A Word from Editor-in-Chief

James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is driving our appetite to explore the final frontier. A wealth of information in the shape of pictures and data of previously unknown and unexplored parts of the Universe have already been sent back and this is just the beginning.

Issue: 07-2022By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The need for space sector as well as the fascination around cosmos is expanding as we continue to explore the depths of the universe. Hailed as the most powerful space observatory ever built by humans, the James Webb Space Telescope is on a mission to study every phase of 13.5 billion years of cosmic history. NASA recently unveiled the first batch of images from Webb’s data marking the dawn of a new era for astronomy. With star births and star deaths in sight, thousands of galaxies and galaxy clusters, a sneak peak into the time when our universe was newly born, and scanning planets beyond our solar system, Webb’s data is a cosmic treasure treat. A detailed story by Ayushee Chaudhary explaining what these images mean is a part of this edition.

The other significant space development was on the domestic front. Making use of privatisation within the sector in India, ISRO launched its PSLV-C53 rocket on June 30 where it placed three Singaporean satellites in their orbits and also achieved a new milestone by launching two payloads of Indian Start-ups in Space. AVM Sanjay Bhatnagar (Retd) reports on these developments in this issue. The same author has also analysed Indian Air Forces’ airborne surveillance capabilities, covering the AEW&C systems in this issue. India became the fourth country in the world to have developed ‘Netra’, an advanced AEW&C system, popularly known as the ‘Eye-in-the-sky’, that proved its mettle in actual operations in Balakot strikes in February 2019 by providing crucial surveillance cover.

Rapid advancement in technologies is changing the face of modern warfare as well. There is an indication towards future wars being under those who control air and space. A report by Air Marshal Anil Chopra (Retd) gives an overview of the future airborne platforms and aerial weapons. Future technologies, he expects, will be about more wireless systems, robotics, AI and uninhabited systems.

In an exclusive feature, Alain Garcia, Vice President, India BD, Boeing Defense highlights the reasons as to why the F/A-18 Super Hornet Block III is an ideal choice for the Indian Navy. The aircraft recently underwent tests in India to prove their suitability for the Indian Navy’s aircraft carriers and to demonstrate their capabilities as the best fit for the Navy’s future fighter force.

When it comes to sustainability, alarming climate change data, public pressure, and the pandemic has put new focus on the aviation sector’s estimated three per cent CO2 contribution. Airlines have been quick to identify their most fuel inefficient fleet types and remove them from service. Byron Bohlman’s report expands on why SAF has been an emerging choice. Additionally, Joseph Noronha writes about the need for future engines to be far greener than present ones. He expands on what the next generation of commercial engines may look like.

Apart from the variations in engines, another concern of the industry is the lack of pilots and the need to train them. Mental stress surrounding a pilot’s job and limited infrastructure to train have been areas of major concerns. A report in this edition by Ayushee Chaudhary highlights some available resources for pilots’ mental well-being. Another report by Ayushee talks about VR as the emerging solution for training more pilots. Both mental health and training are crucial to ensure safety.

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