A Word from Editor-in-Chief

While the Mirage 2000 aircraft went into enemy territory to pulverise terrorist training infrastructure, the Netra, though confined to Indian airspace, was virtually the “operational brain” of the mission

Issue: 3 / 2019By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

An air strike on February 26 this year undertaken by a fleet of 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against terrorist camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir as also in Balakot across the international border in Pakistan, validated the potential of airpower as an effective tool to decimate the menace of terrorism. In this issue of SP’s Aviation, there is an article by Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha (Retd) that recounts in detail, the historic air strike mission undertaken by the IAF. While Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd) also throws some light on this mission, Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) describes the role of Netra, an Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&CS) platform developed indigenously by the DRDO on the Embraer ERJ 145 platform. While the Mirage 2000 aircraft went deep into enemy territory to pulverise the terrorist training infrastructure, the Netra AEW&CS, though confined to Indian airspace, was virtually the “operational brain” of the mission.

Use of offensive air power has altered the status quo in the conflict with Pakistan and the Government will now be under increased pressure to launch air strike to avenge terror attacks every time. However, to deter Pakistan from embarking upon counter-strikes, India needs to ensure numerical and technological superiority in arms and equipment over its rival. In an exclusive interview, Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa, Chief of the Air Staff, catalogued acquisition projects underway ranging from fifth-generation combat platforms to helicopters and air defence systems. The first four of the 15 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters ordered have already arrived on March 25 this year and a report is included in this issue.

On the international civil aviation scene, in the last five months there have been two major disasters involving the Boeing 737 Max 8 airliners. The first was in October 2018 involving the Indonesian carrier Lion Air while the second crash in March this year saw the tragic end of an airliner of Ethiopian Airlines soon after takeoff. There is an uncanny similarity in the two accidents that apparently were caused by malfunction of newly developed software for the control system of the aircraft. In this issue of SP’s Aviation, there is a detailed analysis by Captain Ajit Agtey, an ex-Jet Airways pilot who has vast experience on different versions of the Boeing 737. Hopefully, the US aerospace giant Boeing will take urgent steps to remedy the situation.

The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer has come up with an aggressive programme to promote the E190-E2 ‘Profit Hunter’ which is being projected as the world’s most efficient single-aisle aircraft. Embraer is of the view that to cope with the pressures of low fares in a highly competitive market, airlines need to equip their fleets with the right size aircraft and that E190-E2 is the answer. A report by Vishal Thapar on the initiative by Embraer figures in this issue of the magazine.

Another major event in the recent past was Aero India 2019, India’s largest air show held every two years at Bengaluru, India. As always, we published and distributed our hugely popular SP’s ShowNews on the first three days of the event covering the major events at the show. In case you missed reading SP’s ShowNews, a detailed report on Aero India 2019 is available at http://www.sps-aviation.com/aero-india-2019.

All this and more in the issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and wish you happy landings!

Jai Hind!