunately, there was no fuel aboard, or the little Komet would surely have exploded. At the hospital, doctors discovered that Hanna had fractured her skull in six places, smashed the bones of her nose irretrievably, displaced her upper jawbone, broken several vertebrae and bruised her brain severely. She nearly died. This time she was awarded the Iron Cross, First Class—the only woman to receive this medal. Rumour is Hitler himself forbade her to attempt such a foolhardy feat again. Probably the greatest woman pilot ever, in 1979, barely a year after she set a new women’s distance gliding record, Hannah Reitsch passed away quietly in sleep, succumbing to a massive heart attack. She once wrote, “Powered flight is certainly a magnificent triumph over nature, but gliding is a victory of the soul in which one gradually becomes one with nature.” It is no wonder that almost 30 years after her death, some of her 40 international flying and gliding records still stand. SP — Group Captain (Retd) Joseph Noronha, Goa Issue 2 • 2008







Asia-Pacific Raytheon aligns with Precision Electronics Limited Raytheon Company has signed a MoU with Precision Electronics Limited to forge strategic alignments that jointly develop and provide superior communications technology for India’s military forces. The MoU represents another step toward establishing a strong collaborative working relationship, encouraging joint pursuit of emerging business opportunities, and providing for in-country production, offset and longterm support. India awards Russia MiG-29 upgrade project India has awarded Russia a contract to upgrade its multi-role MiG-29 warplanes, officials said in Delhi. 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, an air force official said. “The project entails two to three years and only six of them would be re-fitted in Russia while the work on the remaining squadrons would be carried out by them at Indian bases,” he said asking not to be named. Under the contract Russia will re-arm the twin-engined MiG29s with air-to-air missiles, modern bombs, increased fuel capacity and the latest avionics, the contract said. Indian Army to showcase Manoeuvre Warfare Doctrine with IAF Exercise Brazen Chariots, a fire and manoeuvre, armyair force, combat exercise will be conducted by one of India’s Desert Formations in the Desert Sector on March 19 and witnessed by foreign dignitaries and Defence Attaches of friendly foreign countries. The exercise has been set to project the Manoeuvre Warfare Doctrine, promulgated in the armed forces and seen as a breakaway from the traditional attritionist approach of the Army. 32


Sagem Défense Sécurité to supply Tigers with STRIX Sagem of SAFRAN Group has received an order from OCCAR, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation, for STRIX observation and sighting systems for 64 Tiger European combat helicopters in France and Spain. With high-performance optronic sensors, the STRIX gyro-stabilised system will provide the Tiger with observation, identification and engagement capacities at long range both day and night. The system will enable the entire Tiger’s weapons to be used, including anti-tank missiles. It will have a dual-mode laser designator for laser-guided weapons and telemetry with ocular security for observed targets.

International Production of military trainers to rise in 2009

Manufacturers of military fixed-wing trainers will deliver 1,550 new aircraft during the 10-year period, according to new analysis by Forecast International. According to the study, “The Market for Military Fixed-Wing Trainer Aircraft 2008-2017,” more than half (784) of these 1,550 new trainers will be turboprop-powered trainers, with jet trainers accounting for nearly all of the remainder (748). The market for pistonpowered military trainers is dying out and so will account for only 18 aircraft during the forecast period.

CIVIL Asia-Pacific Air India’s integration with Star Alliance to take a year Even after admission to Star Alliance in December last, it will still take another year for Air India to complete all

QuickRoundUp AGUSTAWESTLAND • AgustaWestland has announced the opening of the new AW139 medium twin helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia which underlines its growing presence in the US and the expansion of its Philadelphia facility which, in addition to the AW139 assembly, is also responsible for AW119 Ke production and supporting the expanding fleet of AgustaWestland helicopters in North and South America. • Synergy Aerospace, a division of Synergy Group, has signed a contract for 10 additional helicopters comprising four AW109 Power and four Grand light twin and two AW139 medium twin turbine engine models. • Aerolíneas Ejecutivas of Mexico has signed a contract for 15 additional helicopters comprising four AW119 Ke single engine, four AW109 Power and five Grand light twin and two AW139 medium twin turbine engine models.




• Airbus has successfully tested a fuel cells system for the first time on a civil aircraft when it powered the aircraft’s back-up hydraulic and electric power systems. During the test, the fuel cell system generated up to 20 KW of electrical power. The emission free fuel cell system generates water as a “waste” product.

he European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) is looking to gain a major foothold in India’s military market, which is expected to generate orders worth $4 billion (Rs 1,629 crore) over the next five years. EADS, whose group companies manufacture civilian and military passenger jets, helicopters and combat jets, as also missiles, satellites and rockets, is keen to establish an Indian footprint. “We may have been latecomers to India but we come here with superior and more convincing products to offer as we want to participate in your industrial growth,” Stefan Zoller, CEO of EADS Defence and Security, told the media recently in India. Present on the occasion were top EADS officials, including Theodor Benien, Military Air Systems Communication Head. “We are offering cutting-edge technology products in a win-win situation for both of us and in this context we consider Eurofighter Typhoon to be a major candidate for the next generation multi-role fighter aircraft for the Indian Air Force,” Zoller said, referring to the proposed deal to acquire Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft for STEFAN ZOLLER, CEO, EADS the force. In reply to a query as to whether EADS DEFENCE AND SECURITY, IN would be willing to transfer 100 per cent of its A FACE-TO-FACE WITH THE products’ technology to India, as mandated by INDIAN MEDIA OUTLINED THE India’s Defence Procurement Procedure, Zoller EUROPEAN CONGLOMERATE’S observed: “We realise this is a very sensitive subEFFORTS TO SECURE ITS POSIject for India. We are aware that expectations are TION IN INDIA high on transfer of technology. There have been discussions. There is some way to go and we are optimistic.” Expressing disappointment at the cancellation of the Fennec deal, the EADS CEO said, “We are obviously not pleased to find ourselves out of a deal that we had almost clinched.” Some key defence projects EADS is also looking to develop for India includes missile approach warning systems for all types of military platforms, air-borne early warning and communication system and integrated early warning solutions. To execute these projects, the EADS has joined hands with the DRDO as well as private firms like

Issue 2 • 2008

BAE SYSTEMS • BAE Systems has begun assembly of the first major components of Taranis, the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle that will help the UK MoD decide on the balance and capability of its ‘future force mix’. • BAE Systems has completed critical fuel testing on the first F-35 Lightning II short take off and vertical landing variant. Fuel checks involved constant testing, 24 hours a day for 13 days, which checked the calibration of the aircraft’s fuel gauging systems. BOEING • The Boeing Company and Jakartabased Lion Air announced an order for 56 Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplanes. This






JOSEPH K. DODD Northrop Grumman Corporation has appointed Joseph K. Dodd to the post of Vice President Business Development and Marketing for the Information Technology (IT) sector’s Intelligence group (TASC). In this role, Dodd will oversee business development, capture, proposal, strategy, and marketing efforts for Northrop Grumman IT’s Intelligence group. In addition to his responsibilities to grow the business, he will focus on engaging and growing new company partnerships.

AEROSPACE TODAY India during the last 40 years has progressed tremendously in space, missiles and multiple aircraft programmes. From the successful launching of SLV-3 in July 1980, India steadily progressed to operational capabilities with PSLV and GSLV for Remote Sensing and Communication satellites. India is self-reliant in space technology and can offer competitive launch services. The fruits of space research have started reaching the people enabling development of the nation. In the missile programme, Prithvi and Agni are operational. Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam The emergence of BrahMos—an IndoEXCERPTS OF FORMER PRESIDENT A.P.J. Russian joint venture Supersonic Cruise ABDUL KALAM’S JANUARY 19 L.M. KATRE Missile—is a breakthrough to obtain a MEMORIAL LECTURE IN BANGALORE unique capability for long-range precision strike. The missile programme has given strength to the nation and BrahMos has demonstrated its world leadership and the availability for export. NAL flight-tested the 14seater SARAS and HAL has successfully productionised the Advanced Light Helicopter.

LT GENERAL JEFFREY B. KOHLER The Boeing Company has named retired US Air Force Lt General Jeffrey B. Kohler Vice President of International Strategy for Integrated Defense Systems Business Development. In this role, Kohler will develop strategies to grow the company’s international business while improving IDS products and services through strengthened partnerships around the world.

AEROSPACE TECHNOLOGIES Due to various aerospace programmes, multiple state-of-the-art technologies got developed. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) emerged as core strength for India with advanced software codes and super computing capability to optimize configurations for guided missiles, LCA and launch vehicles. CAD/CAM has become a critical tool in Aerospace systems design and manufacturing.

TULSI MIRCHANDANEY Blue Dart Aviation, India’s first and largest domestic cargo airline, has announced the appointment of Tulsi Mirchandaney as the organisation’s new Managing Director. Tulsi was earlier Senior Vice President Marketing and Projects with Blue Dart Express and has taken over this new responsibility from Niteen Gupte (a former IAF officer). formalities and the integration process before joining the global grouping of 21 airlines. Passengers on Air India’s international network will enjoy the benefits of luxury lounges at major airports, seamless connections, easy transfers, shared terminals and mileage points. The national carrier will be the first and only one from India to join Star Alliance, whose members include big global players Lufthansa and Air

AERO VISION 2020—PASSENGER AIRCRAFT The development of passenger aircraft calls for many complex technologies to be mastered. For example, the improvement of fuel efficiency using unducted fan is a great challenge. Identifying international collaborators and partners for joint development of many appropriate technologies at the initial phase itself would be required. This will also increase the potential for marketing in the international scene as well. AEROSPACE MISSIONS & APPLICATIONS—A PERSPECTIVE Beyond 2020, the aerospace world will enter into space industry and space tourism, mining on planets and space habitats. Hypersonic reusable vehicles will offer cost effective transportation for space missions. With increasing demand for electric power, many nations will depend on Solar Power Satellite (SPS) which could be built in space and launched in geo-stationary orbit. The SPS will become the most cost effective means of generating power. Factories on the moon and establishment of space habitat at L4/L5 liberation points will become the missions of the future. CONCLUSION Technologies in the field of aeronautics, space and missile are converging. This convergence will lead to a cost-effective high quality design, development and production of the various types of aerospace systems such as: (a) 150-seater passenger jet (b) Supersonic unmanned combat aircraft (c) Hypersonic reusable missile (d) Hyperplane (e) Planetary missions including manned missions for energy and water. With vast infrastructure and human resource in the aerospace sector India definitely can launch such missions with international partnership. Nuclear reactors to produce electric power have come out of Atomic Energy Commission, Launch Vehicles and Satellites have come out of space Commission, Strategic missiles have come out of empowered Guided Missile Board. Definitely, a National Aeronautics Commission should be planned and should be given the mandate to design, develop and send it soaring in the Indian skies, a passenger aircraft. When our Indian Combat aircraft goes into squadron service and 150-seater aircraft flies, Air Chief Marshal Katre will definitely smile.

Canada. All of them together operate nearly 18,000 daily flights criss-crossing hundreds of destinations across the globe.

China Southern Airlines focuses on global growth China Southern Airlines will shift its priorities from its traditional focus on domestic

order brings Lion Air’s combined orders for the 737-900ER to 178. • The Boeing Company has been awarded an US Air Force contract to advance the state-of-the-art in laser technology. Boeing will support research, design, development and testing at Air Force Research Laboratory sites at Kirtland Air Force Base. • Continental Airlines have announced that it has added 27 aircraft to its firm order positions at Boeing, including eight new 777 and 19 new Next-Generation 737 (737NG) aircraft. This new order brings Continental’s total firm commitments to 111 new Boeing aircraft. • The Boeing Company has delivered the second KC-767 Tanker to the Itochu Corp. for Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force, two weeks after delivering the first one. Japan has ordered four convertible freighter 767s, providing flexibility in carrying cargo or passengers while maintaining its primary role as an aerial refueling tanker. ELBIT SYSTEMS • Elbit Systems’s subsidiary, Cyclone Aviation Products Ltd, was awarded a contract by Spirit AeroSystems to supply doors for commercial aircraft. The contract is Cyclone’s largest ever with deliveries scheduled between 2009 and 2016. EMBRAER • Embraer have received confirmation from EgyptAir Holding Company for six additional Embraer 170 aircraft. Deliveries will begin in 2009. The original contract covered six firm orders and six options which has now been confirmed. • Embraer and Australia’s Virgin Blue Airlines, have signed a contract to exercise four purchase rights for EMBRAER 190 jets and to convert another three into options for the same model. • Embraer has signed Finnair to a new firm order for three more EMBRAER 190s. The aircraft will be configured with 100 seats in a comfortable dual-class layout and the first delivery is scheduled for

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NCAT, a global leader in engineering services outsourcing and product development IT services inked a joint venture in March with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to create INCAT-HAL Aerostructures Limited, in an ambitious move to emerge the leader in engineering and design of aerostructures. The JV was signed between HAL and Tata Technologies, INCAT’s parent company. Both HAL and Tata Technologies will contribute 50 per cent to the equity of the JV. The joint venture, based in Bangalore, will be the Preferred Delivery Center for both organisations. “The global aerospace industry is realising the value of adopting an outsourcingbased business model, not simply to achieve cost reductions, but to speed time to market while maintaining quality,” said INCAT CEO Warren Harris. “This joint venture, leveraging the strengths of both companies, creates an organisation capable of delivering outstanding value to clients within the global aerospace market.” HAL Director, Corporate Planning and Marketing, M. Fakruddin said, “The objective of this joint venture is to undertake work packages related to engineering design services in aerostructures and also the captive offshore and on-site work load of both partners from aerospace OEMs, including offset programmes.” INCAT is a Tata Technologies company. Founded in 1989, the company is a global leader in engineering services outsourcing and product development IT to the world’s largest automotive, aerospace and durable goods manufacturers. INCAT is headquartered in the US (Novi, Michigan), India (Pune) and Germany (Stuttgart). Tata Technologies is headquartered in Singapore. “HAL and INCAT are set to capitalise on the global aerospace demand by leveraging their combined core strengths—HAL’s offset business, and INCAT’s global offshore/on-site engineering business,” observed Patrick McGoldrick, Managing Director, Tata Technologies, INCAT’s parent company. routes to a more ambitious commitment to international expansion, Chairman Liu Shaoyong disclosed on March 10. Last year the airline opened 10 new international routes from Guangzhou. “We plan to open more international routes starting from Beijing to New York, London and Detroit, and also GuangzhouMoscow by 2012,” Liu said. InterGlobe General Aviation opens Hawker Beechcraft authorised service centre Hawker Beechcraft Corporation, the world’s leading business, special-mission and trainer aircraft manufacturer, and its partner InterGlobe General Aviation (P) Limited, a subsidiary of InterGlobe Enterprises, have opened a new Hawker Beechcraft Authorised Service Centre for Hawker aircraft at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. This is the first authorised service centre for Hawker jets in India. Kingfisher likely to ground Deccan brand after merger As the completion of Vijay Mallya-owned Kingfisher Airlines and Captain G.R. Gopinathconceived Deccan Aviation moves closer, the common man’s (Air) Deccan brand could fly into oblivion. It’s a 34


possibility being studied by Kingfisher Airlines. But Kingfisher’s desire to operate under a single brand is most likely to face air pockets with the Civil Aviation Ministry scrutinising its overseas plans. Gulfstream sells first largecabin business jet in China Gulfstream has sold its first

large-cabin business jet aircraft in China with the recent multi-aircraft sale of three mid-range G350s and one ultra-long-range G550 to Hainan Airlines Group. The four aircraft will be used as charter aircraft by Deer Jet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hainan Airlines Group. This aircraft order marks the first fleet purchase for Beijingbased Deer Jet.

Issue 2 • 2008

Latest safety management system for Indian aviation Indian aviation is likely to adopt the internationally mandated Safety Management System (SMS) to attain optimal operational safety by 2009. “By January 2009, it will be mandatory for all existing and upcoming airlines to adopt SMS,” Kanu Gohain, director general of Directorate General of Civil Aviation. National Aviation Services in Indian subcontinent Kuwait’s leading airline ground handling services provider National Aviation Services recently signed a milestone agreement with top Indian Ground Handling Company ‘Nova Aviation Services’ (NAS) headquartered in Mumbai. The agreement means NAS will provide ground support to airlines at the airports in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Indore, Pune and Goa. Air Traffic Control Communications Systems upgrade for India Northrop Grumman Corporation’s Europe-based subsidiary Park Air Systems has been awarded a contract from Airports Authority of India to provide ground-toair communication equipment as part of their VHF upgrade programme. Under the contract, Northrop Grumman Park Air Systems will be providing PAE T6 Multi-mode Digital Radio transmitters and receivers with antennas together with training and spares. Parliamentary panel against closure of existing airports A parliamentary standing committee on transport and tourism has recommended that the existing airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore should be kept open even after the new ones come up. The state-run airports are to be closed under the pacts the government signed with the developers of the new airports. The committee, which tabled its report in Parliament on March 6, is categorical that the logic for the closure of these airports does not hold.

QuickRoundUp 2010. LOCKHEED MARTIN • The Dutch joined the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s production definition phase in 2006. A Dutch MoD release indicates that they will participate in the multinational Initial Operational Test & Evaluation (IOT&E) Phase of the JSF programme, rather than conducting this phase on their own. • US Air Mobility Command welcomed the news that defense officials have certified 49 of the Air Force’s C-5 aircraft for upgrade in the Reliability Enhancement and Reengining Program (RERP). Continuing the C-5 RERP allows the Air Force to modify aircraft with better, newer structures along with defensive systems at an overall savings to the taxpayer. NORTHROP GRUMMAN • Northrop Grumman Corporation has unveiled a new programme to develop an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA). The Scalable Agile Beam Radar will be a full performance fire control AESA derived from proven AESA technology for light tactical aircraft. • The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial system (UAS), built by Northrop Grumman Corporation, celebrated the 10th anniversary of its first flight on February 28, 2008. So far, it has logged more than 20,000 total programme flight hours. PRATT & WHITNEY • Air Caraibes has selected Pratt & Whitney PW4000-100 engines to power three new Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The engines will be backed by a 10-year comprehensive fleet management programme provided by Pratt & Whitney Global Service Partners. ROCKWELL COLLINS • The Polish Air Force has selected the Rockwell Collins F-16C Modular Simulated Aircraft Maintenance Trainer for the training of the aircraft’s maintenance personnel. The trainer is to be delivered in April 2008.







ver the last year or so, a dynamic growth was witnessed in the nation’s aviation industry with news from the industry regularly grabbing headlines. In contrast, media coverage on the aviation aspects of the Budget was a lifeless squeal. Indeed, there was not much to talk about. Buried in 187 paragraphs, only one sentence in the entire Budget speech referred to aviation—and it did not concern the air traveller but the import of helicopter simulators. Aviation industry’s expectations from the Budget remained largely unfulfilled by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram’s proposals in his Budget speech. One of the basic expectations and indeed clamouring demands of the industry had been rationalisation of taxes related to Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) so as to bring the fuel cost to international levels and to relieve the airlines and the travellers form an oppressive tax burden. At present, sales tax levied on ATF sales to airlines stands between 4 per cent and 30 per cent, depending on which state the fuel is uploaded. The Finance Minister proposed no such tax cut. The second whammy came a day after the Budget speech, when oil PSUs raised the ATF prices by over 5 per cent. As a result, the cost of ATF in Mumbai—the industry’s backyard—has gone up to Rs 48,655 a litre. Both print and the electronic media as also the stock and mutual fund markets are reverberating with the buzzword ‘infrastructure’. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has proposed an outlay of Rs 12,434 crore during the ongoing Eleventh Plan period (ending FY 2011-2012) for the development of infrastructure at airports. The section of the Finance Minister’s speech on infrastructure did not feature the word ‘aviation’—a cause for some misgiving. Anomalously, the investment plan for AAI has increased from the last FY’s Rs 1,961 crore to Rs 3,377 crore. The basic customs duty on project imports has, however, been reduced from 7.5 per cent to 5 per cent even as the service tax base has been broadened to include six new services. Para 139 of the Budget speech read thus: “To facilitate training of helicopter pilots, I propose to remove the duty on helicopter simulators.” While media hailed this as a cause for cheer for the rotary wing community, sceptics point out that the only foreseeable import of a helicopter simulator in this FY is that by HATSOFF—the CAE-HAL joint venture coming up in Bangalore. One piece of good news could be the exemption of duty from the cold chain facilities (network for procurement, warehousing, transportation and retailing of food products under controlled temperatures) above two tonne refrigeration capacity and utilising 50 KW and above of power. by Group Captain A.K. Sachdev

8 April-10 April AIRPORT EXPO 2008, MANDALAY BAY RESORT & CASINO, LAS VEGAS, USA Organisers: Mack Brooks Exhibitions Email: inquiries@airportexpo URL: www.airportexpo2008. com 22 April-23 April 7TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL MILITARY HELICOPTER CONFERENCE, ONE WHITEHALL PLACE, LONDON, UK Organisers: DefenceIQ Email: elizabeth. URL: ediary 22 April-24 April AEROSPACE 2008: THE WAY FORWARD, NO. 4 HAMILTON PLACE, LONDON, UK Organisers: Royal Aeronautical Society Email: uk URL: conference

Europe Demand for 24,300 aircraft in next 20 years: Airbus According to its latest Global Market Forecast, Airbus foresees a demand for some 24,300 new passenger and freighter aircraft between now and 2026. The growing demand will result in an average annual delivery of some 1,215 aircraft, up from the previously forecast 1,130.

SPACE Americas Boeing, NASA herald 2008 with Atlantis liftoff With February 7 success-


ful liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis, the Boeing Company and NASA have started 2008 with renewed focus following three successful missions last year for the shuttle and International Space Station (ISS) programmes. The ISS received its newest addition when the STS-122 crew delivered the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Columbus Research Laboratory, ESA’s largest on-orbit contribution

to the station. As ISS prime contractor, Boeing participated in design and verification reviews to ensure that Columbus works properly with the Harmony utility module, the connecting point for the research laboratory

INDUSTRY Asia-Pacific Boeing and Tata Industries to set up JV in India The Boeing Company and Tata Industries Limited of India have agreed on a plan to form a joint venture company for defence related aerospace component work in India for export to Boeing and its international customers. Under the agreement, the company will be established by June 2008. Manufacturing capabilities established within the company would later be leveraged across multiple Boeing programmes, including India’s proposed MMRCA deal.

RAYTHEON • Raytheon Company’s United Kingdom-based subsidiary has been awarded a contract to support the integration and flight trials of the Paveway IV dual mode precisionguided bomb with the UK Royal Air Force Tornado GR4/4A. • Raytheon Systems Limited is under contract to integrate Paveway IV on all UK strike platforms, including Harrier GR9/9A (successfully completed in August 2007), F-35B Lightening II (Joint Combat Aircraft), and Eurofighter Typhoon. SAFRAN • An electric brake has been successfully tested for the first time in the world on a commercial jetliner, an Airbus A340-600. This electric brake technology was developed by Messier-Bugatti, a SAFRAN Group company, through a joint demonstration program with Airbus called Electrically Actuated Braking System. SIKORSKY • Evergreen Helicopters, Inc., a subsidiary of Evergreen International Aviation, Inc., has signed contracts for four S-76C++ helicopters, the model of the proven S-76 workhorse currently in production from Sikorsky. The helicopters will serve in a variety of missions including offshore oil, utility, emergency medical service, and search and rescue. SUKHOI AVIATION CORPORATION • Russia has delivered four Su-30 MKM fighter planes to Malaysia under a contract signed in 2003, under which Malaysia will receive a total of 18 Su-30MKM fighters by the end of 2008. The first six aircraft were delivered in 2007. THALES • Thales has been awarded the title of Australia’s top defence contractor for 2007 at the 5th Annual Australian Defence Magazine Congress. Thales has enjoyed another successful year that included delivering world-class APEC accreditation and security systems, order for 399 additional Bushmaster vehicles, and delivering the simulator for the AIR 87 Tiger helicopter.

Issue 2 • 2008







Protracted Delivery Commissioning of Bangalore’s international airport has acquired political overtones with the UPA and the NDA in a silent tug-of-war for mileage


world class international airport for the Silicon Valley of India was officially conceived in 1991. Initially, the airport was to be located on Mysore road some 30 km from Bangalore. However, reportedly on account of vested political interests, the venue was later shifted to Devanhalli on Hyderabad highway (NH7). Delays and difficulties have persistently dogged the project ever since its conception. After a decade of uncertainty, the process finally made some headway with Siemens-Zurich Airport-led consortium winning the contract in October 2001. It took another four years for construction to begin and the date of inauguration was stipulated as March 30, 2008. Half way through the construction, when it became evident that growth of passenger traffic had overtaken the planned capacity, the Ministry of Civil Aviation suggested suitable upgrade for Phase I, pointing out a number of other inadequacies in the design. Midway, Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) rehashed plans, incorporating all the suggestions from the ministry without any change in the date of inauguration. This was a matter of prestige for BIAL. Now, with the inauguration just days away, it comes to light that the airport will not be ready by then after all. On March 7, the ministry rescheduled the inauguration for May 11. While 59 points for correction has been observed by the ministry, the stated reason is lack of readiness of the Air Traffic Management System which includes installation, commissioning, calibration and trial of Radio Beacons, Radars, Instrument Landing Systems and Communication Facilities. Positioning, familiarisation and training of personnel with the air traffic management system and procedures is also to be completed before the airport is cleared by the Directorate General Civil Aviation for all weather operations. To date, the major problem frequently debated in the public domain was the issue of high-speed connectivity. While the airport was taking shape with Swiss precision, there was no sign of progress on the expressway or high-speed rail link. By early 2007, when it had become abundantly clear that the agencies responsible to provide connectivity had nothing to show, BIAL undertook as a part of the airport project, the responsibility to construct a Trumpet Flyover at the nearest point on NH7 and the link road to the airport. Despite impediments, BIAL is hopeful to have this part of the work completed 36


Issue 2 • 2008

on schedule. During the last few years, the political establishment in the state, somewhat preoccupied with internal turmoil, has not had the time to focus on mundane issues such as airport connectivity. Now, in the absence of an elected government, the bureaucracy has been left holding the baby. From the flurry of activity, it appears the alarm button has been pressed and the existing road links to Devanhalli area are being upgraded on a war footing. Magic Box underpass is being introduced at a number of choke points along the Bellary Road to facilitate traffic movement from the city centre to Hebbal flyover. However, these measures are only quick-fix solutions for the short term. The Railway Ministry, which was to provide a high speed rail link, has suddenly dissociated itself, refusing to shoulder the responsibility. It is rather strange that the definition of responsibility for a crucial facility should appear fuzzy so close to project termination deadline. In the meantime, the demand for keeping the HAL airport in operation from different segments of the society has been gathering steam. Curiously enough, airport employees unions have jumped into the fray resorting to strike demanding that operations at HAL airport be continued. Apart from defying logic, their locus standii over this issue itself is open to question. There is, however, another aspect to this sordid episode that warrants scrutiny. Like many other issues of public concern, commissioning of BIAL has acquired political overtones with the two major political entities, the UPA and the NDA, in a silent tug-of-war for mileage. The Congress is castigating the NDA for entering into a flawed agreement that involved decommissioning of existing infrastructure. This is clearly against national interest. The NDA is also being accused of neglect, both at the central and state levels, of the vital aspect of efficient connectivity. With the elections in Karnataka due in the near future, it may be in the interest of the political parties aspiring for power not to alienate vote banks over this issue. We will do well to remember that in the Indian system, political expediency is often the overriding consideration. Two decades ago, the Prime Minister of one of the Asian Tigers had observed that India was much too democratic to progress quickly. BIAL CEO Albert Brunner had certainly not bargained for this! SP — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey

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Contact Jason Akovenko, Regional Vice President Asia/Pacific, at +65 6256 8301 or e-mail: or visit

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SP's Aviation February 2008  

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