“There is no virtue like protecting the nation, there is no vow like defence of the nation. You who touch the skies, welcome!” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the arrival of Rafale in India.
A recent land mark event for the Indian Air Force (IAF) was the arrival of the first five of the 36 Rafale jets procured from Dassault Aviation through a direct deal between the Indian government and the government of France. Hopefully, the remaining 31 aircraft would be delivered by the Original Equipment Manufacturer soonest possible as procurement of these 4.5 generation platforms will mark the commencement of the process of restoration of the operational capability of the IAF. This issue of SP’s Aviation includes a report on the arrival of the fighters in India and also carries a viewpoint in which Air Chief Marshal S. Krishnaswamy (Retd) former Chief of the Air Staff, IAF highlights the capability of this platform as compared to the other combat jets on the inventory of the IAF and what the commencement of delivery of this fleet means for the service.
One achievement of immense significance for the global aerospace industry has been the successful development of the twin-engine, medium-lift military transport aircraft by Embraer. Dubbed initially as the KC-390 and later renamed as the C-390 Millenium, this is the largest, heaviest and most complex military aircraft designed, developed and produced by Embraer. It is a clear evidence of the level of aerospace technology that Embraer has achieved. We have a report by Air Marshal B. K. Pandey (Retd) on the development, production, delivery and induction of this platform in to the Brazilian Air Force.
Air India Express, a subsidiary of the national carrier Air India, met with a serious accident at Calicut International Airport on August 07 this year when the aircraft encountered extremely adverse weather conditions while landing and fell into a 35-foot deep gorge. Fortunately, the fatalities were very low, but the aircraft was a complete write off as the fuselage broke into two pieces. As in any flying accident, the pilot in command is generally held responsible for the episode. However, not only in this particular case, but in all flying accidents, the public at large and particularly those holding important positions in the civil aviation domain, must refrain from immediately assigning responsibility and wait for the investigation by the appropriate agency to be completed. A report on the disaster by Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) has been included in this issue of the magazine.
With rapid advances in technology, Electronic Warfare (EW) is becoming increasingly potent and India too is not far behind as all the three wings of the Indian armed forces are moving forward to enhance their offensive and defensive capabilities through major strides in this domain. This issue of the magazine carries a detailed analysis of the trends in EW by Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd) and observes that in this domain, indigenisation remains a major challenge for the nation.
The global Coronavirus pandemic brought some unprecedented situations and new challenges and therefore, this year, the Farnborough International Airshow (FIA) went online. Under the name of FIA Connect, there were a series of virtual events taking place during the week of what would have been the FIA. Included in this issue is a report by Ayushee Chaudhary on the various sessions and panel discussions held in the FIA Connect programme.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!