A Word from Editor-in-Chief

In tune with the spirit of the nation’s 75th year of independence, the 14th edition of India’s grand airshow, Aero India being held in Bengaluru, has been specially curated for the occasion

Issue: 02-2023By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

The issue includes an exclusive interview of Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Chief of the Air Staff, who shared some very elaborate and candid insights on the plans and preparedness of the Indian Air Force. He highlighted the shortage in the number of fighter squadrons in the IAF that is being addressed through multi pronged approaches and also underlined that the IAF transport fleet is the fourth largest in the world, comprising a mixed bag of aerial assets, is undergoing further enhancement including the induction of the C295 aircraft which has a major ‘Make in India’ component. The Air Chief, during his interaction, highlighted a few interesting aspects like necessity of ‘Make in India’ in the MRFA programmes, progress on the acquisition of the Flight Refuelling Aircraft and the support of IAF in developing a domestic drone industry. Fully supporting the move towards indigenisation, he reiterated that IAF is at the fore front of these efforts.

Union budget for the year 2023-24 was recently presented in the Indian Parliament by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the time when there were uncertainties across the world economy but the Indian Economy has been recognised as a ‘bright star’ with the economic growth estimated at seven per cent, the highest among all major economies. This was emphasised by the Finance Minister alongside that the Indian economy is on the right track. Highlights from the Defence budget and allocations for the Civil Aviation sector are included in the issue.

In a major tragedy that is currently unfolding, a major earthquake hit Türkiye and Syria leading to huge loss of life and infrastructure. India was amongst the first countries to respond with relief efforts. IAF swung into action and has sent 4 C-17 plane loads with NDRF teams, field hospital, doctors, paramedics, search and rescue (SAR) equipment, extrication tools, medical equipment and supplies. An overview of India’s emergency relief assistance is given in the magazine.

This special edition also looks back at the year 2022 through spotlighting major milestones in military aviation during the year that saw military aviation technology progress in leaps and bounds. Air Vice Marshal Sanjay Bhatnagar (Retd) highlights some such milestones, from hypersonic strike missiles to sixth generation combat aircraft. In another report, he also shares some major path breaking space events of 2022 when many significant activities and developments took place across the globe in the space domain.

In his Last Word, AVM Sanjay Bhatnagar (Retd) covers the importance of developing a domestic aero engine capability without which we will never be truly self-reliant. Aeroengine is one of the most complex and investment heavy systems to manufacture which is why the focus on developing them indigenously is crucial and need to be undertaken post haste.

In a milestone event, after more than half-a-century of production, curtains fell on the Boeing 747. The final 747, a 747-8 freighter, departed Boeing with great fanfare. Known far and wide as the ‘Queen of the Skies’, the final 747 took a unique, crown-shaped flight path on its way to entering the Atlas Air fleet. Ayushee Chaudhary traces the history of perhaps the most popular aircraft in the history.

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

Meet us at Hall C, Stall No. CS1.13 at the Aero India 2023.