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Middle East


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TABLE of CONTENTS News Flies. We Gather Intelligence. Every Month. From India.

ISSUE 10 • 2009

While sales have
hammered the
business jet sector
across the world,
the Middle East
remains an oasis
of hope that will
lead the industry
back to recovery

10 IAF Day Parade
Cover Story 35 Valentina Tereshkova
Celebrating 77 Years

...that even as corporate
25 NBAA aviation the world over 3 A Word from Editor
Strong Despite the Storm continues to reel under the
brutal blow of economic 5 NewsWithViews
SP’s EXCLUSIVE recession, the market in the - India Developing MIRVs
Arabian Gulf states shows
28 MMRCA Deal little or no signs of regress. - Curbing the Naxals
Flying the Super Viper
• 7 InFocus
Muscles On Display


Indo-US Exercise

Cope India 2009
More Lean Than Mean

MMRCA Deal �����������
Super In Every Sense �����
36 NewsDigest



Special Forces SP's Avn 10 of 09 Cover_final.indd 1

11/10/09 8:26:27 PM
Garuds for All Reasons
Reality Bites
Cover Photo:
SPACE Cessna recorded significant sales across the
Middle East for their larger business jets. NEXT ISSUE:
Life Begins at 40 Photo Credit: Cessna Joint Strike Fighter: Progress Report

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 1

Jayant Baranwal Associate Art Director: Ratan Sonal
Graphic Designers: Rajkumar Sharma,
ASSISTANT EDITOR Vimlesh Kumar Yadav
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2 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009
A Word from Editor
Flourishing business
aviation in the oil-rich
Gulf nations makes for
compelling read even
as back home, ominous
grumblings from India’s
northern neighbour
prompts a recce of the
IAF’s combat strength

eople who buy corporate jets are not affected by the National Business Aviation Association held in Florida was
the global recession—a telling observation, albeit successful despite initial expectations of a lacklustre show.
slightly altered, by a top corporate honcho of a Back home, harsh reality and its grim implications stare
leading aircraft manufacturer neatly sums up the us in the face. Of prime concern is the combat power of
consummate lure of luxurious private wings for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Undeniably, the Air Force Day
the jet-setter, glitterati and glamorous. Deeper the Parade on the IAF’s 77th anniversary on October 8 was re-
pocket, more lavish the ride. That said, the spectre of global splendent in its showcasing of pomp and pageantry, but if
economic recession has invariably robbed the corporate avia- one were to go by the number of aircraft on display, there
tion industry of its enviable gleam. Derided and denounced for was no escaping the uncomfortable question: is this an omi-
its unabashed proclamation of opulence and overt arrogance nous sign that the IAF still finds itself in a trough of eroded
in the face of a global economic meltdown, business aviation combat capability due to the dwindling strength of its com-
has taken a beating in most of its hitherto flourishing mar- bat squadrons? Shaking off the déjà vu, it is time the Indian
kets—save for one. The Middle East establishment paid heed to the warning signals emanating
“Of course we are aware of the general financial situa- from across the northern borders.
tion, but in the Middle East it is different,” quips Ali al Naqbi, Meanwhile, the winds of change are evident as Indian forc-
the head of the Middle East Business Aviation Association. In es engage in joint exercises with armed forces of foreign coun-
fact, throughout the period of global meltdown, the Middle tries even as the flight trials for the IAF’s Medium Multi Role
East market has continued to grow mostly for the “larger and Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) deal make steady progress. This
long-range business aircraft”. Delving into the reasons for this edition carries a report on Cope India 2009, the five-day Indo-
relentless surge, SP’s Special Correspondent Alan Peaford con- US transport exercise that commenced on October 19 in Agra.
cludes that the Middle East will eventually script the recovery With a finger on the pulse of the MMRCA deal, two leading
of the business aviation industry. Throwing further light on the contenders highlight their fighter aircraft—each with unique
resilience of this beleaguered sector, this time from the US, Le- and acclaimed characteristics. As always, we bring you all the
Roy Cook reports that the 2009 convention and trade show of action behind the news.

Jayant Baranwal

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 3

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“The IAF is transforming into
���������������� a potent strategic force.”
—Air Chief Marshal P.V.
Naik, Chief of the Air Staff

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India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is reportedly validating technologies that will help India deploy multiple inde-
pendently targeted reentry vehicles (MIRV) warheads on its missiles. The DRDO has confirmed it has made significant progress over the past few
years in developing an indigenous technology for the single-rocket-multiple-warhead system, and DRDO expects this ultimate war machine will be
ready in another three to four years. Scientists of the organisation claim the guidance system will have a high degree of accuracy to offset even a
small circular error of probability or a negligible deviation from the intended target.


f true, India would indeed join the elite club of the first makes it much more difficult to defend against a ballistic mis-
five ‘Nuclear Haves’ countries—the US, Russia, China, UK sile attack. Even if some warheads malfunction or are inter-
and France—which also possess MIRV warheads in their cepted by anti-ballistic missile defences, the increased number
respective nuclear arsenals. It would also greatly enhance of warheads provided by the MIRV payload greatly increases
the country’s nuclear deterrence capability. But what exactly is the chances of destroying the intended targets. In the same
an MIRV? The multiple independently targeted re-entry ve- vein, several MIRVs may be aimed at a single, heavily defend-
hicle is a type of payload fitted ed target, in an attempt to en-
on long-range guided missiles. sure its destruction.
An MIRV payload allows a Developing MIRV capability
single missile to carry several involves highly complex issues
nuclear warheads and attack a and technologies. However,
number of targets in quick suc- the DRDO is confident that
cession in the enemy territory. the programme would be suc-
The concept was initially con- cessful. The Advanced Systems
ceived in the early 1960s by Laboratory in Hyderabad,
the US to enhance the limited which develops India’s strate-
capacity of its nuclear subma- gic long-range, nuclear-tipped
rines carrying ballistic missiles. missiles, is designing the 5,000
It triggered a major escalation km-range Agni V with several
of arms race between the US unique features. Agni V will be
and Russia (then USSR), the India’s first canisterised missile
two major adversaries of the which would make it highly
Cold War period. The Sovi- road-mobile. The road mobility
ets retaliated by developing a would ensure that it would in
similar technology but placing effect move into the category of
the warheads on larger rock- an ICBM (equal or greater than
ets. This enabled them to put 5,500 km range) by positioning
more/heavier warheads into it closer to the intended target
one missile with much higher within the boundaries of the
individual and collective weap- country. For example, by mov-
on yields. Subsequently, the ing it to Amritsar, it would have
remaining ‘nuclear weapon the capability to engage targets
countries’ also followed suit by across Europe. Similarly, by
developing indigenous capa- positioning it in the Northeast
bilities of their own. it would be able to engage even
Today, all Submarine Harbin, China’s northernmost
Launched Ballistic Missiles city. While Agni V is scheduled
(SLBMs) and some Inter Con- for first launch in early 2011, it
tinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) of the US are fitted with would in all probability carry the MIRV payload by the time it
MIRV warheads. Russia uses MIRVs on its ICBMs and SLBMs is perfected and put into operation.
as well, whereas France and UK operate only SLBMs with Rumour is the Indian MIRV will be able to carry up to 10
MIRV warheads. China has developed MIRV technology for miniaturised warheads, somewhat similar to the US W88 or
use on its ICBMs. It may also be extending this capability to the French M51 SLBM warheads. A highly survivable road-

its SLBMs. mobile, MIRVed Agni V would not only be the most potent war
An MIRV payload separates from an ICBM/SLBM as the machine but it would also lend much greater credibility to
missile reaches the top, or apex, of the ballistic arc. The indi- India’s nuclear deterrence even when working within the self-
vidual warheads can then be directed to a number of different imposed restrictions of a ‘No first-use policy’. SP
targets as the warheads fall toward earth. The use of MIRV — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 5

In a contemptuous challenge to the Indian government’s anti-naxal strategy, Left-wing extremists raised the provocation bar a notch higher by killing 17
policemen in a brazen ambush on October 8 in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district, close to the border with Chhattisgarh. The extremists also showed that
apart from raising the provocation bar, they were ready to raise the bar of brutality by beheading a man in a Taliban-style execution before launching the
attack on the police party. Hours later in Delhi, the government’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) while debating on how to tackle the surge in naxalite
violence was almost unanimous in the view that the Indian armed forces should not be used in the fight against the Maoists.


ecently, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had Against this formidable force the Home Ministry under P.
admitted that the naxal violence had reached a Chidambaram had laid out an offensive plan during the CCS
stage so as to become the gravest internal security meeting on October 8, with the employment of para-military
problem for India. In making such a statement was forces comprising the Border Security Force, Central Reserve
he hinting that the naxal terrorism was even more serious Police Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and so on. However,
than the ones emanating from Jammu and Kashmir or the even though a staggering 100,000 security men are reportedly
Northeast? Apparently so. But why differentiate between involved in the operations, their past five years’ record inspires
the perpetrators of terrorism operating in the naxal affected little confidence.
areas from the ones operating For now, the Centre has os-
in other parts of the country? tensibly decided not to involve
Could it be the Centre views the armed forces. Defence Min-
the naxal problem under a ister A.K. Antony took the high
different lens of conflicting stand to state that the country’s
ideologies? armed forces were not trained
The naxal movement was to fight Indian citizens. How-
started as essentially a peasant ever, notwithstanding the In-
revolt in the 1960s by Charu dian Air Force (IAF) Chief Air
Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal Chief Marshal P.V. Naik’s re-
from a hamlet in West Bengal marks echoing Antony’s senti-
called Naxalbari (from which ments, it would be prudent for
the naxal movement derived the armed forces to keep con-
its name) propagating an alter- tingency plans ready. The IAF
native system of governance is already helping the para-
through revolutionary oppo- military forces with helicopter
sition. The movement which support operations for speedy
got fractionalised in the 1970s force deployments and casual-
picked up momentum again ty evacuation. It could expand
in the 1990s and today has its role to provide persistent
expanded to cover as many surveillance with the help of
as 220 districts in 20 states UAVs, including sensors which
across India—the so called are capable of seeing through
‘Red Corridor’ stretching from thick foliage to help expose
Nepal border in the north to naxal hideouts in jungles. In
Karnataka in the south. It is addition, the IAF’s heavy-
estimated that the combined lift resources will also be on
armed cadre strength of differ- standby to move men and ma-
ent naxal groups has reached a terial into areas of operations.
hefty 20,000, possessing close In other words, except for tak-
to 6,500 regular weapons in- ing offensive action against the
cluding the AK-47s and the naxal rebels, the IAF would be
SLRs, besides a large number of unlicensed country arms. performing most of its support roles. IAF helicopters have also
Naxal organisational profiles and strategies have been received the green signal to take retaliatory action in self-de-
continuously evolving and with a centralised command and fence if fired upon by hostile naxal rebels.

control structure the entire set up has taken the shape of a In sum, while the Centre would be keeping its fingers
well-trained guerilla force which does not hesitate to resort to crossed for a successful outcome of the para-military offensive,
mass killings and brutal violence. The group’s affiliations with the armed forces would do well to take charge, as a last resort,
the Nepalese Maoists, the Northeast insurgents and even Paki- to eliminate the naxal terror threat, once and for all. SP
stan’s Inter-Services Intelligence pose a grave threat to India. — Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia

6 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

CTOBER 8, 2009. THE TAP- Equipped with the Israeli-made radar
ESTRY OF AERIAL brilliance mounted on Russian IL-76, the AWACS
vied with the pomp and provides the IAF capability to keep a
pageantry unfolding on the close watch on enemy aircraft and mis-
ground even as the audience was left siles taking off from their bases, even
spellbound with the celebrations mark- as it flies far away from the border and
ing the 77th birthday of the Indian Air helps in directing Indian fighter aircraft
Force (IAF) at Hindon airbase in Gha- and air defence counter measures to the
ziabad on the outskirts of Delhi. Fine incoming threats.
display of air power by frontline fighter The fighter fly past was led by three
aircraft Sukhoi 30, Jaguar, MiG-29 and The IAF’s display Jaguars in ‘Vic’ formation closely fol-
Mirage 2000, the maiden entry of the
Airborne Warning and Control System
of air power on Air lowed by three each of Bison (MiG-21),
Baaz (MiG-29), Vajra (Mirage 2000) and
(AWACS), the IAF’s eye in the sky, and Force Day fired Su-30 MKI. The trail formation of the
the prowess of Surya Kiran and Sarang
earned the crowd’s applause.
the imagination of Su-30MKIs also carried out a ‘Trident’
manoeuvre, with the lead aircraft per-
Earlier, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik the nation—and forming a flawless Vertical Charlie. The
took the salute and inspected the parade
witnessed among others by the Marshal
strove to conceal air display was carried out by aircraft
operating from five different air bases in
of the Air Force, Arjan Singh, and Army the fatigue the Western Air Command. The Mirage
Chief General Deepak Kapoor. The com- 2000s, capable of flying at 2,500 kmph
mencement of the Air Force Day Parade (Mach 2.35), are the IAF’s premier multi-
was marked by a fly past by three Mi-17 role fighter jet. The aircraft can carry a
helicopters in ‘Vic’ formation trooping wide range of weaponry, including two
the Air Force Ensign at a height of 60 metres and speed of 80 30 mm integral cannon, two Matra Super 530D medium-range
kmph. Next, a chakra formation of three Mi-25/Mi-35 was fol- missiles, two R550 Magic close combat missiles and various
lowed by a spectrum comprising one Dornier 228 in the lead ground attack munitions. The Su-30MKI is the IAF’s prime air
with two AVRO 748 and two AN-32 in echelon position. superiority fighter. The force has been one of the largest users
A key objective of the IAF is to support ground troops by of the MiG-21 since its debut in the India-Pakistan war of 1965
providing air defence cover and by transporting men and es- and later in 1971. MiG-29, the IAF’s dedicated air superiority
sential commodities across the battlefield. Consequently, the fighter, has a top speed of 2,445 kmph (Mach 2.3) and is armed
air force maintains a fleet of helicopters and the Mi-17 is an with a 30 mm cannon along with R-60 and R-27 missiles.
important part of this fleet. A version of the Mi-8 airframe, the Foremost among the IAF’s ground attack force are the
Mi-17 helicopter has a maximum take-off weight of 13 tones. squadrons of Jaguars. The twin-engine Jaguar IB, with a top
It can carry up to 36 passengers or 4 tonnes within the cargo speed of Mach 1.6, is capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
compartment. Externally, it can carry a load of upto 4.5 tonnes. The IAF has 100 Jaguar IS and eight maritime strike Jaguar
The IAF currently operates two Mi-25/35 Attack Helicopter IM aircraft. The recently acquired Prithvi II Ballistic Missile

Squadrons (No.104 Firebirds and No.125 Gladiators). could be used to target airfields, command and control cen-
On the other hand, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s multi- tres and was proudly displayed at Hindon. In a recent test, the
role helicopter Dhruv is being supplied to the Indian armed missile was launched with an extended range of 350 km and
forces. Its civilian variant is also available. The helicopter was improved navigation system. The missile has the features to
first exported to Nepal and Israel, and is on order by several deceive anti-ballistic missiles.
other countries for both military and commercial use. Military Admittedly, the air and static displays warmed the cock-
versions in production are for transport, utility, reconnaissance les of every Indian heart, sending forth a reassuring message
and medical evacuation roles. of strength and capability. However, a niggling question re-
For the first time, the AWACS was unveiled to the nation. mained: would the current strength suffice in keeping at bay
Escorted by two Su-30s, the ‘Phalcon’ endowed eye-in-the-sky threats to the nation emerging on the horizon? SP
was showcased as a proud possession of the IAF at the parade. —By Sangeeta Saxena

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 7



CCOLADES up its combat jet fighter squad-
APART, THE rons to 39-and-half against a
AIR POWER recommended figure of 45 and
DISPLAY by the While adversaries are maintained it long enough for
Indian Air Force
(IAF) on its 77th
building their air force it to be considered as the ap-
proved squadrons’ strength.
anniversary on October 8 could arsenals at a feverish pitch, But the lack of any meaning-
at best be described as moder- ful acquisition programmes
ate—exceptions being the 250 the IAF’s acquisition throughout the 1990s started
km-range Prithvi on static dis-
play and the mighty Airborne
and modernisation to have the inevitable adverse
effect on its combat squad-
Warning and Control System programmes continue to rons’ strength by the turn of
(AWACS), displayed for the first
time in Indian skies since its either languish, or move the century. All of the factors
combined drained the IAF
induction in May. The combat
power of the IAF was restrict-
forward at a snail’s pace that started to lose its com-
bat squadrons at a rapid pace
“The Indian Air Force will shortly acquire
ed to five ‘Vics’ of three aircraft from 2002 onwards, eroding
enhanced capabilities and leapfrog a generation
each (total 15 aircraft) consist- one-quarter of its numerical
ing of Jaguar strike aircraft, the ahead.” strength in just a few years.
upgraded MiG-21 Bisons, the —Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, Then again, is there a silver
Mig-29 air superiority fight- October 8, 2008 lining on the horizon? Speaking
ers, the multi-role Mirage 2000 at the sidelines of the Air Force
and the top-of-the-line Su-30 Day Parade on October 8, the

MKI air dominance fighters. In Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air
sharp contrast, air displays during the previous years show- Chief Marshal P.V. Naik admitted to the large scale downslide in
cased five-aircraft arrowheads as basic formations, with much the number of combat squadrons, but struck a hopeful note, “I
larger numbers of aircraft of all types of fighters participating. would like to share one thing—we do not have a small force. We
Is this an ominous sign that the IAF still finds itself in are on the low side of the sine curve and we are only going to
a trough of eroded combat capability due to the dwindling go up... The strength (of the fighter squadrons) has to increase.
strength of its combat squadrons? Was the drawdown, which By 2014, it will start increasing. By 2022, we expect to have
had started earlier in the decade, attributable merely to obso- the requisite numbers.” Earlier, while addressing the parade
lescence and retirement of aircraft that had completed their after the investiture ceremony, the IAF Chief put forward his
service life? Or, was it also the fallout of hasty and premature vision of the force, visualising a powerful aerospace entity, ca-
withdrawals of some types that were beset with maintenance pable of dominating the entire spectrum of information, cyber
support problems? To redux, the IAF had painstakingly built and airspace. According to him, a large number of acquisitions,

8 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

like the Medium Multi- air force with only a support role for the surface forces to being
Role Combat Aircraft a truly strategic and inter-continental aerospace power in tune
(MMRCA), helicop- with growing national aspirations and, to meet future military
ters, Flight Refuelling challenges and increased regional/global responsibilities.
Aircraft, AWACS and What was stated earlier by the outgoing Chief Fali Homi
transport aircraft will Major has been reiterated and reinforced by the present CAS
be in place in the next in his Air Force Day address, that the IAF is in the midst of a
few years which will near total transformation of its capabilities. It is true that a
“provide a quantum comprehensive and focused modernisation programme has
leap to the IAF’s opera- been set in motion which envisages replacement of a large
tional capability”. proportion of IAF’s vintage combat assets over the next
Later, responding three ‘Plan’ periods, that is, by the end of 2022. Planned
to a question from the augmentations comprise additional radars and sensors of
media, Air Chief Mar- all classes, air defence missiles, combat aircraft, helicopters
ONE THING—WE DO NOT shal Naik said, “Our and transport aircraft, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, AWACS,
HAVE A SMALL FORCE. WE priority is to meet the in-flight refuellers, communication equipment and smart
national aspirations. precision guided weapons.
India has spheres of However, while force augmentation and force-multiplica-
THE SINE CURVE AND WE influence from the tion may be the IAF’s mantra, it is implementation which is of
ARE ONLY GOING TO GO Strait of Malacca to the grave concern. The IAF has to take into account the growing
Strait of Hormuz, and might of the air forces of its two neighbours and major adver-
UP... THE STRENGTH (OF THE the IAF should have saries, namely, China and Pakistan. China’s military moderni-
FIGHTER SQUADRONS) HAS greater reach and air sation, progressing purposefully since the mid-1980s, received
TO INCREASE. BY 2014, IT superiority. The IAF another shot in the arm in the early 1990s when Beijing ob-
today is improving its served the superiority demonstrated by the coalition forces in
WILL START INCREASING. BY reach, firepower and the first Iraq war. China’s modernisation drive to replace its
2022, WE EXPECT TO HAVE protection.” He fur- antiquated weapon systems with the help of Russian technol-
THE REQUISITE NUMBERS. ther added that pri- ogy and expertise saw the rapid transformation of the People’s
orities are to acquire Liberation Army Air Force. China today is close to realising its
—AIR CHIEF MARSHAL long-range aircraft, goal to have a predominantly Fourth Generation air force, pro-
P.V. NAIK, CHIEF OF THE lethal weapons, pre- viding it with all-pervading capabilities of a modern, state-of-
AIR STAFF cision munitions and the-art, offensive air arm with matching force-multipliers and
a robust air defence support systems in a network-centric warfare environment.
network. “The IAF Pakistan, on the other hand, as a partner in Washington’s
this year inducted one Global War on Terror, has already been supplied with $11 bil-
AWACS aircraft, and lion (Rs 51,727.5 crore) worth of modern weapon systems, in-
two more will come cluding the latest model of F-16 aircraft. In addition, Pakistan
on line in 2010. In addition, the IAF is acquiring three mid- has already started indigenous production of the JF-17 Thun-
air refuellers, six C-130J transport aircraft, 80 medium-lift der (Chinese FC-1) jet fighters. The Pakistan Air Force is likely
helicopters, Spyder air defence systems, medium power ra- to get a few squadrons of J-10 fighters from China in the next
dars and low-level transportable radars,” he informed. Citing couple of years. Soon, India could be confronted with 1,500 to
India’s agreement with Russia for joint development of Fifth 2,000 jet fighters across its borders.
Generation Fighter Aircraft and the Medium Transport Air- Against such a backdrop, the IAF has to build itself to
craft, he said, “We are also building capabilities in satellites, face emerging and future challenges. But while adversar-
communications, radars and electronic counter-measures.” ies are building their air force arsenals at a feverish pitch,
Naik explained that India’s ‘Dissuasive Deterrence’ mili- the IAF’s acquisition and modernisation drives continue to
tary policy depends on the Sukhois (Su-30 MKI) as well as the either languish, or move forward at a snail’s pace. Take the
3,500 km nuclear-capable Agni III missile, which will be ready case of Hawk advanced jet trainers that were recently in-
for operational deployment by 2011; and the 5,000 km-range ducted after over two decades of negotiations. Similarly, the
Agni V missile in the pipeline. He confirmed that his force was MMRCA programme, initiated in 2001, is moving at a glacial
indeed “interested” in acquiring more Sukhois—which will be pace with hardly any hope of the selected aircraft’s induc-
the mainstay of the IAF’s fighter fleet for the foreseeable fu- tion before 2015. Ditto for all other projects which are in
ture—to further its combat potential. the pipeline for the IAF, credit mainly to the innumerable
A question often asked is whether the IAF is on track in bureaucratic hurdles that stifle the procurement process.
terms of force augmentation and, capability enhancement It’s time the Indian establishment paid heed to the warn-
through meaningful modernisation, answer to which would ing signals emanating from across the northern borders
emphatically be in the positive. The IAF was the first service and accelerated the process of infrastructural upgrade and
out of the three in the country to enunciate a comprehensive modernisation of the armed forces. The disparity in combat
doctrine in the mid-1990s which gave it an impetus to trans- capabilities should not be allowed to balloon to the extent as
form itself into a potent regional/global force. In pursuance of to make India vulnerable to a ‘lesson’ akin to 1962. SP
this goal, it drew a roadmap to transcend from a mere tactical —By Air Marshal (Retd) V.K. Bhatia

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 9


10 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009


11. THE SU-30MKI
For videos visit

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 11
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Incredible But

16 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009



that even as corporate

aviation the world HE ARABIAN GULF STATES SIT
plumb at the centre of the world.
over continues to reel A proud but true boast is that 75
per cent of the world’s popula-
under the brutal blow tion lives within a six-hour flight
of economic recession, of the Gulf—easily a boon for the
airport and commercial airlines
the market in the that use places like Doha, Bah-
rain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi as hubs for continuing
Arabian Gulf states flights to Africa, Asia or Europe. But for business,
shows little or no too, the prospect of being at the crossroads of the
world’s key commerce routes has led to a steady
signs of regress. growth for those using corporate aviation.
“Of course we are aware of the general finan-
Quite the contrary! cial situation, but in the Middle East it is differ-
SP’s Special ent,” said Ali al Naqbi, the head of the Middle
East Business Aviation Association. Throughout
Correspondent the period of global meltdown, the Middle East
has continued to grow. “It may not have been the
Alan Peaford growth of 25 per cent that we were witnessing two
reports from Dubai years ago, but we have continued to see growth
of something like 6 to 8 per cent,” Al Naqbi says.
on this astonishing “The growth has mostly come for those using the
larger and long-range business aircraft. Increas-
phenomenon. ingly, there is more traffic to places like China,
India, Russia and Africa,” he said.

For companies like Abu Dhabi’s Royal Jet this has been par-
ticularly true. Royal Jet is the world’s largest operator of Boe-
ing Business Jets (BBJs) and have utilised the 737-800 based
jet since its formation out of the Abu Dhabi royal wing. The
operator now has 10 of the type in its fleet and is expanding
geographically as well to meet the growing demands of its
customers with new offices in Dubai and a joint venture in
Saudi Arabia. Tapping the Saudi market—undoubtedly the
largest single business aviation user in the region—is key to
any charter or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sales
push. Royal Jet linked up with Saudi Arabia’s Arabasco with

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 17

a commercial and op- this to within two to four days of when they wish to travel,”
erational alliance that said Shane O’Hare, Royal Jet’s CEO. “But we are finding
they say could change that within the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries
the face of elite ser- there is strong demand, with a steady stream of bookings
vices within Saudi. from Qatar and, especially, Saudi Arabia, where the alli-
Under the terms of ance with Arabasco has already led to a surge of interest
the agreement, Royal from the Kingdom.
Jet has placed a BBJ “In part, this is also down to our new pricing policy that
and a Gulfstream 300 we introduced a few months ago within the Gulf region.
at Arabasco’s key hubs Previously, we calculated our prices based on where the
in Jeddah and Riyadh actual aircraft originated from; now, we price the charter
to operate under Ara- from where the guests commence their flight. This has led
basco’s Aircraft Op- to dramatic reductions in charter rates, sometimes by as
SAUDI ARABIA IS THE erators Certificate, to- much as 20 per cent,” he said.
SINGLE LARGEST AND gether with crew, full Other larger operators and business jet management
MOST MATURE PRIVATE operations team and companies are seeing the same. Airbus is certainly en-
all necessary support- joying significant success in the region and the Europe-
JET MARKET IN THE ing logistics. From an manufacturer’s head of corporate aviation Francois
REGION, AND THERE ARE its private terminals Chazelle is convinced that size does matter. “The people
within the Kingdom,
the ‘joint venture’ will
ARE OPENING UP HERE, offer private jet char-
ESPECIALLY WHEN ONE ter, as well as domes-
tic and international
travel from Saudi Ara-
AN ESTABLISHED BRAND bia, using the two air-
AND PRODUCT OFFERING. craft which can com-
fortably accommodate
—SHEIKH HAMDAN BIN 30 and 12 passen-
MUBARAK AL NAHYAN, gers, respectively, to
CHAIRMAN, ROYAL JET cities like London,
Moscow, Bangkok, as
well as other business
and leisure hubs in
the region.
Achieving growth in a key regional market such as
Saudi Arabia is an important focus of Royal Jet’s expan-
sion strategy, said Royal Jet Chairman Sheikh Hamdan Bin
Mubarak Al Nahyan. “This was part of our strategic five-
year plan and this alliance will help us consolidate our po-
sition. Saudi Arabia is the single largest and most mature
private jet market in the region, and there are significant
benefits that are opening up here, especially when one en-
ters the market with an established brand and product of-
fering,” he told SP’s Aviation.
Arabasco President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Brigadier (Retd) General Mohamed Al Shablan echoes Roy-
al Jet’s optimism. Noting that business travel should either
maintain or increase current frequency and flight capacity,
he said, “There will always be a market for premium jet
services, especially in Saudi Arabia. Our business comes
from the upmarket segment, which has maintained suffi-
cient levels of liquidity and will never compromise on the
luxurious standards of business travel that they have been BIGGER THE
accustomed to.” BETTER:
As a result of its emphasis on the top end, Royal Jet has SALES ACROSS
seen a 15 per cent rise in bookings over the past year. “We THE REGION FOR
are finding that there is a trend for our guests to make BUSINESS JETS
their bookings much later than they used to, often leaving

18 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009
Make no mistake, in these economic times, there will be winners
and there will be losers. And in the zero-sum game of corporate
survival, it goes without saying cavalier excess will no longer be
tolerated. But neither will conventional thinking. The victors
in this economy will be the ones who can keep a clear head and
develop a plan to stare down the beast. To that end, we will be
here with a full range of aircraft to maximize efficiency and
increase productivity. So keep flying in this storm. Eventually,
the weak will wither. And the bold will emerge stronger. Your
primary mission is to ensure that you are among the latter.


May we help you develop your plan?
Visit or call +1.316.517.6367.

who buy Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) are not affected by ship of the Brazilian SUDDENLY SWITCH TO
the global recession in the same way. They are long-term OEM’s growing busi- FLYING COMMERCIAL
investors and are not going to suddenly switch to flying ness aircraft offering.
commercial aircraft to attend to their business. We are It delivered to Abu
working with billionaires and they have seen this as an Dhabi’s Prestige Jets TO THEIR BUSINESS.
opportunity,” he said. in May 2009 where it WE ARE WORKING WITH
Coming from a late introduction to the VIP market com- is managed for a pri-
pared to the BBJ, Airbus has now taken over as the mar- vate owner and has BILLIONAIRES AND THEY
ket leader with more than 150 aircraft, including 50 or so been exceeding ex- HAVE SEEN THIS AS AN
wide-bodies and 100 of the ACJ family comprising the A318 pectations in demand OPPORTUNITY.
Elite, ACJ and A320 Prestige. These are popular with the and usage. The maxi-
corporate pilots as the aircraft include a modern and user- mum range of the Lin- —FRANCOIS CHAZELLE,
friendly cockpit with practical pull-out tables, modern fly- eage 1000, originally VICE PRESIDENT, AIRBUS
by-wire controls, Category 3B autoland as standard, cen- projected to be 4,200 EXECUTIVE & PRIVATE
tralised maintenance linked to every aircraft system, and nm (7,778 km) with
large outward-opening cargo doors. eight passengers, or AVIATION
The ACJ forms the backbone of the fleet operated by UAE’s 4,350 nm (8,056 km)
Al Jaber Aviation with six ACJs—the largest single operator in with four passengers,
the Middle East and the first to offer the aircraft to VVIP char- has been extended to
ter. “Our Airbus ACJ Family aircraft will offer private travel in 4,400 nm (8,149 km)
unprecedented comfort and style, providing families and com- with eight passengers, or 4,500 nm (8,344 km) with four
panies with a new way to fly ,” says Al Jaber Chief Executive passengers, both with NBAA IFR reserves.
Mohammed Al Jaber. “In addition to the huge improvement in Embraer is expecting to see even more growth in the
space and comfort, high-end travellers in the Airbus ACJ Fam- region with the development of Falcon Aviation as an autho-
ily will also benefit from separate cabin-zones and unmatched rised service centre across the Embraer fleet. Falcon has a
freedom of movement in flight,” he adds. vested interest in the success as it already operates two Leg-
acy 600s of its own and is due to receive one more this year.
PREFERRED LAUNCH SPOT The company also has two Legacy 500 and four Phenom
Not surprisingly, the Middle East is fast becoming the key 300 jets on order, plus two Lineage 1000s. Falcon Aviation
destination for launch customers of new aircraft. “The Services (FAS) is building a new 8,000 sq m jet maintenance
launch customer for the A350XWB Prestige—the VIP version facility at Bateen Airport in Abu Dhabi which will be capa-
of the new Airbus extra wide body airliner—is MAZ Aviation ble of accommodating up to three Lineage 1000s. “There is
in Saudi Arabia who has six on order and, of course, the great potential for the Lineage 1000 in the region, and that
world’s first A380 Prestige will be with Kingdom Holdings in is why we are investing so much in our maintenance facili-
Riyadh,” said Chazelle. Meanwhile, the Kuwait royal family ties in Abu Dhabi,” said Philip Markham, CEO of FAS.
are believed to be the launch customer for the new Boeing
747-800 VVIP jet when the type is built for 2011. ‘PURCHASERS HERE KNOW WHAT THEY WANT’
Another VIP aircraft to get its first delivery to a Middle There is also great demand for the ultra-long range large
East customer is the Embraer Lineage 1000. This is the flag- purpose-built business jets such as the Gulfstream 450

20 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

Soaring Sales
Defy Downturn
Despite the global recession
and falling oil prices, the region
By is expected to recover and will
Ruedi Kraft,
Regional Vice President, be part of the international FLY IN STYLE:
Gulfstream Aerospace expansion of business aviation (INSET) IN FLIGHT

he international market for Gulfstream Aerospace business jets has in- The G500—The large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G500, powered by two
creased dramatically over the past several years to the point where more Rolls-Royce BR710 engines, can fly 5,800 nautical miles with eight passengers
than 50 per cent of our orders are international. The Middle East is an at a cruising speed of Mach 0.80. The G500’s required takeoff distance is only
important part of that growth. Despite the global recession and falling oil prices, 5,150 feet. Owners of the Gulfstream G500 enjoy a wide range of cabin selec-
the region is expected to recover and will be part of the international expansion tions that include multiple layouts with configurations to accommodate 14 to
of business aviation. Proof of that is the growing presence of Gulfstream in the 18 passengers. Standard equipment and option packages combined with the
Middle East. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of Gulfstream aircraft regis- proven reliability, safety, comfort and performance offer an exceptional combina-
tered to operators in the region nearly doubled. The majority of that increase tion of features. On January 11, 2005, the G500 received validation from both
was in the large-cabin market. The appeal of large-cabin Gulfstream aircraft lies the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the Joint Aviation Authorities.
in their speed, range, safety and cabin amenities. The first G500 entered service in May 2004.
The G650—For instance, the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream The G450—The large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450 business jet, which
G650, powered by two of the new Rolls-Royce BR725 engines, offers the lon- was introduced at the 2003 National Business Aviation Association’s annual
gest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and the most-advanced cockpit in the meeting, is an entire aircraft upgrade of an already outstanding business jet,
Gulfstream fleet. It is capable of travelling 7,000 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach or the Gulfstream GIV/GIV-SP/G400. With the ability to accommodate 12 to 16 pas-
5,000 nautical miles at 0.90 Mach. Using an advanced aerodynamic design, the sengers, travel 4,350 nautical miles and cruise at speeds up to Mach 0.88,
G650 has a maximum operating speed of 0.925 Mach, which will make it the the G450 can handle domestic and international flights with ease. The G450
fastest civil aircraft flying. It can climb to a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet, is powered by upgraded Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C engines. Combined with aero-
allowing it to avoid airline-traffic congestion and adverse weather. The G650 dynamic and material improvements, its flight and performance characteristics
features the most technologically advanced PlaneViewTM II cockpit with a num- provide greater fuel efficiency and lower operating costs. The G450 features the
ber of enhancements, including four 14-inch, adaptive, liquid-crystal displays; PlaneView cockpit as well as Gulfstream EVS.
three standard PlaneBook computer tablets; a smaller pedestal; a standby mul- The G350—The large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G350 offers the most cabin
tifunction controller that combines current display controller functionality with volume, the best performance and the largest number of standard features
standby flight instruments; and a fully automatic, three-dimensional scanning compared to any aircraft in its class. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8C
weather radar with an integral terrain database for efficient ground-clutter elimi- engines, the G350 has the ability to accommodate 12 to 16 passengers, travel
nation. In addition, the G650 uses the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision System (EVS) a maximum of 3,800 nautical miles and cruise at speeds up to Mach 0.88.
II, the Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display and Head-Up Display. The aircraft Like the large-cabin, long-range Gulfstream G450, the G350 features the exclu-
offers a full three-axis fly-by-wire system that delivers flight-envelope protection, sive PlaneView cockpit. Available as optional equipment on the G350 are the
increased redundancy and reduced maintenance. next-generation Visual Guidance System, Honeywell Head-Up Display (HUD) and
The G550—The large-cabin, ultra-long-range Gulfstream G550 can fly up to Gulfstream EVS. In November 2004, the G350 received both a Type Certificate
51,000 ft at speeds up to Mach 0.885. Powered by two Rolls-Royce BR710 en- and a Production Certificate from the FAA. In addition, the G350 received EASA
gines, the G550 can fly eight passengers and four crew members 6,750 nautical validation on March 30, 2005.
miles. The G550’s standard equipment includes the Gulfstream EVS and the
Gulfstream Signature Cursor Control Devices. The fully equipped G550 offers a Office in the Sky
choice of cabin layouts and option packages. Customisation packages are also Additionally, our large-cabin Gulfstream aircraft offer many office amenities that
available. Depending on the configuration, the G550 can accommodate 14 to 18 make them ideal for Middle East operators. Broad Band Multi-Link (BBML),
passengers. Early 2004, the G550 team was awarded the 2003 Collier Trophy, which is available for Gulfstream G300, G350, G400, G450, G500, G550 and
the most prestigious award in aviation in North America. Gulfstream won the other large-cabin business jet aircraft, delivers Internet access via a broad band
award the second time in less than a decade. The G550 is the first civil aircraft data channel between the aircraft and the ground. Data speeds are up to 3.5
to receive a Type Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Mb per second. With BBML, a user can search the Internet, read and send e-
that includes an EVS as standard equipment. The aircraft also contained the mail, including large attachments, and eventually do video conferencing with
first cockpit to incorporate PlaneView, an integrated avionics suite featuring four voice and imaging over the Internet. Just open your wireless-equipped laptop
14-inch liquid crystal displays in landscape format. and you are up and running with BBML installed. SP

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 21

tion Excel, with excellent baggage

Undeniable Change,
space, an APU and regional range,
enabled Cessna to meet people’s
needs, while also offering low op-

Unbeatable Growth
erating costs. Another favourite of
the area was the Hawker 800 and,
now, more recently, the Citation
As time moved on and as eco-
The relatively low-cost business nomic activity grew, so did the need

jet travel has a lot of promise for travel. Business aviation began
to prosper outside of Saudi Arabia,

By Trevor Esling, for a certain section of the notably in Egypt and the UAE. We
also began to see progressive sales
Vice President, business community in the in the north African Arabic-speaking
International Sales, states, such as Libya, Algeria and
Cessna Aircraft Company Gulf region and beyond Morocco. So what do we find in
2009? It’s a market that, in common
with others worldwide, has been hit

he Middle East market for business jets has seen a substantial change by recession to some extent. Certainly, the charter operators have had a
over the last 10 to 15 years—both in terms of the types of business jet difficult time. The Dubai Air Show due to be held in November this year will
product that the market has absorbed and in transformational develop- be a good test of the current state of the industry in the area. However, my
ments in the broader economy of the Middle East. expectation is that, after this hiatus, the market will continue to grow, and
Late 1980s and early 1990s, the area was dominated by Saudi Arabia, although a preference for wide-bodied longer range business jets will remain,
and indeed to this day Saudi Arabia remains the predominant economy in mid-size aircraft will continue to grow in importance.
the area, followed by Egypt and Israel, although for political reasons the The traditional light jet market remains small in the region. My personal
latter remains a point of discussion and politics rather than an overt trading view is that the light jet market will slowly develop, as it has in other markets
partner. Moreover, as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) where similar ‘top-down’ growth in business aviation has taken place, such
economies began to expand, there was a progressive freeing up of markets as Russia. The GCC area is, in my view, ripe for smaller business jets, be they
and a slow development of business and trade which, towards the end of Cessna or Embraer (although the former is, of course, always welcome!). While
the 20th century, was picking up pace rapidly. While the events of 9/11 and the lack of an APU is a problem, I believe relatively low-cost business jet
the subsequent invasion of Iraq proved to be a handicap to growth, at least travel has a lot of promise for a certain section of the business community in
initially, the Middle East again prospered on the back of a rapid escalation the GCC region and beyond. Over the next five to 10 years, I believe this light
in the price of the oil as the world economy boomed on the back of cheap jet market will grow substantially,
credit and globalisation, and new consumers of their products, notably India as will the mid-size, although for
and China, began to become even more significant consumers of oil. Indeed, a variety of reasons I still believe
in some respects, after 9/11 the Middle East acquired a certain sense of intro- the wide-cabin aircraft will lead
spection, which was a spur to intra-Arabian trade and development and use the market.
of business jets to facilitate business travel in the area. The new confidence of Facilities and infrastruc-
the Middle East and the Pan-Arabic identity, despite many challenging issues, ture will continue to improve.
is probably best symbolised by the TV network Al-Jazeera. Governments will continue to
What did all this mean for the business jet market in the area? Previously, ease regulation and provide for
the business jet market was structured almost exclusively around Saudi Ara- greater freedom of movement,
bia and its various organs of government or very high net worth individuals. adding an important element to
The picture was similar for the other major economies in the area, although business jets’ attractiveness. Cer-
on an even smaller scale. Facilities for business aviation were, therefore, tainly, the world’s reliance on oil
sparse and regulation was tight and not favourable to private companies, in the short to medium term will
especially in the role of charter services. In terms of aircraft types, wide-body not abate. Why else would Saudi
and long-range aircraft prospered. As a generalisation, as long as the aircraft Arabia have recently invested
was big and could fly non-stop from the Middle East to London or Paris, that around $100 billion (Rs 4,69,600
was fine. Another essential requirement was an auxiliary power unit (APU) to crore) in upgrading its oil-produc-
allow air-conditioning at all times and baggage space to swallow the infamous ing capacity from eight million to
‘Saudi bags’! 12 million barrels a day? Strong
From the mid-1990s, as governments in the Middle East slowly loosened economies, the modernisation
their hold over air space and aircraft operation, a number of companies be- of political and regulatory frameworks, and easing of regulation mean that
gan to enter the nascent charter market. Again, wide-cabin was the interior aviation will grow and be an increasingly important part of the Middle East’s
of choice. An increasingly visible private business and high net worth sector economy. Were Iran, Iraq and Syria to assume a fuller role in the region’s econ-
began to look at private aircraft. Not all required a 747 or Boeing Business omy, then the region would really soar. If one considers trade as a method of
Jet to fly between Riyadh and Jeddah. Through a slow process of education, introducing prosperity, understanding and peace between nations, then it is
people began to realise that smaller aircraft could be used to conduct busi- to be hoped that business aviation in the Middle East will play an increasingly
ness just as effectively in the Middle East. The advent of the mid-size Cita- crucial role for the future peaceful development of the area. SP

22 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

and 550 and the Bom- LARGEST OPERATOR
bardier Global Express OF BOEING BUSINESS
XR and the Global INSIDE A BBJ
5000. “Purchasers in
the Middle East know
what they want,” said
Ray Jones, head of international sales for Ca-
nadian manufacturer Bombardier. “The air-
craft need to have the capacity to take staff
and are used for a mix of business and leisure two Citation Sovereigns certified for medical evacuation
and so many take families, too. You need the space to be (medevac) with a dual-patient system from LifePort. The
able to differentiate in the cabins.” two medevac Sovereigns are part of a six-aircraft order
Bombardier has been working hard to introduce the Chal- from Smart. Smart Aviation, based in Cairo, is one of Egypt’s
lenger 850 to the region. Based on the airframe of the Cana- leading charter companies with operations throughout the
dair Regional Jet, the CRJ200, the cabin Middle East, Africa and Europe. The
is virtually the same as the Global Ex- medevac mission will be in addition
press. It doesn’t have the 13-hour 4,800 to Smart’s regular VIP charter ser-
nm (8,900 km) range of the Bombardier vice. “The Citation Sovereign is the
flagship but for shorter missions—and THERE WILL ALWAYS BE perfect platform for our various op-
they are far more common—it is ideal. A MARKET FOR PREMIUM erations, giving us the range, cabin
Jones is facing strong competition space and operational performance
from former Bombardier colleagues JET SERVICES, ESPECIALLY we need for our customers,” said
who have developed a company IN SAUDI ARABIA. OUR General (Retd) Sameh Anwar, Chief
making their own conversion of the Operating Officer for Smart. “The
CRJ200, called Project Phoenix. Phoe- combination of the Sovereign cabin
nix is headquartered in Dubai and THE UPMARKET SEGMENT, and the LifePort will give us an unri-
during the summer had the first flight WHICH HAS MAINTAINED valled capability.”
and subsequent delivery to an Asian Hawker Beechcraft (HBC) has
customer of the first aircraft. “This is also been growing interest in the re-
an ideal aircraft for the Middle Eastern LIQUIDITY AND WILL NEVER gion Dubai’s Empire Aviation Group
and Asian markets,” says Mike Cappuc- COMPROMISE ON THE (EAG), became the first aircraft op-
citti, the company’s President. erator in the GCC to take delivery of
LUXURIOUS STANDARDS the latest HBC jet—the Hawker 4000.
Further down the business jet food THAT THEY HAVE BEEN the first business jet made from ad-
chain there remain strong signs of life vanced, sophisticated composite ma-
with Cessna recording significant sales ACCUSTOMED TO. terials and offers significantly lower
across the region for their larger busi- —BRIGADIER (RETD) operating costs to owners. The new,
ness jets, such as the Citation X and the GENERAL MOHAMED AL eight-seater, twin-engine Hawker
Citation Sovereign. 4000 was acquired from the manu-
The growth in demand for business SHABLAN, PRESIDENT & facturer following the sale by EAG to
jets for medical evacuation flights has CEO, ARABASCO an owner in the region and will be
proved a boon to Cessna. Egypt’s Smart managed by EAG, as well as offered
Aviation has taken delivery of the first for charter. A further two Hawker

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 23

4000 aircraft sales have already been of which are available for charter)
completed by EAG for delivery to the with another two to three aircraft
region in 2009-2010. expected to join the fleet before end-
Originally known as the Hawker 2009, subject to delivery.
Horizon, the Hawker 4000 took years
to certificate because of its ambitious RAPID AEROSPACE DEVELOPMENT
development of using a fuselage con- Among the smaller aircraft, there are
structed from advanced composite even more interesting developments
materials. This reduces the weight of for the Middle East region. Increasing-
the aircraft, increases performance ly Arab investment houses are playing
and significantly reduces the oper- a major part in supporting aerospace
ating costs. The composite material development. Dubai investment com-
does not corrode or fatigue, and is pany Emivest now owns the former
stronger and lighter than aircraft Sino Swearingen business, and as a
fabricated from metals, resulting in result in October delivered the first MIDDLE EAST KNOW
lower costs and higher performance. wholly branded Emivest SJ30 busi- WHAT THEY WANT. THE
It cruises at 514 mph at an altitude of ness jet to a US owner. The Emivest
45,000 ft, with a range of 3,280 nau- Aerospace Corporation’s SJ30 busi-

Dhabi’s Mubadala has taken
a major interest in the previ-
ously Ferrari owned Piaggio
Aviation. In partnership with
India’s Tata holdings, the Abu
Dhabi investment is support-
ing development of the beau-
tiful twin-pusher and the cre-
LURE OF THE LUCRE: ation of a new jet version. “The
BOMBARDIER HAS involvement of Mubadala and
BEEN WORKING HARD the Chairman has made a big
tical miles, which puts CHALLENGER 850 TO ness jet is the light difference,” said CEO Alberto Galassi.
within direct reach from THE REGION jet with a range of “We have been able to understand
Dubai, for example, des- 2,500 nautical miles much more about the demands of the
tinations such as Paris, and the highest cruise customers in the Middle East and ex-
Singapore, Geneva, and speed in the light jet pect to see the aircraft much more in
Mauritius; with London industry of Mach .83 the region.”
accessible direct from Jeddah and (486 kt). This single pilot certified jet So, while sales have hammered the
Riyadh. The new aircraft joins EAG’s operates at altitudes to 49,000 ft and business jet sector across the world,
mixed fleet of business jets, one of the maintains a “Sea Level Cabin” through the Middle East remains an oasis of
largest managed fleets in the region 41,000 ft (12 psi differential). hope that will lead the industry back
which now comprises 13 aircraft (10 In the turboprop market, Abu to recovery. SP

24 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009


despite the

The National Business Aviation Association
convention meets expectations despite initial
apprehensions of a no-show under the
ominous shadow of the economic downturn

ORKING FROM By LeRoy Cook, Orlando, 84 per cent of 2008’s hall space, 91
THE HYPOTHESIS Florida, USA per cent were returnees, by NBAA
that it could have reckoning. Still, some companies
been much worse, scaled back their exhibits, others
the 2009 convention opted to work from flight line dis-
and trade show of plays and several regular exhibitors
the National Business Aviation Associa- sat out the show entirely. The pau-
tion (NBAA), held in Orlando, Florida in city of new product announcements
October was a successful event. Expectations of a lacklustre merely reflected the overall mood.
show had been prevalent during the months leading up to Even with the curtailments, the 62nd annual NBAA meeting
the event, due to the economic downturn. New aircraft manu- was a large, grand affair. A total of 22,920 registrants attended,
facturing had been severely curtailed in the past year, used down from 30,811 last year, and the static display was chock-
aircraft prices were depressed across the board, many flight a-block with nearly 100 aircraft as large as Boeing 737s. The
departments had been dissolved and utilisation of business Showalter Flying Service ramp at Orlando’s Executive airport
aircraft was keeping pace with the sluggish economy. All in all, was once again the static display venue. KORL is a well-run
everyone was expecting a bleak show. Class D general aviation facility that is free of airline traffic.

However, attendance was only off by about 25 per cent Activities at NBAA included seminars for operations and
from the 2008 total and there were glimmers of hope that the management, addressing specific issues common to companies
world’s economy was reviving. Galvanised by a joint NBAA that might not have occasion for contact during the rest of the
and General Aviation Manufacturers Association “No Plane, year. Outfitting and maintenance firms were eager to discuss
No Gain” advertising campaign, the industry’s corporate pilots, ways to keep an existing aircraft in service for the near term,
owners and flight department managers were eager to assem- avionics suppliers touted the worth of their wares, and modifi-
ble, shop and share information. cation purveyors offered the benefit of upgrading older planes
instead of buying new ones.
The huge Orange County Convention Center exhibit hall in GARMIN PRESSES ON
Orlando had much unsold and unoccupied space signs of As we said, new announcements were few and far between,
the distressed industry. Of the 1,075 exhibitors, who took but Garmin International, always at the cutting edge of avi-

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 25

onics and electronic instrumentation, lit- NBAA SCHOLARSHIP AWARDS; CESSNA CUTS BACK
erally “pressed on” by announcing its new MODEL OF ITS ALREADY-FLYING Like Piper, Cessna Aircraft did not display
glass cockpit for small turbine airplanes; LEGACY 650 AIRLINER-DERIVED at the display hall, but concentrated its ef-
the G3000 system replaces twisting knobs BUSINESS JET; forts on an expanded presence at the static
with touch screens to control its integrated TRADE SHOW
display on Orlando Executive airport, a 30-
functions. Much like the iPhone, mode and minute drive from the indoor exhibits and
function selection is controlled by tapping seminars. All seven models of the Citation
and scrolling across handpads, using a jet line were made available, including one
proprietary infrared technology. So-called of the first Citation Xs fitted with Winglet
“soft keys” remain on the lower bezel of the displays to ad- Technology elliptical winglets. Of the single-engine propeller
dress needs for that particular screen, but primary control line, only the turboprop Caravan and high-tech Corvalis were
of the system is based on the GTC 570 central keypads. shown. A Citation CJ4 test aircraft was flown to the show to
The G3000 (a G2000 was evidently passed over) is de- join the static display for one day; certification is expected
signed for original equipment manufacture, not retrofitting, by year’s end or early-2010. Jack Pelton, company President,
because its worth lies in the integration of all avionics and said the CJ4’s performance figures are well above target.
instrumentation in the aircraft. Bits of data are shared among As for the cancelled Columbus large-cabin jet programme,
navigation, autopilot, engine and flight path requirements. Pelton said he prefers to consider the aircraft “suspended”
The first two launch customers jumping on the G3000 band- rather than entirely called off, leaving open the speculation that
wagon at NBAA were Piper and Honda, who hope to enhance it might be revived in better times. However, to cope with the
their in-development PiperJet and Honda Jet aircraft with the current sales drought, Cessna’s employment has been slashed
newest panel around. in half and production lines halted or slowed to a crawl.

Piper CEO Kevin J. Gould revealed plans to increase pro- Beechcraft Hawker, likewise, limited its NBAA presence to the
duction for 2010 (considering 2009’s abysmal numbers, airport display, showing the King Air turboprop line, Premier
that won’t be difficult), extend the product line and con- 1A and Hawker jet series, with follow-on airplanes like the
tinue development of the PiperJet single-engine light jet, Hawker 450 (a re-engined Beechjet 400) and the Premier 2
for which first deliveries are anticipated in 2013. Gould being kept on hold pending economic recovery. Beechcraft
once again raised an old spectre of product liability insur- also showed a “Missionator” multi-mission version of the
ance costs, which he says have doubled in the past four 1900D twin turboprop, which could be configured for medical
years, not just for Piper but other companies as well. He evacuation, charter, light cargo or other multi-role purposes.
vows “I intend to get to the bottom of it”, insisting that he At the other end of the convertible-EMS spectrum, Boeing
sees no loss history or change in exposure to account for Business Jet exhibited a BBJ-C, a 737-700 with a huge cargo
the premiums increase. door in the forward cabin to facilitate loading of medical, cargo
Company President John D. Becker brought us up to date and industrial paraphernalia. Airbus Corporate Jets showed a
on the PiperJet, which had made 160 flights totaling over newly-completed Comlux A318 Elite corporate carrier.
230 hours. Maximum speed attained thus far is 353 knots Dornier showed its venerable SeaStar 12-passenger twin-
TAS, making the target of 360 knots easily within reach as turboprop composite-construction amphibian, which is tar-
soon as aerodynamic cleanup is done. The adjustable engine geted for developing countries in water-rich areas. Using the
exhaust nozzle used to counter the asymmetric thrust line venerable Dornier push-pull overwing nacelle and sponson
from the Williams fanjet above the fuselage has performed displacement, the flying boat is capable of handling 2.5-foot
flawlessly, according to Becker. The EXACT (exhaust angle swells. Production is slated for a Canadian location, with com-
control technology) system was developed by Williams and pany headquarters in Florida.
Piper, obviating any need for an adjustable horizontal stabi- Embraer unveiled a new model of its already-flying Legacy
lizer. Piper also revealed some interior details for the Piper- 650 airliner-derived business jet. The new 650 will combine
Jet, which will feature a stylised instrument panel for the the ERJ135 fuselage with an ERJ145 wing, with a stronger
three GTC 570 Garmin G3000 displays. glass windshield and increased fuel capacity. Meanwhile, the

26 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

Phenom 100 and 300 light jets were also on display. of the storm is over. Pilatus’ PC-12NG big-single turboprop will
Outgrowths of composite-construction kit aircraft, the be receiving a new trackball cursor control device to better
Farnborough F1 Kestrel and Comp Air 9 and 12 airplanes were manage the Primus Apex glass cockpit introduced last year.
in the static display. The Kestrel prototype was built under
contract for Farnborough Aircraft Limited by the now-defunct LBA MEETINGS ARE NOW CO-SPONSORED
Epic Aircraft, which had proposed a line of turboprop and jet Recognising that the greatest percentage of business flying
kit planes, and will now seek certification with improvements is done in propeller-driven airplanes, NBAA is continuing to
as the Kestrel. The successful Comp Air line is well established develop a Light Business Aircraft (LBA) constituency, partner-
in kit form, and certification plans for the Honeywell-TPE331- ing with owner organisation Aircraft Owners and Pilots Asso-
powered pressurised Comp Air 12 are pending. ciation to co-host LBA conferences at the 2010 conventions of
Daher-Socata exhibited its TBM850 Very Fast Turboprop, both groups. NBAA’s 63rd Annual meeting will be held in At-
now past 500 units delivered, and remained open to a fol- lanta, Georgia, USA, from October 19 to 21 next year.
low-on twin-engine aircraft, which will offer performance im- Assuming unfettered recovery by a free economy, one
provements over the TBM850. However, it remains unclear can expect business flying to resume its role as a vital fa-
whether the Super Socata will be powered by turboprop or jet cilitator of corporate growth. European regulators have un-
engines, and the market must be ready. wisely chosen to hobble business aviation with an Emission
Piaggio Aero’s CEO Alberto Galassi reports that the P.180 Trading Scheme for supposed carbon pollutants, a move
Avanti II is enjoying continued success. The company is now that does little beyond creating paperwork and taxation.
one-third owned by the Tata Group, along with Italian and Meanwhile, the American Transportation Security Adminis-
Abu Dhabi interests, with a healthy backlog of 70-plus orders. tration has attempted to impose airline-style badging, vet-
A new plant is scheduled to open in 2011 in Italy. Some 29 ting and baggage screening on private aviation, expanding
P.180s will be built in 2009, nearly matching 2008 production. Transportation Security Administration’s mission to grow
When conditions are favourable, there will be a follow-on jet its bureaucracy. For the immediate moment, however,
from Piaggio, to be partially built by Tata. NBAA is engaged in an effort to fight off the effects of a
Bombardier is proceeding with the Learjet 85 all-compos- recent political witch-hunt in the US that labeled business
ite mid-size business jet, to be built in Mexico and assembled aircraft as pointless luxuries.
in Wichita. The plague of order cancellations and defaults has All eyes are trained on the business aviation industry
hit the Learjet and Challenger lines hard, but optimism seemed and its important role in the economy. From the bottom of
to be the order of the day, under the assumption that the worst a steep decline, all paths lead upward. SP

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IndoPacific Half Page AD.indd 1 10/30/09 12:31:56 PM
Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 27

The F16-IN meets and exceeds all radii of action
and loiter-time requirements of the MMRCA, ensuring
that you can put any enemy target ‘at risk’

STRIKE FIGHTER IS A COMBAT AIRCRAFT that is Control of the agile F-16IN Super Viper is with your right
capable of attacking targets both in the air and on the hand on the side-stick controller. There is no stick in the
ground, with equal efficiency and effect. India’s Medi- middle of the cockpit blocking your view of the displays.
um Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender calls Each of the three main 12.7x17.8 cm full-colour displays is
for a strike fighter to replace older generation aircraft and en- fully programmable, reflecting selections you made during
hance the combat potential of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The your mission planning. For every system, weapon or sensor,
F-16IN Super Viper meets and even exceeds the challenging there is a preset mode of your choosing. Vital for today’s
strike fighter requirements, delivered within a timely, low-risk attack is the all-in-one Tactical Situation Display (TSD) you
programme tuned for India’s defence industry. The Super Vi- have configured on the centre display.
per is the ultimate Fourth Generation fighter, combining ad- After take off, you settle into a seat optimised for close
vanced Fifth Generation capabilities with its combat proven combat and concentrate on the mission. The mission will be
performance, reliability and maintainability. flown at low altitude—too low for aerial refuelling—but the
Imagine yourself preparing to lead a strike fighter mis- high fuel-to-weight ratio of the F-16IN design provides plenty
sion. Your target: a weapon depot deep inside enemy terri- of range to fly your mission and navigate through any un-
tory. The F-16IN meets and exceeds all radii of action and foreseen diversions. As you penetrate enemy airspace, you
loiter-time requirements of the MMRCA, ensuring that you are flying at 30 metres above the ground, on auto pilot, using
can put any enemy target ‘at risk’. Learning that the target is terrain following radar backed up by a passive digital terrain
guarded by modern surface and air threats, you commence database. Nap of the Earth flight at 900 km per hour!
preparations with the help of your computer-based Mission
Planning System with the confidence that the F-16IN Super ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THREATS
Viper, custom designed for the IAF and its missions, is the The Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar scans
fighter for any challenge. All the data is there at your finger the flight corridor in front of you to detect terrain and obsta-
tips to optimise the mission. cles, like radio masts, that may not have been in your pre-mis-
sion database. While conducting terrain following, the AESA
ATTACK & DESTROY TARGET radar is also scanning the sky for threats. Viewing your TSD,
Using a predicted Electronic Order of Battle (EOB), digital you see contacts orbiting over an enemy air base. Exchange
maps of the terrain and key intelligence data, you deter- of data link symbols lets you confirm the other fighters in
mine the route to and from the target. Your mission data is your strike mission have also detected the contacts.
shared across a network with the other aircraft in the mis- Soon you encounter the first of the enemy defence con-
sion and soon all routes for the multiple fighters in the strike centrations. You see the pre-mission threat locations on the
package are optimised and coordinated. Synthetic imagery TSD in yellow with rings indicating their lethal range. Your
and maps, predicting what each pilot expects to encounter planned flight route weaves in, around and through them.
during the mission, are created and reviewed. Now it is time Your digital integrated Electronic Warfare System is listen-
to embark on the mission. ing for any enemy radar or laser emissions, programmed
Pre-flight preparation of the F-16IN Super Viper is rapid- especially for this mission and these threats. The noise in

ly accomplished, even though your strike fighters configured your headset alerts you. A Surface-to-Air Missile battery
with two precision-guided stand-off weapons, a full set of has activated its radar, attempting to lock-on to your strike
close-in and beyond visual range air-to-air missiles for self- fighter. The radar cross section of your Super Viper is small,
defence and external fuel tanks. All weapons and pre-flight hence, it is extremely difficult for the threat to track your
gauges are easy to inspect on the ground and there is no strike fighter flying low and ‘in the clutter’. SP
need for maintenance ladders or stands. The mission plan-
ning data you have prepared is automatically loaded into (To be continued.)
the advanced mission computer via the cockpit receptacle. —By Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey, Bangalore

28 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009


Boeing and F/A-18E/F
Super Hornet partners
reiterate the fighter
aircraft’s suitability
for the IAF’s MMRCA
IN EVERY SENSE requirements

AJOR FACTORS THAT MAKE THE F/A-18E/F Super the best offer in the competition.” Chadwick further points out:
Hornet competitive are the economies of scale ac- “Ours is not an aircraft—it is an integrated weapon system.”
crued from two key aspects. First is the aircraft and Coleman informed that “Raytheon provided the first AESA
its major subsystems, which are active production (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar sets to both the
lines and hence have USAF (US Air Force)
steadily reduced the unit and USN (US Navy)”,
cost of the aircraft. Sec- and the company
ond, the modular nature continues to lever-
of the aircraft’s sensors age technological im-
and propulsion system provements across
allow technology inser- its product lines in
tion that dramatically improving the Super
increases performance Hornet’s AN/APG-79
at minimal expense. At radar. As for compe-
a media briefing in Delhi tition from European
on October 28, Boeing contenders, like Eu-
and its Super Hornet rofighter and Ra-
partners—Raytheon and fale believed to be a
General Electric (GE)— generation ahead of
reiterated the fighter air- other programmes,
craft’s suitability for the Program Director of
Indian Air Force’s (IAF) F/A-18 International
Medium Multi Role Com- Operations Michael
bat Aircraft (MMRCA) E. Rietz struck an op-
programme. SUPER HORNET TEAM: (LEFT TO RIGHT) timistic note. “Euro-
on Boeing’s response PROGRAM DIRECTOR OF F/A-18 INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS MICHAEL E. RIETZ; originally as an air in-
to expectations vis-à-vis DIRECTOR, ASIA BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OF RAYTHEON SPACE AND AIRBORNE tercept fighter. The de-
gree by which you can
IDS President Christo- fighter and evolve it
pher M. Chadwick said, into a true multi-role
“Technology transfer is a aircraft... I’ll let the
key element of any partner company or for any competition IAF decide on the practical implications of it. So far as Dassault
where you have international competitors, where you have an Rafale is considered, every aircraft has pluses and minuses.
air force and an industry which wants to have the state of the Rafale, for whatever reason, has failed in every international
art equipment or 21st century warfare equipment. We have competition. I look forward to compete against any European
worked with our government and determined what state-of- country or company.”

the-art technology we can provide and partner with Indian The F-18 is also competing with the F-16, yet another
industry, and are now in the process to move them forward to contender from the US. “The history of the F/A-18E/F’s de-
put in place the mechanisms to transfer that technology.” velopment has now seen a negative slope in terms of cost
Glenn Coleman, Director, Asia Business Development of and a positive slope in terms of capability. For this reason,
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which is making the we feel for the first time we are competing on even terms
radar for the aircraft, emphasised: “The F-18 aircraft was de- with the (Lockheed Martin’s) F-16 in terms of price,” Chad-
signed for growth and growth was designed at inception. Su- wick signs off. SP
per Hornet was designed with this radar in mind. It can’t fly —By Our Correspondent
the radar in isolation. This radar, too, was designed with this
aircraft in mind. Should India select the Super Hornet it will be For videos visit

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 29

for ALL reasons

picted as a demi-god—a mythical being, half man
Apart from protecting
and half eagle—swift, with tremendous power and
Lord Vishnu’s vahan (carrier). Appropriately, ow-
the IAF’s vulnerable
ing to its attributes, Garud is also the nomencla- infrastructure
ture of the recently raised Special Forces Unit of
the Indian Air Force (IAF). Himalayan Eagle adorns the IAF and installations,
insignia. Like the Indian Army commandos and the Indian
Navy’s MARCOS (Marine Commandos), Garuds form the
Garuds engage in
IAF’s commando force albeit, arguably, with much greater counter-terrorism,
multi-tasking capabilities than the other two.
The genesis of the IAF commando force lies in the dar- hostage rescue,
ing attempts by Pakistan-sponsored and trained terrorist
outfits against two major air bases in Jammu and Kashmir providing aid during
in late 2001. Even though the attacks, aimed at the main natural calamities
and special military
entrances to these bases, were successfully repulsed and
the terrorists eliminated, a need was felt for a specialised
force to protect the IAF’s vital and vulnerable assets. While
the Indian Army safeguarded selected IAF airfields, espe- operations in the
cially the ones located in terror-intense areas, its units were
always moved out on rotation, necessitating repeat of train-
national interest
ing for the newly inducted units. Therefore, for certain dedi-
cated air force tasks, the IAF decided to raise an exclusive
commando force. By Air Marshal (Retd)
Initial plans mooted in early 2002 called for a spe- V.K. Bhatia
cialised force with 2,000 commandos. The group, original-


30 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

ly christened ‘Tiger Force’, was later renamed ‘Garud Force’. Flight Lieutenant. The flights are individually based at various
About a year later, in 2003, the Government of India autho- Air Force Stations, where they are operationally deployed.
rised a 1,080 strong force to be raised and trained on the lines Garuds are not limited to being a base protection force
of para-commandos of the army and MARCOS of the navy to safeguard airfields and IAF’s key assets which tasks are
but, with the additional mandate of performing niche air force by and large performed by the Air Force Police and person-
specific operational tasks. Consequently, the first batch of 100 nel from the Defence Security Corps. Specially trained Garuds
volunteers from the IAF No. 1 Airmen Training Centre at Bel- operate more on the lines of the army’s para-commandos and
gaum in Karnataka was earmarked to undergo commando the navy’s MARCOS to undertake missions anywhere, includ-
training in Gurgaon in Haryana. The Garud Force came into ing behind enemy lines. However, even though trained to per-
being on February 6, 2004 in Delhi with 62 out of the initial form diverse and high-risk tasks, their role generally remains
100 volunteers successfully completing the course curriculum. specific to the air force, including security of vital IAF installa-
The Garuds were first seen publicly during the Air Force Day tions in the vulnerable border areas.
celebrations at Delhi on October 8, 2004. During peacetime, apart from protecting the IAF’s vul-
nerable infrastructure and installations from possible ter-
TRAINING THE GARUDS rorist attacks, Garuds contribute towards counter-terrorism,
Unlike its counterparts in the army and navy, officer candi- hostage rescue, providing aid during natural calamities and
dates for Garud commandos are selected from volunteers of special military operations. During hostilities, Garuds are also
other branches. Recruitment of airmen to the Garud Force involved in combat search and rescue, suppression of enemy
is done directly through Airmen Selection
Centres. Candidates found eligible for the
force undergo a 52-week basic training
course, which is one of the longest among
all the Indian Special Forces because it also
includes basic airman training.
The initial phase is a three-month pro-
bationary, mainly rigorous physical train-
ing, which filters out the promising candi-
dates for the next higher phase. The initial
phase, which usually has a high attrition
rate, is conducted at the Garud Regimental
Training Centre located at Air Force Sta-
tion, Chandinagar, District Bagpat, Uttar
Pradesh. The subsequent phase of special
operations training is imparted with assis-
tance from the special group of the Special
Frontier Force, the Indian Army, the Na-
tional Security Group and the para-military RARING TO GO:
forces. The IAF, however, is on the thresh- GARUDS SPORTING
old of establishing its own advanced train- NIGHT VISION
ing facilities. Those who qualify, proceed to the Parachute GARUDS PREPARE air defences, including ground radar
Training School at Agra to complete the basic airborne FOR A PARA-JUMP busting in enemy’s border areas, target
operations phase. The remainder of the phases consists of FROM AN IL-76 acquisition and designation for aerial
other niche fields such as jungle and snow survival, bomb strikes and so on.
demolition, and so on. Equipment and Weapons: All Garuds
Garuds also train with the Army’s Counter Insurgency sport the 9mm pistol as personal arm.
and Jungle Warfare School. The final phase of training They are also equipped with the in-
consists of active operations on being attached to operationally digenous INSAS rifles and advanced AK-47 Kalashnikovs.
deployed Special Forces Units of the Indian Army, which helps They are being provided with special sniper rifles, armoured
the Garuds to gain firsthand operational experience. After in- personnel carriers, special kits for bomb/IED disposal and
duction, the Garuds are required to hone their skills further by special equipment for self-protection.
undergoing advanced training, including specialised weapons Operational Experience: Though barely a few years old, Ga-
handling. A few selected Garuds have also undergone training ruds have already won operational spurs with deployments
in foreign countries like the US, and so on. to Congo as part of the Indian UN peace keeping contingents.
Recently, on the sidelines of the Air Force Day Parade on Octo-
PRESENT STATUS & TASKS ber 8, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik indicated the possible use of
Aspiring to be a 1,500-strong force, at present there are armed Garuds to man IAF helicopters engaged in anti-Maoist
around 1,080 Garuds. Garud air warriors are inducted as air- operations to ward off any naxal attack on them. Garuds could
men within the IAF’s rank structure. The force is organised assist the local police and para-military forces in securing/sa-
into 15 ‘Flights’. A Garud flight is roughly the equivalent of a nitising the helipads and landing/drop zones in naxal infected
‘Company’ in an infantry battalion of the Indian Army and is areas as also fire back in self-defence, if required. SP
commanded by ay an officer of the rank of Squadron Leader/ With inputs from Air Headquarters

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 31

Life begins at
By Group Captain (Retd)
Joseph Noronha, Goa

craft should blast off for a rendezvous with
Mars. The Indian Space Research Organisation
(ISRO), buoyed by a string of recent successes,
is evaluating launch opportunities for a low-
cost voyage to the ‘red planet’. Only the fool-
hardy would be willing to bet on its failure.
ISRO turned 40 in August.
Following the success of
Chandrayaan-I, it is now
eyeing the Moon. If the
government agrees to
foot the bill, an Indian

It wasn’t always so. In the 1960s and 1970s, at the height
of the space race between the Americans and the Russians, astronaut could walk on
the former had dismissed India’s nascent space programme
as inconsequential. A series of early disasters seemed to bear the surface of our nearest
them out. Like a raw gymnast who frequently stumbles, ISRO
could do almost nothing right. But building on each failure
heavenly neighbour as
with unwavering confidence it has reached a stage where, early as 2020.
32 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

ISRO’s first major foray into space was via the
Satellite Launch Vehicle, a light launcher. First
flown in 1979, it was intended to reach a height of
500 km and carry a tiny payload of 40 kg. Only two
of its four test flights were successful. Its successor,
the Augmented Satellite Launch Vehicle (ASLV),
first tested in 1987, hardly fared better. Its first two
launches were failures and some began to wonder
if the Americans were right after all. However, an
expert committee thoroughly reviewed every as-
pect of ASLV and many changes were made. The
next two flights were flawless. On hindsight, ASLV’s
steep learning curve was perhaps responsible for
ISRO’s subsequent successes.
Next in the series, and more powerful than
ASLV, was the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).
Its first launch in September 1993 failed, but ISRO
was unfazed. Subsequently, PSLV has proved its re-
liability and versatility
through an amazing
15 consecutive suc-
cessful launches, put-
REACH FOR THE MOON: PSLV-C11 ting 30 satellites (14
DOWN IN HISTORY FOR LAUNCHING Indian and 16 foreign)
INDIA’S FIRST MOON MISSION, into a variety of orbits.
CHANDRAYAAN-I, ON OCTOBER 22, In April 2008, it suc-
THE LAUNCH PAD cessfully launched 10
satellites at one shot,
breaking a world re-
cord earlier held by
Russia. PSLV-C11 will
go down in history for launching India’s first Moon
mission, Chandrayaan-I, on October 22, 2008. It
used larger strap-on motors to achieve higher pay-
load capability. Apart from an orbital study of the
Moon, Chandrayaan-I delivered the Tricolour on its
surface. According to ISRO, it also validated many
important principles of interplanetary travel.
The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Ve-
hicle (GSLV) first flew in April 2001. At pres-
ent, it is ISRO’s heaviest launch vehicle, capable
of putting a payload of 2,500 kg into geo-syn-
chronous transfer orbit. December should see
seemingly, it can do nothing wrong. Spectacular successes the first flight of an indigenous cryogenic engine powered
are now taken for granted and occasional flops accepted as GSLV—a crucial milestone. GSLV Mk-III, currently under
inevitable hazards of the high-stakes space game. And the development, is designed to make ISRO fully self-reliant in
world is sitting up and taking notice. ISRO has been hailed launching heavy satellites weighing 4,500 kg to 5,000 kg. Its
globally for its contribution to the recent discovery of water maiden flight is expected by 2011.
on the Moon. In another sign of recognition, ISRO’s former
Chairman, Dr G. Madhavan Nair, took over as President of WHAT MAKES ISRO TICK?
the International Academy of Astronautics on October 11. In a country where most government departments are synony-
mous with corruption, waste and inefficiency, ISRO’s excellence
FAILURE BREEDS SUCCESS is remarkable. Enjoying support across the political spectrum
ISRO turned 40 in August. In its early years, India’s space and freedom rare for a government agency, it has been able
programme was limited to launching sounding rockets of to develop a flexible management and administrative style. It
uncertain performance. Then, on August 15, 1969, ISRO learns from each failure. And there have been many. ISRO was
was formed, bringing all space activities under a single um- prevented from accessing western technology for decades, yet
brella. Dr Vikram Sarabhai was its first chief. Within a few it turned adversity into advantage and crippling sanctions into
years, ISRO painstakingly established several research, test, successful indigenisation. Though the space programme was
construction and launch, and tracking and control facilities delayed by several years, engineers triumphed in developing
across the country. many critical technologies with little or no outside help.

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 33

ISRO has its critics. Considering that a large proportion of interact with oxygen on the lunar surface to produce water.
the population live below the poverty line, India’s space pro- Considering that the cost of transporting one bottle of water
gramme may be considered wasteful extravagance. However, from Earth to Moon works out to $50,000 (Rs 24 lakh), the
as ISRO has repeatedly shown, predicting monsoon rains, fore- discovery of water is indeed exciting. And it would come in
casting crop yields and forewarning the government of possible useful if India were to establish a permanent research sta-
food shortages is critical for the country’s development. Pro- tion on the Moon—another of ISRO’s dreams.
ducing topographical and hydrological maps from satellite im- If Indians reach the Moon, they could find it crowded.
ages helps rural communities locate areas most likely to yield China plans a 2012 unmanned landing on the Moon, where
underground water. Consequently, the success rate for drilling it hopes to put an astronaut by 2020. Russia has set 2025
wells has doubled to 90 per cent and an estimated $100 mil- for a Moon mission, while Japan also has lunar ambitions.
lion (Rs 470 crore) has been saved. The same information can NASA also plans to return to the Moon with its Orion-Al-
be used to plan where to build small dams to capture rainwa- tair project. This is astonishing, since human beings haven’t
ter and recharge underground reservoirs, thus crossed beyond 500 km from
helping to reclaim arid and semi-arid land for Earth after Apollo 17 re-
agricultural use. From doubling fish catches in turned from its lunar voyage
the last decade to implementing disaster-warn- Chandrayaan-II, in December 1972.
ing systems, from tele-education to telemedi-
cine—ISRO has a finger in many progress pies.
to be launched ISRO already has sanc-
tion for a human spaceflight
Its latest project is to study climate change. ISRO by GSLV in programme. The first manned
claims that the space programme has returned
$2 (Rs 94) on every dollar invested. It is today 2013, is an mission is likely around 2015.
This would make India only
the lowest-cost satellite launching agency in the Indo-Russian the fourth nation, after the
world. No wonder then that Antrix Corporation,
ISRO’s commercial arm, is reportedly pursuing joint lunar USSR, the US and China, to
carry out manned missions.
contracts worth $100 million to $150 million (Rs mission An astronaut training centre
704 crore) and is in global demand for low-cost is to be set up in Bangalore.
space solutions. featuring a ISRO also plans to build a new
ISRO has successfully operationalised two
major constellations: the Indian National Satel-
lunar orbiting launch pad for the purpose. It
has begun preliminary design
lite (INSAT) System for communication services spacecraft work on a three-tonne orbital
and the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellite
System for management of natural resources.
and two lunar vehicle that will carry a two-
member crew into low Earth
INSAT consists of multipurpose geostationary landers orbit at an altitude of 275 km
satellites that satisfy the telecommunications, for seven days. The spacecraft
broadcasting, meteorology and search-and- will be launched by GSLV. ISRO
rescue needs of India. Commissioned in 1983, must also make time to visit a
it is the largest domestic communication sys- nearby asteroid and the Sun.
tem in the Asia-Pacific Region. IRS is a series of On a more utilitarian note,
Earth observation satellites that constitute the the Indian Regional Naviga-
largest constellation of remote sensing satellites for civilian tional Satellite System is an autonomous system that would
use anywhere in the world. be under total control of the Indian government, unlike the
GPS whose service may not be assured during hostilities.
TOP OF THE LEAGUE ISRO plans to launch the constellation of satellites between
In the decade approaching its golden jubilee ISRO can look 2010 and 2012. India also aims to increase its transponder
back with satisfaction and look forward to even more hectic capacity to 500 during the 11th Plan, which ends in March
times. Following the success of Chandrayaan-I, which achieved 2012. ISRO plans to launch six communication satellites by
its mission objectives to the approval of the global scientific then, including GSAT-11, its heaviest satellite so far.
community, ISRO is now eyeing the Moon. If the government ISRO maintains quality by bringing in young talent from the
agrees to foot the bill, an Indian astronaut could walk on the country’s premier research institutes. It isn’t easy to join. The
surface of our nearest heavenly neighbour as early as 2020. number of aspirants for ISRO jobs could be as high as 125,000
Chandrayaan-II, to be launched by GSLV in 2013, is an applications per vacancy. Over the years, the agency has vali-
Indo-Russian joint lunar mission featuring a lunar orbiting dated India’s core competence in space—its ability to conceive,
spacecraft and two lunar landers. ISRO will make the orbiter design, build and operate complex space systems and to use
and a small lander/rover while Russia’s Roskosmos will be them in various aspects of national development. In the words
responsible for the main lander/rover. The wheeled rovers of Dr Nair, “Today, India is rated as one of the top five or six
will trundle across the lunar surface and pick up soil or rock countries in the world having end-to-end capability in space
samples for on-site chemical analysis, transmitting data to technology and, more than that, our country has shown to the
Earth via the orbiter. Data gathered from Chandrayaan-I world as to how advances in space technology and applica-
showed traces of water on the Moon. And the Moon appears tions can be tailored to take care of the common problems fac-
to be generating its own water. Much like a large sponge, it ing the country.” So long as ISRO does not stray from a strong
absorbs charged particles emitted by the Sun, which then developmental agenda, its critics will lack credibility. SP

34 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009
Hall of Fame

ALENTINA TERESHKOVA final training included at least two long down lasted two hours. Then Vostok 6
was the first woman to cross ground simulations of six days and 12 made a textbook launch and Tereshkova
the threshold of space. In days duration. Vostok 5, with cosmonaut became the first woman to fly into space.
June 1963, she spent three Valeriy Bykovsky on board, launched on Her call sign was Chaika (seagull). (It
days orbiting the earth. Ap- June 14, 1963. After watching the suc- was later commemorated as the name
proaching the half-century mark of of an asteroid, 1671 Chaika.)
her epic feat, Tereshkova remains Vostok 5 and 6, which had dif-
the only woman to have flown solo ferent orbits, passed around 5
in space. km from each other, and the two
Valentina Vladimirovna Teresh- cosmonauts made radio contact.
kova was born on March 6, 1937, As with all Vostok recoveries,
in the village of Maslennikovo, then Tereshkova ejected about 6 km
part of the Soviet Union. Her father above the earth and descended
served in the Soviet Army during by parachute. She landed near
World War II. She was two when he Karaganda, Kazakhstan, on
died. Her mother, a worker in a cot- June 19, 1963, after completing
ton factory, raised the family single- 48 orbits (one every 88 minutes)
handed. Tereshkova was only able totalling 70 hours 50 minutes in
to begin school at age 10 and had space. The Soviet propaganda
to complete her education through machine immediately swung into
correspondence. Though her child- action, propelling Tereshkova as
hood was filled with economic de- a worldwide celebrity. She was
privation, her ‘proletarian’ back- VALENTINA decorated with the Hero of the
ground proved crucial in the final
selection of the candidate to be the TERESHKOVA Soviet Union medal, the USSR’s
highest award. Among numer-
first woman in space.
In 1959, Tereshkova joined an
Born on:March 6,1937 ous other awards, in October
2000, she was named “Greatest
air sports club and excelled in ama- Woman Achiever of the Century”
teur parachuting. When candidates In 1963,Tereshkova success- by the International Women of
were recruited for the Soviet space the Year Association.
programme, she volunteered, even
fully logged three days in The Vostok mission remained
though she had no experience as space—more than the total Tereshkova’s only flight. In later
a pilot. At the time, parachuting years, unconfirmed reports be-
skill was invaluable, because cos- flight time of all American as- gan to circulate that Tereshkova
monauts had to eject from their
capsules after they re-entered the
tronauts till that date.Teresh- had experienced physiological
and psychological problems in
earth’s upper atmosphere. Teresh- kova, who celebrated space. As with much else that
kova was one of five women se- happened in the Soviet Union at
lected as cosmonaut-candidates in her 70th birthday a couple of the height of the Cold War it is dif-
February 1962. Though the least
qualified, with no higher educa-
years ago, said:“If I had the ficult to separate fact from fiction.
Whatever the truth of the matter,
tion, her tally of 126 parachute money, I would enjoy flying to and although she was little more
jumps worked in her favour. All than a passenger in the fully-
five contenders underwent rigor- Mars.This was the dream of automated Vostok, Tereshkova
ous training, including weightless
flights, parachute jumps, isolation
the first cosmonauts. I wish I successfully logged three days in
space—more than the total flight
tests and centrifuge tests. They also could realise it! I am ready to time of all American astronauts
trained as pilots in MiG-15UTI jet till that date. In fact, the US did
trainers and were commissioned as
fly without coming back.” not send a woman into space
lieutenants in the Soviet Air Force. until 1983, when astronaut and
Reports emerging from the US that physicist Sally Ride flew aboard
13 American female pilots who had the space shuttle Challenger.
passed the astronaut physical eval- Tereshkova, who celebrated
uation were likely to be trained as Mer- cessful launch, Tereshkova began final her 70th birthday a couple of years ago,
cury astronauts, and one of them would preparations for her own flight. On the said: “If I had the money, I would enjoy
probably make a spaceflight before the morning of June 16, 1963, Tereshkova flying to Mars. This was the dream of the
end of 1962, provided a strong impetus and her backup were both dressed in first cosmonaut. I wish I could realise it! I
to the mission. In the event, the Mercury spacesuits and taken to the launch pad am ready to fly without coming back.” SP
women never made it. by bus. After completing communication —Group Captain (Retd)
Eventually, Tereshkova and a backup and life support checks, she was sealed Joseph Noronha,
were chosen to fly aboard Vostok 6. Their inside the Vostok. The flawless count- Goa

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 35
NEWS Digest
MILITARY cooperation between India Pakistan’s Erieye AEW&C QuickRoundUp
and Russia are likely to be aircraft undergoes final tests
Asia-Pacific signed during Prime Minister In a ceremony in Linköping,
Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Saab and the Pakistan Air AGUSTAWESTLAND
Lockheed Martin unveils Moscow later this year. The Force celebrated the start
first new F-16 For Pakistan first would be on extending of the final tests of the new • AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica
the Military Technical Coop- Erieye AEW&C aircraft. The company, has announced that the
eration for 10 years, from aircraft is currently undergo- Korea Coast Guard has taken deliv-
2011 to 2020 ,and the second ing system tests in Sweden ery of two AW139 medium twin heli-
relates to After-Sales Product and will continue with follow copters during an official ceremony
Support for Defence Equip- on testing in Pakistan later this held at Vergiate plant (Italy).
ment of Russian origin. year. The aim is to evaluate
the complete system, includ- • Polish helicopter manufacturer
Indo-US military ties ing aircraft, radar, C2 system, PZL Swidnik has delivered the
growing rapidly communication and live 1,000th fuselage to AgustaWest-
Lockheed Martin unveiled situation picture including land during an official ceremony
the first of 18 new F-16s integration into the Pakistan held in Swidnik, marking 13 years
being produced for Pakistan Air Force’s command and of successful cooperation between
in ceremonies on October control ground environment. the two companies.
13, at its Fort Worth, Texas, Saab signed a contract in
facility. Officials, including October 2005 to supply an ALENIA AERONAUTICA
the Chiefs of Staff of the US airborne surveillance system
and Pakistan Air Forces, for Pakistan. The contract • Alenia Aeronautica has delivered
were on hand to witness the came into effect in June 2006. to the Lithuanian Air Force the last
event. Air Chief Marshal Rao The system consists of three out of three C-27Js, as per the
Quamar Suleman, Chief of the parts; an airborne segment, contract signed in June 2006.
Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, a ground-based segment and
accepted the first F-16 Block logistics and support service. AN-24
52 aircraft. Also present were The airborne segment includes
Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Saab 2000 aircraft equipped • On October 20, An-24 completed
Ambassador to the US, and The fact that Indo-US military with the airborne early warn- 50 years since its maiden flight
other senior officials. The US relations are on an upward ing radar system Erieye. The as a passenger airplane for local
government was represented trajectory is evident from the new system will, together with air routes. An-24 was developed
by Rep. Kay Granger, Texas fact that, besides holding joint existing ground based radars, to replace old Il-14, Il-12 and Li-2
12th District, and Gen. Nor- military exercises with the US provide a more detailed pic- aircraft powered by piston engines,
ton Schwartz, Chief of Staff military, India has also started ture to decision makers. and became the basis for whole
of the Air Force. The aircraft buying US armaments worth family of the airplanes.
order is designated as ‘Peace billions of dollars. The latest Embraer sells second ERJ
Drive I’, continuing a long India-US defence deal is the 135 jet to Royal Thai Navy ARMASUISSE
tradition of naming F-16 in- sale of the Airborne Early
ternational sales programmes Warning aircraft, Hawkeye • Armasuisse, the agency respon-
with the word Peace. The E-2D, developed by Northrop sible for acquisition, technology
programme raises the total Grumman. Woolf Gross, the and real estate in the Federal
number of F-16s ordered by company’s Corporate Director, Department for Defence, Sport and
Pakistan to 54. The Peace says the reconnaissance plane Civil Protection, has accepted the
Drive I order is for 12 F-16Cs is yet to be introduced in the latest batch of AIM-9X infrared-
and six F-16Ds, all powered US Navy. Its sale to India, he guided missiles acquired as part
by the Pratt & Whitney F100- says, is a symbol of how close of Armaments Programme 2003.
PW-229 engine. The first Indo-US military relations Embraer has signed a contract The AIM-9X Sidewinder infrared
aircraft—a two-seat F-16D are. During Secretary of State with the Royal Thai Navy for guided missile being delivered is
model—will be delivered to Hillary Clinton’s visit to India the sale of its second ERJ 135 a latest-generation weapon. It will
the US government (as agent in July, the two countries jet. Added to the other two arm the Swiss Air Force F/A-18 and
for Pakistan in the Foreign agreed on the terms of such orders made by the Royal replaces the previous model AIM-
Military Sales process) in De- high technology sales to India. Thai Army, this is the fourth 9P Sidewinder.
cember, with the remainder India’s Ambassador to Wash- aircraft—all long-range—ac-
following in 2010. ington, Meera Shankar is op- quired by the Thai government BOEING
timistic. “Our militaries, once in less than two years. The
Defence Minister Antony unfamiliar with each other, acquisition is included in Em- • American Airlines will equip 42
visits Russia now hold regular dialogue braer’s firm order backlog for Boeing 787s on firm order with
India’s Defence Minister A.K. and joint exercises in the the Q3 of 2009. The first deal GEnx engines and another 58
Antony attended the 9th air and on land and sea. We between Embraer and the Thai aircraft if they exercise the option
meeting of the India-Russia coordinate anti-piracy efforts government was announced in they have reserved. In all, the
Inter Governmental Commis- and have worked together on November 2007, involving two complete deal would involve 220
sion on Military Technical humanitarian missions. Our aircraft—one for the army and engines.
Cooperation in Moscow from defence trade was negligible another for the navy—both of
October 14 to 15. The meet- a decade ago. We placed which were delivered end- • The Boeing Company has submit-
ing was chaired by Antony orders worth $3.5 billion (Rs 2008. As in the previous con- ted two proposals to the Indian Air
and his Russian counterpart, 16,400 crore) last year and it tracts, the one with the navy Force, offering the AH-64D Apache
A.E. Serdyukov. Two major could grow even more in the includes a logistical package and the CH-47F Chinook for India’s
agreements to boost defence future,” Shankar said. and provisions for a Medical

36 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009
NEWS Digest
Evacuation (MEDEVAC) instal-
lation kit. Thailand is the first
military operator in Southeast
Asia to use the ERJ 135 for Primarily optimised as a low level deep strike aircraft, low fly- attack and heavy-lift helicopter
civilian and military official ing for Jaguar’s pilots remains the raison d’etre of their lethality. competitions. India is seeking 22
transportation and MEDEVAC For the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Jaguar pilots of Gorakhpur-based attack helicopters and 15 transport
missions. ‘Flaming Arrows’ and ‘Cobras’ squadrons, low flying in the Omani helicopters and has not set a date
skies was a dream come true. Missing were the usual irritants, to announce the winning proposals.
Prithvi-II tested by SFC such as poor visibility, birds, obstructions and other restrictions,
of the skies back home in Uttar Pradesh. In Oman, the local fly- • Boeing and low-cost carrier Nor-
ing area around the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) Thumrait wegian Air Shuttle have confirmed
airbase is a flat desert terrain with unlimited visibility. Birds were an order for an additional six
conspicuous by their absence and the odd one sighted by pilots, Next-Generation 737-800s. With
at some distance, was rather a welcome sight than a threat.
this order, Norwegian has a total of
48 Next-Generation 737 airplanes
The first-ever Indo-Oman Air Forces’ exercise, code-named
on order from Boeing.
‘Eastern Bridge’, was conducted in Oman from October 23 to
29. The aim of the exercise was to conduct joint operations un- CANADIAN HELICOPTERS
der realistic scenarios culminating in live strikes with training
armament stores. Simply put, IAF pilots found the low flying ex- • Canadian Helicopters Income
perience in Oman exhilarating. After the initial familiarisation Fund announced receipt of a
sorties and tactical flying phase were over, joint strike missions Notice of Intent from the US
were flown with special emphasis on inter-operability factors. Department of Defense to exercise
India’s tri-Service Strategic On the penultimate day, Exercise Eastern Bridge peaked with “Option Year 1” of its contract with
Forces Command (SFC) has the IAF and RAFO Jaguars mounting several low-level, two and Canadian Helicopters with respect
tested two advanced ver- four-aircraft missions, culminating with pounding of the targets to providing transportation services
sions of the nuclear-capable at the ‘Aqzail’ live armament range located close to the Omani in Afghanistan. The extension covers
Prithvi-II ballistic missile, with airbase. The marksmanship of both sides was highly impressive the period between December 1
a strike range of 350 km, from with near 100 per cent direct hits with practice bombs on mul- and November 30, 2010.
the Chandipur interim test tiple targets in each mission. Omani F-16s also joined the fray,
range. A defence ministry offi- both in offensive and defensive roles. DENMARK
cial explained that the two P-II Indian and Omani defence relations have continued to grow
missiles, which can carry 500- with the passage of time. Oman is reportedly a priority-one • Denmark has postponed a
kg warheads, were success- country on the IAF list for defence cooperation in the West Asian decision on its combat aircraft
fully launched within minutes region. At present, a two-tier arrangement for defence coop- replacement programme, initially
of each other by the armed eration—Joint Military Cooperation Committee (JMCC) and Air
due at the end of this year, until
forces as part of operational 2010 at the earliest. The reason for
Force-to-Air Force Staff Talks (AFST)—are in place with Oman.
exercises. Aiming two differ- the slippage is a new evaluation of
Three rounds of JMCC and AFST have so far been undertaken
ent targets 350 km away from the operational lifespan of the F-16
the launch point, the missiles between India and Oman. India’s Ambassador to Oman Anil fighters now in service, showing
met all mission objectives. Wadhwa, Senior IAF Observer Air Vice Marshal R. Rai and Com- they can continue operating until
mander RAFO Air Vice Marshal Yahya bin Rasheed Al-Juma vis- 2018 or later.
Typhoon availability pact ited the IAF contingent during the exercise. •
for Royal Saudi Air Force EADS
The Royal Saudi Air Force has
commenced flying operations Americas designation for the Advanced • The EADS A330 Multi-Role Tanker
following delivery of the first Composite Cargo Aircraft. The Transport, currently in produc-
four of 72 Typhoon aircraft to Lockheed Martin’s Trident II X-55A is a technology dem- tion for four allied nations, has
the Royal Saudi Air Force. To D5 achieves record 129 onstrator for the design and marked another major performance
support this, the governments successful test flights manufacture of future aircraft milestone with the first in-flight
of the Kingdom of Saudi Ara- The US Navy conducted suc- using advanced composite ma- refuelling performed from the Royal
bia and the UK have reached cessful test flights on Septem- terials. The X-55A is a modi- Australian Air Force A330 MRTT util-
an agreement on detailed ber 3 and 4 of two Trident II fied Dornier 328J with the ising its integrated Aerial Refuelling
arrangements under the Salam D5 Fleet Ballistic Missiles built fuselage aft of the crew station Boom System. The fuel transfers
Support Solution that will by Lockheed Martin. The navy and the vertical tail removed were made with two F-16 receiver
provide support for operations launched the unarmed missiles and replaced with new struc- aircraft and validated the advanced
by the Royal Saudi Air Force from the submerged subma- tural designs. These designs ARBS handling qualities.
of the Typhoon fleet for three rine USS West Virginia (SSBN are made from composites
years. The arrangements will 736) in the Atlantic Ocean. using new out-of-autoclave FRANCE
be operated through a full The Trident II D5 missile now curing techniques. Strength,
availability service contract has achieved 129 consecutive lightweight, ease of manufac- • French Defence Minister Herve
with BAE Systems, the first of successful test flights since ture and corrosion resistance Morin has welcomed his Kuwaiti
its kind for Typhoon, in accor- 1989—a record unmatched by just are some of the composite counterpart, Sheikh Jabir Mubarak
dance with the Understanding any other large ballistic missile materials, characteristics air Al Hamad Al Sabah, at Paris and
Document signed on Decem- or space launch vehicle. force officials want to use the the two ministers signed a bilateral
ber 21, 2005. The contract X-55A to explore. cooperation agreement in the field
includes training in the UK New designation for Advanced of information exchange, assistance,
for RSAF Typhoon pilots and Composite Cargo Aircraft Northrop Grumman to supply training and equipment of the armed
Typhoon multi-skilled aircraft The US Air Force (USAF) have USAF with LITENING G4 forces. At the media conference,
technicians. approved X-55A as the new The USAF has awarded

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 37
NEWS Digest
APPOINTMENTS Northrop Grumman Corpo-
ration a $153 million (Rs 715
and evacuated by helicopter to
an International Security As-
ISRO GETS NEW CHIEF crore) contract to provide sistance Force medical facility.
Dr K Radhakrishnan, Mem- LITENING G4 targeting and With the crash site secured the Sheikh Jabir also said that his
ber, Space Commission and sensor systems and related helicopter was extracted just country would be “proud” to have the
Director, Vikram Sarabhai equipment. Under the terms as light began to fade. Rafale in its armed forces.
Space Centre, assumed the of the agreement, Northrop
office of Chairman, Space Grumman will deliver LIT- Poland pledges cooperation • French Minister of Defence Hervé
Commission, Secretary, ENING G4 targeting and sen- with US missile defence plan Morin has announced the arrival of
Department of Space and sor pods to the active USAF On a visit to Poland, US Vice the first batch of three Eurocopter
Chairman, Indian Space as well as kits for the Air President Joe Biden on Octo- EC 120 NHE helicopters at the
Research Organisation ef- Force Reserve Command and ber 20 was assured by Prime Army Aviation School at Dax (Ecole
fective October 31. Air National Guard to en- Minister Donald Tusk that his d’Application de l’Aviation Légère
able the upgrade of existing country would take part in de l’Armée de Terre). These aircraft
JET AIRWAYS APPOINTS LITENING AT pods to the G4 a new missile defence plan. are the first in a series of 36
ACTING CEO configuration. The contract Polish officials said they would helicopters that will provide flying
In a major shake-up in also includes the supply of host elements of the new plan hours for helicopter pilot training
private carrier Jet Airways, additional data links for the that was announced in Sep- of the three military services and
Chief Executive Officer Air National Guard and ac- tember in Washington. Biden the Gendarmerie, under the first
Wolfgang Prock-Schauer tive USAF. is the first high-level US official public-private partnership contract
resigned on October 15 and to visit Poland since President awarded by the French Ministry of
the airline’s US operations Europe Barack Obama cancelled the Defence.
head Nikos Kardassis was planned Central European
appointed as the acting CEO. UK troops thwart Taliban missile shield proposed by HAL AND BOEING
Jet had posted a loss of Rs to recover US Chinook former President George W.
225 crore in Q1 of this fiscal. The Royal Regiment of Bush. Biden said the new • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited
Scotland (3 SCOTS), fought missile plan would be enough (HAL) and Boeing have signed an
NEW HEADS IN off Taliban attackers in order to defend Poland. As part of agreement to work together for
AIRBUS MILITARY to facilitate the recovery of a the plan, Poland has agreed to the production of flaperons for the
Airbus has made the follow- US Army Chinook helicopter host the US Navy’s Standard Boeing’s 777 series commercial
ing appointments effective which had suffered a hard Missile-3 anti-ballistic-missile jetliner. HAL will make the delivery
October 13: landing on difficult ground system. in phases and Boeing will get the
• Rafael Acedo is the new in the Upper Sangin Valley. first set of flaperons in the next
Head of Strategy. A number of UK and Afghan Third Boeing C-17 joins couple of years as per the contract.
• Miguel Angel Morell suc- troops had been on the troop- 12-nation Strategic Airlift
ceeds Rafael Acedo as the carrying aircraft but although Capability initiative HAWKER BEECHCRAFT
new Head of Engineering The Boeing Company de-
and Technology. livered a third C-17 Globe- • Hawker Beechcraft Corporation
• Antonio Caramazana, suc- master III to the NATO Airlift announced the successful progress
ceeds Miguel Angel Morel Management Organization on of its Beechcraft AT-6 light attack
and is now Head of all October 7, in support of its aircraft programme. The AT-6 is a
Airbus military derivatives. 12-nation Strategic Airlift Ca- structurally strengthened derivative
Previously, he was in charge pability (SAC) initiative. The of the highly successful T-6A/B/C,
of the UK FSTA Tanker delivery, which took place the world’s most proven military
aircraft programme. at Boeing’s final assembly trainer aircraft.
• Jaime Perez-Guerra is facility in Long Beach, com-
Head of Communications. pletes SAC’s first fleet of the LOCKHEED MARTIN
advanced airlifters. Assigned
NEW CHIEF AT to SAC’s Heavy Airlift Wing • The Lockheed Martin Joint Air-to-
BAE SYSTEMS (HAW) at Pápa Air Base in Surface Standoff Missile success-
BAE Systems has appointed western Hungary, SAC 03 will fully completed Lot 7 Reliability
Linda Hudson Chief Operat- support International Security Assessment Programme flight tests
ing Officer, BAE Systems plc, it was badly damaged, nobody Assistance Force operations with a record of 15 successes out
and President and CEO of was injured. In a bid to secure in Afghanistan as well as the of 16 flights, as officially scored by
BAE Systems, Inc. the area, recover the airframe airlift requirements of SAC an independent test data scoring
and to prevent it falling into member nations. board. The tests were conducted
EADS APPOINTS NEW CEO Taliban hands, 120 men of by the US Air Force at White Sands
EADS has named Sean Alpha (Grenadier) Company Missile Range, New Mexico, using
O’Keefe Chief Executive Of- were flown to the desert site. CIVIL AVIATION B-52 and F-16 aircraft.
ficer to lead the operations However, as a specialist US
of EADS North America recovery team set to work Asia-Pacific NASA AND NORTHROP
effective November 1. to prepare the Chinook for GRUMMAN
extraction, insurgents began Bharat Hotels acquires
LOCKHEED MARTIN to mass. Air cover was called Grand helicopter • NASA and Northrop Grumman
Lockheed Martin Corpora- in and devastating strikes by AgustaWestland, a Finmecca- Corporation have announced the
tion’s Board of Directors US attack helicopters and A-10 nica company, announced that initial flight of a Global Hawk un-
has elected Christopher E. jets killed and injured several Bharat Hotels Limited (BHL), manned aircraft system to be used
Kubasik President and Chief insurgents; one badly injured India’s largest privately owned for environmental science research.
Operating Officer, effective insurgent was subsequently hotel company, recently took The approximately four-hour flight
January 1, 2010. treated by 3 SCOTS’ medics delivery of a Grand twin en-

38 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009
NEWS Digest
10 November – 12 November
SAE AEROTECH 2009 at NASA Dryden included checkout
Washington State Convention of aircraft systems, including
and Trade Center, Seattle, engine, flight controls and com-
Washington, USA munication.
11 November – 12 November
6TH ANNUAL MILITARY • Pratt & Whitney Canada celebrated
AIRLIFT major milestone with the delivery of
Copthorne Tara, its 70,000th engine. The engine, a
London, UK The new M-346 Master advanced trainer designed by Alenia PT6A-60A turboprop, was delivered
URL: Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, has reached the sym- recently to Hawker Beechcraft Corpo-
bolic 1,000-flight milestone. The flight was made by the third
ration for installation on a Beechcraft
15 November – 19 November, King Air 350 aircraft.
prototype, representative of the pre-series M-346 standard. The
thousand flights performed by the three M-346 prototypes now
Airport Expo Centre, RAYTHEON
Dubai, UAE available at Alenia Aermacchi, cover a broad range of missions, from aircraft testing and development to the displaying to the • Raytheon Company has been
many interested air forces and ferry flights for international awarded two contracts by Rafael
16 November – 17 November demo tours for important aviation events. Advanced Defense Systems Limited
UNMANNED AIRCRAFT In December 2008, the first M-346 achieved the speed of to design and develop the David’s
SYSTEMS Mach 1.17, becoming the fastest Italian-designed aeroplane of Sling Weapon System, a joint
Crowne Plaza Hotel-St James, all times. The long ferry flights, the completion of air-to-air re- programme between the Missile
London, UK fuelling tests and angles of attack of over 30 degrees, indicate Defense Agency and the Israel Mis-
URL: the significance of the results achieved so far and the overall sile Defence Organisation.
uas2.asp development of the programme, which is now close to its com-
17 November – 19 November In addition to Alenia Aermacchi test pilots, the three M-346
7TH ANNUAL HELICON 2009 have already been flown by over 40 Italian military pilots and by • At its meeting in October, the
The Westin Huntsville, over 70 from other countries worldwide, including those of the Swiss Federal Council decided
Huntsville, AL, USA United Arab Emirates, whose air forces selected 48 M-346s in to adhere to the timetable set in
URL: February, and those of Singapore, where the M-346 is participat- March for the proposed partial
ing in the competition for the aircraft and a complete integrated replacement of the Tiger fighter
17 November – 18 November training system. • aircraft.
Radisson SAS Portman Hotel,
London, UK series—the AE 3007A2. This infrared sensor turret aboard • The US’ fleet of B-2 stealth
URL: www.thedefencealliance. is the exclusive powerplant its Desert Hawk III Unmanned bombers will receive a new
com/cts for the Legacy 650, the new Aircraft System (UAS), marking Northrop Grumman Corporation-de-
Embraer large executive jet. the first time a small UAS has veloped radar system following the
30 November – 2 December flown with a 360-degree infra- US Air Force’s decision to authorise
CIAM INTERNATIONAL red sensor. Battle-proven, the full-rate production of the units by
AVIATION SHOW & INDUSTRY hand-launched Desert Hawk the company’s Radar Modernisa-
CONGRESS III has provided the British tion Programme.
Hilton Cancun Golf & Americas Army with critical intelligence,
Spa Resort, México surveillance and reconnais- • US Air Force plans to include the Boeing A160T flies with sance capabilities in both Iraq C-27J Spartan (the latest propel-
foliage-penetrating radar and Afghanistan. ler-driven air-lifter) in its inventory,
2 December – 3 December The Boeing A160T Humming- are steadily progressing. In April,
MILITARY FLIGHT bird unmanned helicopter Defence Secretary Robert Gates
TRAINING ASIA 2009 completed 20 test flights from SPACE moved the C-27J programme and
Rendezvous Hotel, August 31 to October 8 with its related direct support mission
Singapore the Foliage Penetration Recon- Americas from the Army to the Air Force.
URL: naissance, Surveillance, Track-
ing and Engagement Radar Boeing launches second US NAVY
(FORESTER). The tests were WorldView satellite
gine helicopter from the firm’s conducted at Fort Stewart, The Boeing Company success- • The US Navy is one step closer
Vergiate plant. Georgia. FORESTER is being fully launched the WorldView- to flying the ‘Green Hornet’ with
developed by the Defense 2 satellite for DigitalGlobe members of the NAVAIR Fuels team
Americas Advanced Research Projects aboard a Delta II rocket on recently taking a small, but very vital
Agency and the US Army. October 8. Liftoff occurred at step toward changing the source of
Rolls-Royce AE 3007A2 to 1151 hours Pacific time from jet fuel the US Navy uses. The team
power Embraer’s Legacy 650 Lockheed Martin flies first Pad SLC-2W at Vandenberg tested an F-404 F/A-18 engine to
On October 19, Rolls-Royce 360-degree infrared sensort Air Force Base. The Delta II determine if it could run on a jet fuel
officially introduced the Lockheed Martin has complet- released WorldView-2 about (JP-5) derived from a weed.
latest engine in its AE 3007 ed a successful test of a new 62 minutes after liftoff. •

Issue 10 • 2009 SP’S AVIATION 39


Grounding of the
response to the urgent requirement projected by the IAF,
HPT-32 fleet comes HAL has now floated a request for information soliciting
at a time when collaboration from foreign aerospace companies to pro-
duce a basic turboprop trainer. Under the circumstances,
the IAF is already obtaining this perhaps is a prudent course of action as
faced with acute in-house design and development of a basic trainer by
the HAL is unlikely in the time frame envisaged by the
shortage of pilots. IAF. Tragically, the HAL has squandered the opportunity
Continued neglect to develop a new aircraft on its own.
The Kiran jet trainer fleet has been in service since
of the trainer fleets the early 1970s and its replacement should have been
would seriously streaming in by now. Unfortunately, the Sitara Interme-
diate Jet Trainer (IJT) programme, a replacement for
undermine the Kiran, which began on a promising note, has for
the IAF’s one reason or another, not been making satisfactory
progress. A basic aircraft with conventional technol-
grandiose plans ogy, the inordinate delay in its development, which can
for modernisation prove detrimental for the training of the fighter stream,
is neither understandable nor acceptable.
and growth. For the second time, the IAF has been left in the
lurch without the basic trainer fleet. The first HAL pro-

duced trainer aircraft, the piston engine Hindustan
ome Air Force Day and it is time for the top brass of Trainer 2 (HT-2), was scrapped under similar circumstances
the Indian Air Force (IAF) to catalogue achievements in the early nineties after four decades of use. As the HPT-32s
and reiterate resolve to scale greater heights. The 77th were not available in sufficient strength at that point in time,
anniversary this year was no different as the Chief the IAF switched over to all-jet training with Stage-I on the
of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal P.V. Naik, unraveled plans Kiran aircraft. The measure was neither cost-effective nor
before an awed media for an ambitious modernisation drive professionally sound yet the IAF accepted the compromise
with staggering levels of investment directed at total meta- as HAL had already begun series production of the HPT-32
morphosis of the force. The media was briefed on the visions and its availability in the near future was reasonably certain.
of capability for the IAF to project power from the Central Also, the Kiran fleet was at that point in time, young and at
Asian region to the Straits of Malacca and to emerge as one peak strength. Today, the situation is qualitatively different.
of the leading air forces in the world. The session was laced The strength of the Kiran fleet is low and the HAL has no
with an array of sophisticated terminology comprehensible ready solution in sight for replacement of HPT-32. Despite
perhaps to only a limited section of the audience. the initiative at foreign collaboration, given the ever-increas-
While the IAF appears mesmerised with visions of great- ing complexity of the procurement process, one cannot pre-
ness, its foundations appear substantially weakened on ac- dict with certainty the time frame in which the replacement
count of inadequate attention, lack of forward planning and aircraft will be available in adequate strength. Meanwhile,
absence of proper synergy with the indigenous aerospace in- under the enhanced burden, the Kiran fleet will shrink fur-
dustry in respect of its basic piston and jet trainer fleets. The ther, complicating matters for the IAF even more. The grav-
Hindustan Piston Trainer (HPT)-32 has been afflicted with se- ity of the situation is evident in the reported decision by the
rious problems since inception and there have been no lasting IAF to disband the world renowned Surya Kiran formation
solutions from the OEM. The IAF had no option but to endure; aerobatic team to augment the Kiran fleet.
losing aircraft and pilots with disconcerting regularity. The IAF cannot fulfill its aspirations and attain its lofty ob-
As the life of a fleet can be predicted with a reasonable de- jectives without qualified, well trained and competent human
gree of accuracy, there should already have been a clear plan in resource, with pilots providing the core strength. Grounding of

place for an indigenous aircraft to replace the HPT-32 in about the HPT-32 fleet comes at a time when the IAF is already faced
three decades of induction. Despite dialogue that began over with acute shortage of pilots. Continued neglect of the trainer
five years ago between the IAF and the Hindustan Aeronautics fleets would aggravate shortages and seriously undermine the
Limited (HAL) on the replacement for the HPT-32, today there IAF’s grandiose plans for modernisation and growth. SP
is no design for a basic trainer even on the drawing board. In — Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey

40 SP’S AVIATION Issue 10 • 2009

1 – 5 December 2009 THAT MATTERS!
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in the industry making an effort to be seen and heard.
Mahsuri International Exhibition Centre At LIMA ’09, over 450 exhibitors from 24 countries, with 187 delegations
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You can be sure of one simple fact....
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