Tuesday, August 04, 2015

LCA Mk.2 Operational Clearance Not Before 2022

And here's some official detail on timelines on the LCA Tejas Mk.2 fresh from Parliament, confirming Livefist reports on operational clearance nowhere before 2022. Here's Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar's full statement in Parliament today on the LCA Mk.2:

The project for design and development of Light combat Aircraft (LCA), Tejas Mk-II was sanctioned in November 2009 at a cost of Rs.2431.55 Crore with Probable Date of Completion (PDC) of December 2018.  However, because of delay in finalisation of Engine Contract, the project could start only in December 2013.  As a result, maiden flight of first Prototype and Operational Clearance are likely to be completed by December 2019 and December 2022, respectively.  There after induction.

Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Bengaluru is the Nodal Agency for design and development of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-II.  ADA has not entered into any collaboration with European Aircraft Manufacturers who had participated in the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tenders for development of Tejas Mk-II.  However, ADA may like to avail consultancy from some of them.

Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Mk-II would be an improved version of LCA Mk-I.  Some of the new systems / technologies, like Active Electrically Scanned Array (AESA) Radar, Unified Electronic Warfare (EW) Suite, On Board Oxygen Generation System (OBOGS), Upgraded Avionics, etc. are to be included in LCA Tejas Mk-II to make the aircraft more contemporary.  Technologies, systems engineering and experience gained during development of LCA Tejas Mk-II would benefit the development of Fifth Generation Aircraft indigenously.

Friday, July 31, 2015

And Now, Indian MoD Flags Sharp 'Shortcomings' In LCA Tejas

The continuing saga over India's LCA Tejas Mk.1 fighter continues, with the government today putting out in new detail the "shortcomings" in the platform expected to enter service over the next one year. Here's what it told Parliament today:

The following shortcomings have been reported in Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas-Mk-I:
1. Absence of Internal Jammer affecting survivability. 2. Aircraft performance shortfalls. 3. Maintainability issues.
The above shortcomings were primarily due to following reasons:
1. Internal jammer technology at that time was based on TWT amplifier which needed about 1000 ltr volume space for integration on aircraft. Hence it could not be accommodated at the time of development of LCA Tejas, Mk-I.
2. The maintainability issues were raised by Indian Air Force (IAF) late in 2009, when design and drawings were already frozen for Mk-I. However, many of the safety critical maintenance issues are already addressed in Mk-I.
3. Government has sanctioned project for development of LCA Mk-II in 2009. Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) is the prime agency for development of LCA Mk-II with the public and private partnerships.All the above mentioned shortcomings in LCA Mk-I have been addressed in LCA Mk-II version.

Flanker Vs. Typhoon: Glorious RAF Video From Ex-Indradhanush 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

'Most Interesting Exercise #Indradhanush Ever'

It's been one of the 'most interesting Indradhanush exercises ever', according to pilots at the Indo-UK air exercise underway in Coningsby. Detailed special report coming up.

Photos Courtesy @GordieNick89

Friday, July 03, 2015

Airbus-Mahindra Announce JV For Indian Helo Goldmine

Big development in the goldmine that is India's military helicopter requirement landscape. Airbus Helicopters and India's Mahindra Defence have announced a joint venture that will fight for the many big Indian helicopter competitions. As with most such things these days, it looks to align itself with PM Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' campaign.

"Both companies will now get into discussions to finalize the formation of the joint venture which will act as the prime contractor for India’s military helicopter tenders including the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Helicopter, the Naval Utility Helicopter and the Naval Multirole Helicopter procurement programs. The resulting joint venture aims to become the first private Indian helicopter manufacturer under the ‘Make in India’ initiative. This will create hundreds of high-tech jobs locally and lead to a flow of cutting edge technologies to India should it be selected in the governmental helicopter tenders," a joint statement said.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Scam That Wasn't? @IndiaToday's Broadcast On The #VVIPChopperGate Twist

The Scam That Wasn't? Here go the full broadcasts of INDIA TODAY report last evening on the final Italian court judgement in (inter-alia) the AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam case. Among other things, the judgement fully exonerates ex-IAF chief Air Chief Marshal (Retd) S.P. Tyagi. He was in our studios last night. Videos of the two broadcasts above.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Heartbreaking Anguish Of 3 Missing Coast Guard Pilots' Wives

It's been over a week since Indian Coast Guard Dornier Do-228 airframe number CG791 went missing off India's east coast on a routine night patrol mission. A big and sustained search operation with air, surface and sub-surface assets has continued in the Bay of Bengal ever since. Three days ago, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard spotted an oil slick and detected a weak but intermittent signal from beneath the surface -- believed to be the aircraft's emergency locator ping. An Indian Navy Kilo (INS Sindhudhvaj) continues to sonar-sweep the seabed to zero in on what could be the wreck.

I spoke this morning to Deepa Lakshmi, the wife of one of the missing crew members, Subash Suresh, a day after she tweeted to the Indian PM asking for his personal attention in the effort. She told me she was fully satisfied with the information that was being shared with her by the Indian Coast Guard and Navy, but 'shattered and anxious', she could think of nothing else but to reach out to the PM. I don't think anyone can imagine what Deepa, Sushma (wife of pilot Sai Vidyasagar) and Amruta (wife of co-pilot Manoj Soni) are going through.

Deepa spoke to my India Today colleague Shreesha Reddy today. She said, "The brain understands that a lot of things are happening, but the heart is making us do all this, the tweets and messages. We have complete faith in the government of India and the Coastguard. If the PM can put in a word, perhaps things will move faster. There is nothing that has happened to us to lose hope that we have lost our boy. He is going to come back to us. He is there somewhere, but don't know where he is. Though it is emotional, we are very confident and have not lost hope on anything."

According to the last formal update from the Indian Coast Guard yesterday, "Intense search for missing ICG aircraft continues relentlessly by Coast Guard and Naval ships and aircraft for the seventh consecutive day. The submarine operations continued for detection of acoustic signal from the Sonar Locator Beacon (SLB)  of the missing aircraft. Feeble /sporadic signals received are being reconfirmed by probe equipment of National Institute of Oceanography (NIOT) embarked onboard ICG Ship. A total of eight ships and aircraft of the ICG and IN continue to search in the most probable area. Aerial search is also being continued with the deployment of ICG and IN aircraft.  A total of 136 hours have been flown so far by the ICG and IN aircraft towards search.  Research vessel 'Sagarnidhi' arrived at 1000 hrs today and undertaking subsurface search and seabed profiling for ascertaining the position of missing aircraft."