A Word from Editor-in-Chief

The 12th edition of Aero India, though relatively somewhat subdued, still has drawn some of the major players in the aerospace and defence industry from across the world

Issue: 2 / 2019By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Aero India International Air Show, a biennial event that has been held at India Air Force Station, Yelahanka, Bengaluru since the year 1996, invariably generates considerable excitement particularly in the military aviation segment of the global aerospace and defence industry. The 12th edition of the Air Show currently under way at Yelahanka, though relatively somewhat subdued, still has drawn some of the major players in the aerospace and defence industry from across the world.

Apart from participating in this biennial event, the global aerospace majors have been making significant inroads into India through partnerships and joint ventures with Indian entities. In a candid interview with the undersigned which figures in this issue of SP’s Aviation, Dr Vivek Lall, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, Lockheed Martin Corporation of the United States, outlines the plans of his company to develop a long term strategic and defence partnership with India.

Over the years, the assets of the Indian Air Force (IAF) in its combat fleet have depleted leading to debilitating shortages and consequent erosion of operational capability. In this issue of the magazine, Group Captain A.K. Sachdev (Retd) has a comprehensive report on the state of the combat fleet of the IAF and the long road ahead in rebuilding the fleet to restore the desired level of operational capability. In another article in this issue, the author has examined the requirements of the IAF for unmanned platforms, development of indigenous capability in this regime as well as options available for procurement of these platforms from the global market. In his article entitled Force Multipliers – Multiple Requirements, J. Noronha examines the platforms and equipment the IAF needs to induct to make up the deficiencies that have been detrimental to the operational potential of the IAF for quite some time. The list of Force Multipliers that the IAF needs to enhance existing capabilities includes AWACS and AEW&C Aircraft, Flight Refuelling Aircraft, unmanned platforms for aerial reconnaissance and a range advanced avionics to enhance the capability of aerial platforms.

Exploring the domain of the civil aviation industry, in this issue of the magazine, J. Noronha recounts the success stories of low-cost carriers across the world. The only low-cost carrier from the Indian airline industry that figures on his list is IndiGo Airlines. Given the rate at which the Indian civil aviation market is growing, IndiGo Airlines could well rub shoulders with major players in the world such as Southwest Airlines and Ryanair. Apart from IndiGo Airlines, another low cost carrier on the Indian aviation scene is SpiceJet. In this issue of SP’s Aviation, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) has recounted the financial distress and the virtual death spiral that SpiceJet had landed up in till Ajay Singh, the erstwhile Chairman, reappeared on the scene and took charge to achieve a dramatic turnaround in the fortunes of the low cost carrier. This whole episode of financial distress and the dramatic turnaround of SpiceJet is a glowing example for other carriers to follow while operating in a financially stressful and highly competitive world of the airline industry.

All this more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and wish you many happy landings. Do visit us at Aero India 2019 in Hall E and Booth Number E 1.5.

Jai Hind!