Thursday, 26 February 2015

Exercise Surya Kiran VIII Commences In Nepal

The Eighth India-Nepal Battalion level Combined Military Training named  Exercise Surya Kiran-VIII, commenced on 23 Feb 15 at Integrated Army Training Centre, Saljhandi, Nepal, with an impressive opening ceremony that saw the unfurling of the National Flags of both countries.
The Nepalese Contingent was represented by a Battalion from an Infantry Division of Nepalese Army while Indian side was represented by an equivalent strength from a Mountain Brigade.   Major General Padam Villas Karki of Nepalese army welcomed the Indian soldiers and urged both contingents to achieve optimum cohesion and interoperability to achieve military objectives of the exercise. He stressed upon importance of free exchange of ideas and concepts between the troops and the necessity to learn each other’s experiences.
The focus of the ongoing exercise is to carry out Counter Insurgency and Counter Terrorist Operations in mountainous and jungle terrain and to practice facets of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief including actions to be taken during Pandemic, Epidemic and various other humanitarian assistance situations. Aviation aspects and environmental conservation are also included in the scope of this exercise.

The two week long exercise will see the contingents hone their tactical and technical skills in countering insurgency and terrorism. State of the art equipment for surveillance and tracking, specialist weapons for close quarter battle with terrorists, explosives and IED detectors, as well as the latest communication equipment are being fielded by both sides. Both sides will train, plan and execute a series of well developed combined tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats that may be encountered in Counter Insurgency / Counter Terrorism operations.

Last Ditch Effort For Rafale : French Defence Minister Meets Indian Counterpart

The French Defence Minister, Mr. Jean Yves Le Drian and the Union Minister for Defence, Shri Manohar Parrikar at a delegation level talks, in New Delhi on February 24, 2015.

Indian Coast Guard Undertakes 3 Search & Rescue Ops Off Jakhau, Gujarat

On the night/morning of 24-25 Feb 15, Indian Coast Guard undertook three different Search and rescue operations off the coast of Jakhau, Gujarat. Braving rough seas and weather conditions, ICG coordinated and rescued 21 precious lives from three sinking Barges during these operations. A brief detail of the incidents are enumerated below:-

Rescue of 04 Crew of Barge Sea Pearl.  At about 2230 hrs on 24 Feb 15 ICG Station Jakhau, Gujarat received a telephonic call from Port Officer, Jakhau Port regarding sinking of barge ‘Sea Pearl’ with 05 crew about 09 Nm into Jakhau sea. Within minutes ICG Hovercraft H-189 was immediately launched for Search and Rescue. Considering unfavorable sea conditions with sea state - 3, swell height about 2.5 m and winds gusting to 25 knots, Coast Guard Interceptor Boat C-408 was also sailed to augment the SAR operation. Additionally, Tug Lucky ex- M/s Sanghi Port operating in vicinity was also requested to assist in rescue operations.C-408 and H-189 successfully coordinated the rescue operation and 04 out of five crew members were rescued onboard Tug Lucky, while C-408 continued to search for the missing crew.

Rescue of 07 Crew of Barge Somya.  While engaged in search of the missing crew, at about 2340h, C 408 was informed of another distress onboard barge ‘Somaya’ of M/s MK Shipping, with 07 crew onboard, which was sinking close to barge Sea Pearl due to flooding in engine room. C-408 braving rough sea- conditions along with three other Barges SP-1, Jakhau –III and Muskan-I co-ordinated rescue efforts and rescued all the 07 crew from Barge Somaya. All the rescued crew were then transferred to Barge SP-1 and directed to return Jakhau port while C-408 and ACV H-189 continued to search for one of the missing crew of Barge Sea Pearl.

Rescue of 15 Crew of Barge SP-1 .  Further, At about 0250 h on 25 Feb 15, Barge ‘SP-1’ while proceeding for Jakhau Port ran aground about 02 Nm from nearest land and her lower compartments were flooded. ACV H-189 was again diverted for assistance and successfully rescued all the 15 crew (10 crew of SP-1 and 05 rescued crew of barge Somaya) from Barge SP-1. The rescued crew was then brought to Jakhau and handed over to representatives of M/s Jakhau Salt. 

The search for one missing crew of Barge Sea Pearl is still in progress.

Army Chief Presents President's Standards To 44 Armoured Regiment

General Dalbir Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, on behalf of the Hon’ble President of India, Shri Paranb Mukherjee, presented the President’s ‘Standards’ to 44 Armoured Regiment at Suratgarh Military Station on 25 Feb 2015. 

Lieutenant General Arun Kumar Sahni, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Sapta Shakti Command, Lieutenant General PM Hariz, General Officer Commanding, Chetak Corps and a number of senior officers and civil dignitaries were present. The chief host of event was Major General Gurjeet Singh Chima, Additional Director General, HQ NCC (Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh & Chandigarh) and Colonel of 44 Armoured Regiment. 

This honour has been bestowed upon 44 Armoured Regiment in due recognition of the dedicated and meritorious service rendered by the regiment since raising on 15 December 1981. 44 Armoured Regiment has participated in a large number of operations undertaken by the Army since its raising. The regiment has been duly recognised with the award of two Vishisht Seva Medals, one Uttam Jeevan Rakshak Padak, 21 Chief of the Army Staff Commendation Cards, six Vice Chief of Army Staff Commendation Cards, 19 General Officer Commanding in Chief Commendation Cards and one United Nations Force Commander Commendation. 

The Parade was commanded by Colonel Arjun Uppal, Commandant 44 Armoured Regiment. To commemorate this historic event, the Chief of the Army Staff also released a “Special Day Cover”. 

Spending soars. Yet, India's military in crisis

The defence budget of India—the world’s largest arms importer—has more than doubled over the past decade from Rs 80,500 crore to Rs 229,000 crore for the financial year 2014-15.

India is expected to spend Rs 94,587.95 crore in 2014-15 as capital expenditure, a 20% increase from Rs 78,872.23 crore last year

Yet, the defence forces are critically short of arms, and men and women at arms.

The army, navy and air force are short of officers by 17% (7,989), 17% (1,499) and 3% (357) respectively, according to latest data tabled in the Lok Sabha. Consider the arms deficits in the three services:

–The Indian Air Force (IAF) is short of 272-306 fighter aircraft (as this IndiaSpend report explains) and 56 medium transport aircraft.

–The Indian Army needs about 3,000 to 3,600 artillery guns, 66,0000 assault rifles, 2 lakh pairs of ankle leather boots and 66,000 rounds of armour-piercing ammunition for T-90 tanks.

–The navy needs 12 diesel-electric submarines, 6 nuclear attack submarines and 7 stealth frigates.

The three defence wings also collectively need more than 1,000 helicopters. This is an indicative list: The actual list of defence requirements and shortages is longer.

Yet, the Ministry of Defence ­accounts for the second-highest share of India’s budget, after the finance ministry.

The defence budget accounts for 1.78% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 12.76% of total central government expenditure, said Amit Cowshish, distinguished fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).
The revenue-to-capital ratio of the defence budget is 60:40. Revenue expenditure is for payment of salaries and maintenance of defence bases and equipment. Capital expenditure is for equipment purchases and modernisation.

India is expected to spend Rs 94,587.95 crore in 2014-15 as capital expenditure, a 20% increase from Rs 78,872.23 crore last year.

“The requirement of funds (for defence purchases) is directly related to carried-forward committed liabilities and signing of new contracts,” Cowshish said in an email interview with IndiaSpend. As a result, the forces could expect a similar increase in the 2015-16 budget “if – and this now seems to be a big if – new projects, such as the one for a new combat aircraft, go through”.

Let us now look at sector-wise allocations of the defence budget.

Among the three defence wings, the army has consistently cornered the highest funding. In 2014-2015, It accounted for Rs 92,601.32 crore, which is 40% of total expenditure,  followed by the air force and navy at Rs 20,506.84 crore (9%) and Rs 13,975.79 crore (6%), respectively.

The pension question

The budget allocation does not take defence pensions into account, as this is placed under a different budget head. The MoD allocated Rs 50,000 crore for defence pensions in 2014-2015, an increase of 9% from Rs 45,500 crore in 2013-14.

Last year’s budget earmarked Rs 1,000 crore for the one-rank-one-pension scheme for ex-servicemen. This might grow to an estimated Rs 8,000 crore this year, as the Times of India reported.

More than two million ex-servicemen in India have been demanding one-rank-one-pension, which ensures that the same pension is paid to personnel who have retired in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of retirement date.

Funding research and development

Investing in defence research and development (R&D) is expected to boost India’s indigenous arms industry and reduce its dependence on imports. The Indian government spent 42.7% of defence capital expenditure on arms imports in 2013-2014, according to data tabled in the Lok Sabha.

As we mentioned before, India is the world’s largest importer of arms as per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), an independent international institute that researches conflicts, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

The MoD has almost doubled the capital expenditure for R&D to Rs 9,298.25 crore in 2014-2015 from Rs 5,257.60 crore in 2013-2014. Besides, the MoD has provided Rs 5,984.67 crore for salaries and maintenance of research centres.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

AERO INDIA 2015 News, Discussion and Pics.




February 18-22, 2015
Bangalore, India

The AERO INDIA exhibition, organized by the Indian Ministry of Defense is the largest air show in Asia and has become a "must attend" for U.S. Companies interested in exporting to India.

Taking place in Bangalore, India from February 18-22, 2015, this premiere event will be a dynamic export opportunity for American aerospace & defense suppliers. The 2013 show featured over 600 exhibitors, all showcasing their technologies, products, innovations & enthusiasm to do business in the region. The show hosted over 400 official delegations consisting of Defense Ministers, Air Chiefs, and Ministers of State from over 50 countries. The Indian Aviation market is booming, and now is the time to make your mark with an exhibit in the government-supported U.S. Pavilion at Aero India 2015.

Lockheed Martin presents Mini Hit-to-Kill at Aero India 2015

The MHTK is meant to intercept a variety of targets that include rockets, artillery, mortar (C-RAM or Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortar), as well as, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).


US defense and aviation company Lockheed Martin presented its Miniature Hit-to-Kill (MHTK) interceptor concept, which is part of the US Army’s Extended Area Protection and Survivability (EAPS) program, for the defense of vital installations and positions from incoming aerial projectiles

The Miniature Hit-to-Kill concept being tested | Photo: Lockheed Martin

The MHTK is meant to intercept a variety of targets that include rockets, artillery, mortar (C-RAM or Counter Rockets, Artillery and Mortar), as well as, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). In battlefield and border environments, mortar fire can cause the highest number of casualties, being more common than other area weapons, like on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB).

Christopher R. Jackson, Manager of International Business Development for the MHTK system for Lockheed Martin spoke to StratPost about it and according to him, while other systems rely on the explosive force of internally carried ordnance and proximity blasts to take out aerial threats, the MHTK carries no ordnance at all and relies only on the accuracy of its targeting system, the speed of the rocket motor and the mass of the interceptor.

He said that while other systems create two to three mJ (mega Joules) of energy the Mini Hit-to-Kill generates 200 to 300 mJ of kinetic energy through its sheer momentum.

The Miniature Hit-to-Kill in flight | Photo: Lockheed Martin

With a length of 71 centimeters, diameter of less than 50 millimeters and a mass of less than 3 kilograms, each MHTK system can protect an area with a radius of 2-3 sq kilometers and a range of 3-4 kilometers. With an NLOS (Non Line of Sight) launcher with a capacity of 135 rounds, incoming projectiles are spotted and tracked by a ground-based Fire Control Sensor radar and then illuminated by a Target Acquisition Radar (TAR). Meanwhile the MHTK interceptors with semi-active seekers are vertically launched from the NLOS launcher and home in on the illumination reflected from the projectile and destroy it by force of impact.

Jackson said that while they’ve ‘done some test shots’ on ‘test bed radars’, Lockheed Martin is looking for international partners for the project and Jackson thinks the development of the MHTK could be a good fit for the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, in addition to a solution for protection against mortars and other projectiles for Indian personnel.



The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha in a HAWK MK 132 simulator at Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., during the Aero India-2015, in Bangalore on February 19, 2015.


Visitors crowd the static aircraft display area on the second day of Aero India 2015 at Yelahanka air base in Bangalore.




C 17 Globemaster seen at the Aero India 2015 in Bengaluru on Friday. DH Photo.

Pics : DPR

Curtains on the five-day aerial extravaganza at Aero India 2015 came down at Air Force Station, Yelahanka, in Bengaluru, today. 

With the business part earlier winding up in the first three days, the weekend show witnessed more than 100,000 people thronging the venue on each days. 

With ‘Make in India’ being central to Aero India 2015 theme, defence manufacturing, airport infrastructure, aerospace, defence and civil aviation sectors were among the focus at the event. 

While tangibles from the several business-to-business and round table meetings that took place will take time to be assessed, Aero India 2015 ends on a successful note. 

Barring a mid-air collision between Red Bull members, which was handled with a very high degree of professionalism with no injury to anyone on ground or air, aerial displays continued to enthral audiences till the end. 

Debuting on social media platforms, an effort was also made by the Directorate of Public Relations, Ministry of Defence to reach out to the ever-increasing social media followers worldwide providing updates and glimpses from the air show venue.

Women Officers Now In Sarang Team

Women officers in the Indian Air Force continue to storm new bastions. The IAF’s much heralded helicopter display team ‘Sarang’ now boasts of a women pilot Squadron Leader Deepika Misra and a woman engineering officer, Flight Lieutenant Sandeep Singh in their team marking new beginnings.
It was during her passing out parade at Air Force Academy, in December 2006 that Deepika Misra, then a Flight Cadet, first fell in love with the aerobatic displays by the ‘Surya Kirans’ and ‘Sarang’, IAF’s fixed-wing and rotary-wing aerobatic display teams respectively.
Deepika imagined herself flying some day in either of the formation flying teams. Back then however, it seemed an impossible dream. But she never gave up hopes and prayed hard.
She was commissioned in the helicopter stream and was posted to a Chetak/Cheetah helicopter unit. Women short service commissioned pilots were only permitted to fly these single engine helicopters then.
In a major policy shift in 2010, IAF allowed conversion of women pilots to twin-engine category of medium to heavy-lift helicopters. Deepika felt extremely lucky.
Having notched up nearly 1,600 hours on Chetak and Cheetah helicopters after her two stints at Bareilly and Udhampur, Deepika was more than ready when the opportunity came.
IAF had meanwhile also sought volunteers from amongst women helicopter pilots to join the Sarang Team. Sqn Ldr Deepika had no hesitation and promptly volunteered for the new challenge. She was among the first to be inducted into the indigenously built Advanced Light Helicopter while a few others joined the Mi-8/Mi-17 class of helicopters.
Sqn Ldr Deepika joined the Sarang Unit last July. Her prayers were now answered. In the process, she also became the first IAF woman pilot ever to join a formation display team.
Incidentally, Deepika’s husband, Sqn Ldr Sourabh Kakkar, an aeronautical engineering officer was already posted to the Sarang unit and the couple would now be a team.
Deepika would not remain the only women officer in the Sarang outfit for long. Flt Lt Sandeep, a lady engineering officer would soon join her in the Sarang unit. Both Deepika and Sandeep now share a rare camaderie as among the first and the only two lady officers in the Sarang team.
Incidentally, ‘Sarang’ is the only second military helicopter display team in the world after ‘Blue Eagles’, the British Royal Army Corps helicopter display team.
Having begun her conversion in right earnest, Sqn Ldr Deepika is nearing completion of her operational conversion before beginning her flying as a Sarang formation member. She is training hard and understanding the nuances of formation flying, which was always among her most favourite flying profiles.
Sarangs are the show-stoppers at the ongoing Aero India 2015. For the present, Sqn Ldr Deepika is happy doing her role as the ‘Safety Officer’ of the team. She is required to monitor the formation display and debrief the team members after the sortie. “It is a great learning process,” she says.
Meanwhile, an onerous responsibility rests on the shoulders of Flt Lt Sandeep. Keeping the metal birds serviceable at all times is her responsibility along with six other engineering officers. Having another lady officer in the team as a flying member is a great source of inspiration, she says.
Both Deepika and Sandeep are, however, sure of one thing. They have a great responsibility to uphold the highest standards expected of them and are hopeful that someday there will also be an all-women team in one of the ALH in the Sarang quartet.
As she steps out for her day’s flying job, Sqn Ldr Deepika feels happy to tell Aalya, her bewildered four-year old daughter that she will look out for her from the sky. It seems only a matter of time when little Aalya will get used to seeing her mother perform aerial ballad. Perhaps someday she too may just follow into her mother’s role.

Day 2 Aero India 2015 : Mid-air Collision Of 2 Red Bull Aerobatics Planes, No Casualties

Mid-air collision of 2 Red Bull aerobatics planes today at Aero India .Wing tips touched causing damage to the planes, but no casualties

Photos : Aero India 2015 Day 1

Day One : Aero India 2015

Text of address by Prime Minister at Aero India Show

"My ministerial colleagues, Distinguished participants and guests I am delighted to participate in the 10th edition of Aero India. 

More than 250 Indian companies and more than 300 foreign firms are here. There are defence ministers, senior officials and hundreds of business leaders from around the world. 

A big welcome to each of you! 

This is the largest ever Aero India. This reflects a new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India. 

To many of you, India is a major business opportunity. 

We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. 

That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One! 

Our security challenges are well known. Our international responsibilities are evident. We do need to increase our defence preparedness. We do have to modernize our defence forces. 

We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role. 

As a nation of one billion people, we also have huge requirements for managing internal security. 

We are increasingly integrating technology and systems into it. These opportunities make Aero India an important international event. 

For me, this is not just a trade fair for defence equipment. This is a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains, with the most advanced technology and complex equipment 

And, a platform to launch India's defence manufacturing sector. A nation with a strong defence industry will not only be more secure. It will also reap rich economic benefits. 

It can boost investment, expand manufacturing, support enterprise, raise the technology level and increase economic growth in the country. 

In India, the defence industry in the government sector alone employs nearly 200,000 workers and thousands of engineers and scientists. They produce an output of nearly 7 billion dollars annually. It also supports a very large pool of small and medium enterprises. 

Our defence industry in private sector is still small. But, it already employs thousands of people. 

This is despite the fact that nearly 60% of our defence equipment continues to be imported. And, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on acquisitions from abroad. 

There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. 

If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry. 

Imagine the impact in terms of jobs created directly and in the related manufacturing and services sector! 

Think of the spin off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies! 

That is why we are focusing on developing India's defence industry with a sense of mission. 

This is why it is at the heart of our Make in India programme. 

We are reforming our defence procurement policies and procedures. There would be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. 

Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision making. 

We have raised the permitted level of Foreign Direct Investment to 49%. This can go higher, if the project brings state-of-the art technology. 

We have permitted investments up to 24% by Foreign Institutional Investments. And, there is no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake. 

Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified. 

We are expanding the role of private sector, even for major platforms. Our goal is to provide a level playing field for all. 

We speak in terms of national capacity, not public sector or private sector. 

Offsets system is a crucial instrument to develop and upgrade our defence industry. 

We have introduced significant reforms in our offsets policy. I am acutely aware that it still needs a lot of improvements. We will pursue them in consultation with domestic industry and our foreign partners. 

I want our offsets policy not as a means to export low-end products, but to acquire state-of-the art technology and skills in core areas of priority. 

Government's support for research and development is essential for defence sector. And, it should also be accompanied by a degree of assurance on purchase. 

We are introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding from the Government for development of a prototype in India. And, we are also launching a Technology Development Fund. 

For too long, our research and development has been confined to government laboratories. We must involve our scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development. 

Last month at the Army Day Reception, I had asked to meet our officers and soldiers, who had made the best innovations in our defence equipment. I was impressed with what I saw. 

Finally, we have made our export policies clearer, simpler and predictable. But, we will also abide by the highest standards of export controls and international responsibility. 

We will expand our exports, but we will ensure that our equipment and technology do not fall into the wrong hands. 

India's record in this area has been impeccable and it will remain so. 

I am pleased with the positive impact of our policies. 

Indian private corporations have responded with enthusiasm. There is new excitement in our small and medium scale sector. Many of the biggest global firms are forming strategic partnerships in India. 

Some of them have already begun using India as part of their global supply chains or engineering services. 

In September 2014 Dynamatic Technologies and its collaborator Boeing inaugurated a plant in India to manufacture critical parts for a Boeing helicopter that is sold globally. I understand that it was a day after Make in India was launched. 

I am pleased to learn that the first set of parts is ready for shipment today. 

But, we still need to do more. 

We have to further reform our acquisition and approval processes. We must indicate a clear roadmap of our future needs. 

This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges. 

We must pay attention to developing supply chains, with emphasis on innovation. 

We must bridge the gap between prototype development and quality of production. 

We must develop a financing system suited to the special needs of this industry. It is a market where buyers are mainly governments, the capital investments are large and the risks are high. 

We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports. 

More broadly, our defence industry will succeed more if we can transform the manufacturing sector in India. 

We need great infrastructure, sound business climate, clear investment policies, ease of doing business, stable and predictable tax regime, and easy access to inputs. 

We need a national industry that produces advanced materials, the most sophisticated electronics and the best engineering products. 

Over the last eight months, we have worked hard to create that environment for you. 

Above all, we need a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. 

Our aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years. 

We will set up special universities and skill development centres to cater to our defence industry, just as we have done in atomic energy and space. 

I have especially invited the State Governments to come here with package of facilities to attract investments in defence manufacturing. 

Distinguished guests, 

This is a new era for the defence industry in India. 

It will be no longer enough to buy equipment and simply assemble them here. We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago. 

Frankly, our public sector needs to do much better than they are doing now. We have to exploit their huge assets and a vast potential. At the same time, we have to make them accountable. 

We want to develop an industry is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. 

I am confident that India will emerge as a major global centre for defence industry. 

We have the basic building blocks for it in India; and, a large nation requirement. 

We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. 

From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners. 

We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength. 

The nature of industry is such that imports will always be there. 

In turn, they can use India as part of their global supply chain. 

Defence budgets around the world are becoming tighter. India's frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors can help reduce costs. 

India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India's growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond. 

A strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. 

Aero India can be a catalyst in realizing our goals. That is why I am here today. 

So, as we look at these wonderful aircraft and enjoy the amazing fly pasts, I also hope we can get some business done. 

And, sow the seeds of successful new ventures and partnerships – to give our people new opportunities, to make our nations safer, and the world more stable and peaceful. 

Thank you. "

Day Zero : Pix Aero India 2015

Aero India-2015 : IAF’S Sarang Helicopter Display Team To Set Hearts Aflutter

Air shows are essentially about business meetings and exhibits of military hardware and merchandise. But over the years the reputation of Aero India, now into its tenth edition has also been assiduously built by magnificent displays – static and aerial – by both civil and military aircraft, including participation by famed aerobatic teams from around the world enthralling audiences.

Aero India 2015 is also being much talked about and anticipated as world-acclaimed aerobatics teams – Breitling Wingwalkers (US), Scandinavian Air Show, Flying Bulls from Czech Republic, Yakovlevs formation display team from UK – are set to captivate the young and old onlookers alike.

While all aerobatic display teams are enthralling to watch the widest and loudest applause is usually reserved for our very own Indian aerobatics team ‘Sarang’ flown by young IAF helicopter pilots who are usually the show-stoppers whenever they take to the sky.

The IAF Sarang Helicopter Display Team has the unique distinction of being one of only two helicopter display teams in the world, the other being ‘Blue Eagles’ of the British Army.

The team evolved from the erstwhile ‘Advanced Light Helicopter’ Evaluation Flight (AEF) formed at Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE), Bangalore, on March 18, 2002. 

The leitmotif ‘Sarang’ is derived from Sanskrit for ‘peacock’. The helicopters have been painted in bright colours with the peacock form superimposed on them.  It is today a widely and easily recognised artwork on these indigenously built helicopters.

“It attempts to symbolise the beauty and grace of the peacock during the display,” explains Sarang Team Leader, Wing Commander AS Abhyankar. A qualified flying instructor and now Commanding Officer of the outfit, the return to Aero India for Wg Cdr Abhyankar and a few others is a déjà vu moment. Abhyankar first flew in the 2003 Aero India edition as a young Flight Lieutenant.

The Sarang team first debuted at the Asian Aerospace Air show at Singapore in Feb 2004. Since then, the team has performed in over 35 air shows in India and abroad. Their scintillating performance at Al Ain Aerobatic Show, UAE, in Jan 2005, earned them a reputation as one of the best display teams in the world.

In Berlin air show of May 2008, the team was adjudged as the ‘best looking close formation team’. The team made history after five of its helicopters ferried across the English Channel from Germany to the United Kingdom.

“We are compelled to give bang for the buck,” says Wing Commander Mudit Chaurasia, a sub-section leader in the formation who flies as ‘Sarang-2’. Mudit has also flown in three previous editions of Aero India. “We have done shows all over the world but we get the maximum appreciation here,” he enthusiastically adds.

The ‘Sarang’ team continuously strives to modify and perform new profiles for each display. While it is natural to expect daring and precise formation displays by fixed wing aircraft it is difficult for helicopters to perform similar manoeuvres owing to the inherent instability and large and unwieldy rotors, explains Sarang-2 leader Mudit. “This is what makes them so special and unique,” he adds.

Having flown in several major air shows worldwide including at RIAT (Royal International Air Tattoo), Fairford, UK among others, Wg Cdr Chaurasia singles out his recent air show in November last over Passighat in Arunachal Pradesh as memorable. It is mostly in valleys of the northeast or J&K where most IAF helicopters earn their spurs early in their flying career.

What audiences will see at Aero India 2015?

The Sarang profile will begin with entry in an inverted wine glass formation. This will be followed by various close formations in ‘Line Astern’ and ‘Diamond’ formation to facilitate a closer look at the helicopters for the audience.

Three helicopters then group together to perform the star manoeuvre which is unique to helicopter flying – the ‘stall turn’ known as the ‘Dolphin’s Leap’. The team then continually keeps the audience glued to the skies with their breath-taking manoeuvres.

The team then regroups for its final signature manoeuvre ‘The Sarang Split’ involving the four helicopters criss-crossing each other vertically and horizontally to form a knot.

The Sarang Team

Apart from the two Sarang leaders, other team members include Wing Commanders Vinod Negi, the deputy Team Leader, Wing Commanders S Saravanavel, PR Ponnappa, Squadron Leaders G Komar, AS Pawar, SK Mishra, Milind Londhe, Daish and SS Barsing, who is the latest entrant to the team.

Squadron Leader Deepika Misra is the first and the only woman pilot in the team and has the onerous responsibility as the Team Safety Officer. Two pilots always remain on standby with the fifth helicopter in case of any eventuality while a quartet is flying.

The flying machines are kept airworthy at all times by a team led by Wing Commander Tarundeep Puri, Senior Engineering officer. Others in the team include Squadron Leaders Sourabh Kakkar and Joydeep, Flight Lieutenants Bharat Bajaj, Chandan Kumar, Sandeep Tewatia besides others.

Wing Commander Bhavana Mehra the team administrator also does the commentary for the displays. She has the distinguished privilege of being the commentator for not only the Sarang team but also with the erstwhile Suryakiran Aerobatic Team.

Thales At Aero India 2015

ThalesRaytheonSystems has been awarded a contract by the DGA,the French defense procurement agency, to supply the French armed forces with 12 fixed Ground Master 400 radars and 4 mobile tactical Ground Master 200 radars. In addition to delivery and through-life support of the radars, the contract awarded on 8 December includes installation and civil engineering work for the 12 Ground Master 400 radars.

This contract is part of the SCCOA* air command and control program for which ThalesRaytheonSystems is the main supplier. France has already acquired Ground Master radars for its military bases in Kourou, Nice and Lyon. The radar in Kourou, the first of its kind to enter operational service in France, was inaugurated on 27 November 2014.

Like the other Ground Master radars already integrated within SCCOA, the new radars will be coupled with the NATO ACCS**. They will thus provide airspace monitoring, a high-priority mission under the country's Permanent Security Posture (PSP), and ground-based air defense detection.Jérôme Bendell, Chief Executive Officer of ThalesRaytheonSystems France, said: “ThalesRaytheonSystems is proud to be contributing with its Ground Master radars to the modernization of France’s air surveillance capability, which is already underway with the delivery of these latest-generation radars for the bases in Kourou, Nice and Lyon.”

The Ground Master 400 and Ground Master 200 belong to the family of 3D air defense radars built by Thales. The Ground Master range of fully digital, multi-role air defense radars is dedicated to airspace surveillance and the protection of key assets and expeditionary forces. These systems are specifically designed to deliver high detection performance, high operational availability, excellent mobility and simplified maintenance. They are able to detect a vast array of modern threats such as UAVs from very low to very high altitude. More than 80 Ground Master radars have been sold around the world.

The SCCOA program is designed to provide airspace surveillance and control and air operations command and control.capability for French forces. It is an incremental program designed to evolve and increase this capability to assure air surveillance, space situational awareness, control of military and government flights, and air operations The Air Command and Control System (ACCS), for which ThalesRaytheonSystems is prime contractor, is designed to adapt to evolving NATO operations, with continued advancements to AirC2 or additional ballistic missile defense capabilities. ACCS will provide the solid command and control foundation needed for future 

Alliance missions. ACCS is a smart defense system in that it provides all NATO nations with a common basis for training, standard procedures and centralized maintenance, significantly reducing support costs and increasing 

ThalesRaytheonSystems is an international company specializing in air defense systems, air command and control systems, 3D air defense radars, battlefield and counterbattery radars. Since its inception in 2001, 

ThalesRaytheonSystems has become one of the defense industry’s most successful transatlantic joint ventures. The company employs 1,400 people and is equally owned by Thales and Raytheon.

Aero India 2015 Gets Underway- ‘Make In India' Theme To Propel Self Reliance In Defence Production

The 10th biennial edition of International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition – Aero India 2015 – got off to a spectacular start at Air Force Station, Yelahanka in Bengaluru today.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi formally inaugurated the event that has ‘Make in India’ as its theme. A formation of three Mi-8 helicopters timed with the Prime Minister’s arrival, trooping the National tricolour, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Aero India flags set off the aviation-related event. 
Also present were Karnataka Governor Shri Vajubhai Vala, Union Ministers for Defence, Shri Manohar Parrikar; Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju; Law and Justice, Shri DV Sadananda Gowda; Chemicals and Fertilisers, Shri Ananth Kumar, Karnataka Chief Minister, Shri Siddaramiah and Minister of State (Defence), Shri Rao Inderjit Singh among others.

The three Service Chiefs, Secretaries of Defence, and Defence Production, delegations from several foreign countries, senior serving officers from the three Services, veterans, and senior executives from defence industries were also present.

“Given the security scenario of our country, it is very important that India becomes self-sufficient in defence and defence production,” Defence Minister Parrikar said in his welcome address. He also said that the Department of Defence Production has taken upon itself to make Prime Minister’s clarion call of ‘Make in India’ in defence production a success.
Organised by the Department of Defence Production, 635 aerospace companies and nearly 300 CEOs from India and abroad including delegates from 42 countries are participating in the five-day aerospace exhibition.

The aerial display that followed the inauguration began with an IAF vintage Tiger Moth reminding of our modest origins in the then emerging era of warplanes.

Transcending into the present era, and aptly in keeping with the ‘Make in India’ theme, two indigenous creations - Light Combat Aircraft and a Light Combat Helicopter – dotted the horizon in quick succession showcasing India’s technological leap in aircraft production.
A Sukhoi-30 MKI then left the gathering spellbound with its versatility and agility. This was followed with impressive displays by an F-16 and a French Rafale jet fighter.

After the deafening roars of the jets subsided, aerial stunts were performed by few foreign aerobatic teams. 

The show-stopping moment was provided by ‘Sarang’, the IAF’s helicopter display team in their sprightly coloured, peacock-themed, Advanced Light Helicopters.
By the time Aero India 2015 ends on Sunday, thousands would have witnessed the aerial spectacle even as serious business deals get negotiated propelling self-reliance in defence production in keeping with the credo - Make in India.

PM Checks Out LCA Tejas At Aero India 2015

DRDO To Showcase Wheeled UAV At Aero India 2015

Panchi, Wheeled UAV

Indian Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO)'s in-service surveillance drone, Panchi will be showcased in the upcoming Aero India Airshow commencing from 18-22 Feb 2015.

The UAV currently available with the the Army is an un-wheeled version launched from a pneumatic rail launcher and uses a parachute drop system for recovery.

With the expansion of airfield infrastructure, including in forward areas, both services, along with agencies under the Home Ministry, have expressed the need for autonomous wheeled drones, SPS Aviation reported January 28.

The DRDO has been asked by the Army and IAF to build better surveillance payloads for the Nishant/Panchi and to concentrate on longer endurance versions of the vehicle in an Mk.2 configuration.

The Army and IAF feel that the rail launcher is convenient in terms of recovery but presents large logistical footprint for rapid operations, especially when airfield infrastructure is available.

The IAF is also waiting for the first flight of the Rustom 2 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV that the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) had promised will take place this year.

While the February deadline is likely to be missed, it could happen any time after June. The ADE and NAL are also expected to announce progress on their respective mini and micro drone programs that include possible contracts with police services and agencies under the Ministry of Home Affairs that have evinced interest in tactical systems.

Pilatus PC 12 NG Aircraft

Pilatus will showcase their next generation aircraft, the PC-12 NG at Aero India 2015, scheduled to be held between February 18 and 22 at Bengaluru.

The latest upgrade of the popular PC-12 has exciting new features to make the 2014/2015 PC-12 NG the best PC-12 to date.

The Pilatus PC-12 is the turbine-powered aircraft which has been in operation round the globe in a number of roles like executive transport, cargo, air-ambulance, airline, and government special mission applications.

Last year, the company launched the upgraded version, 2014 PC-12 NG, which has all the hallmarks of outstanding versatility, performance, and operational flexibility and incorporates new technology and a host of added features.

The new features added in 2014 PC-12 NG includes six new BMW Design works, USA executive interior options, a new electric landing gear system, external LED lighting, a wireless Connected Flight Deck system, and a Wi-Fi passenger entertainment system.

The response to the PC-12 NG as a business aircraft has been unprecedented and the showcase at Aero India 2015 is expected to give it an additional boost.

The turboprop has short runway performance and is approved to land on any kind of runway. Business visitors to the Airshow are bound to appreciate that the PC-12 NG is more efficient than its jet counterparts burning up to 40% less fuel per hour. That means less cost and less carbon footprint without sacrificing comfort.

The PC-12 NG completed the 1,300th delivery last year.

MKU To Showcase 6th Gen Armour Protection Technology At Aero India 2015

MKU will be showcasing’ 6th Generation armour protection technology ‘Modulare Schutz Technik' at Aero India, held from February 18th to 22nd, 2015.

‘ModulareSchutzTechnik’ uses advanced materials, and specialized manufacturing processes, to reduce the weight and thickness of armour solutions by almost 40%, resulting in operational benefits like increased useful payload and endurance.

The German engineered, revolutionary attachment systems enable the armour kits to be easily deployed on the aircraft, without necessitating any modification in the structure of the platform.

This unique process and technology keeps the air worthiness intact. The Patented and battle proven attachment systems allow the armour kits to be easily removed for alternate missions like rescue/transport etc. requiring full payload capacity.

Also on display at the exhibition would a range of body armor and night vision devices for aircraft pilots.

USAF to display F-15, F-16 at Aero India


The US Air Force will be sending two F-15 and one F-16 aircraft to Aero India 2015 to be held in Bangalore from February 18.

The Boeing F-15 Strike Eagle aircraft will fly from Kadena in Japan for what will be their first appearance at the Indian air show. F-15C aircraft have flown earlier in Indian skies, notably during the 2004 Cope India joint exercise held between the US Air Force and the Indian Air Force at Gwalior.

The US Air Force is also sending a single Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft, which was one of the two US contenders for the Indian Air Force tender for the 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA), besides the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

In addition to these, the US will be flying in a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, a US Navy P-8A Poseidon and a KC-135 aircraft.

The Indian Air Force already operates the Boeing C-17, while the Indian Navy operates the Boeing P-8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance (LRMR) aircraft.

The US is also planning to send a US Army Special Forces parachute display team to Aero India 2015.

Meanwhile, the French are planning to send in the winner of the six-contestant MMRCA competition, with three Rafale aircraft expected to display at the air show.

At the end of 2014, Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parikkar had broached the possibility of India ordering more Russian Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft, in case negotiations with Dassault for the Rafale aircraft fell through, after reports that the deal was in difficulty.