While talking to SP’s Aviation, Air Marshal Nambiar recounted how the providential availability of Litening targeting pods for 5 Mirage 2000 aircraft helped changed the course of the Kargil War. The IAF was lucky. Laser-guided bombs were meant to be inducted the following year. Twenty years later, India must ensure timely procurement of equipment for adequate readiness, so that the outcome of military challenges is not left to chance or good luck.
This year, the Indian ForceS celebrated the 20th anniversary of the war with Pakistan in Kargil. This issue of SP’s Aviation carries a very timely and an exhaustive interview with Air Marshal Raghunath Nambiar, presently Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Air Command, who incidentally is one of the three front runners to be the next Chief of the Air Staff of the Indian Air Force on retirement of the present incumbent on September 30, 2019. Posted at Indian Air Force Station, Gwalior as a Wing Commander during the Kargil War, he undertook a highly successful mission against the Pakistani forces on Tiger Hill. He was flying the Mirage 2000 that was equipped with the Laser guided bomb and the aircraft was equipped with the Litening targeting pod that enabled him strike the enemy target with devastating accuracy.
An area in which Indian scientists have done the nation proud is that of space exploration. Having registered a number successes in this domain, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched Chandrayaan-2, its second mission to the Moon. For the future, Indian scientists have a number of lofty plans which include a mission to the Sun, the first manned mission in space with three astronauts and the establishment of a space station by 2030. Reports on the launch of Chandrayaan-2 by Ayushee Chaudhary and the status of India in the domain of space by Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha (Retd) figure in this issue of the magazine.
A major event on the global civil and military aviation scene in the recent past was the iconic Paris Air Show. The importance of this biennial event that was held from June 17 to 23 this year, can be judged from the fact that it was inaugurated by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron himself. With ‘innovation’ as the primary focus, the Air Show at Paris hosted a large number of exhibitors including start up companies from all across the world. A notable feature of the Paris Air Show was the thrust on efforts by the industry to address the challenge of degradation of the environment. The Air Show had on display aircraft with engines driven by electrical power in place of the conventional biofuels. A comprehensive report on the Paris Air Show by Ayushee Chaudhary of SP’s Aviation has been included in this issue.
This issue carries a report on Israel’s defence and aerospace manufacturing sector that is producing world class equipments. Israel, a very small country, has gradually and determinedly developed one of the largest aerospace and defence complex which has become the benchmark for self-reliance and aspiration for many countries to follow.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation has recorded a major achievement with the successful development of the Astra, its first all-weather Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile. This has propelled India into a group of just a few nations that have a weapon system of this capability and performance. A interesting column on Astra by Air Marshal S.B.P. Sinha (Retd) has been included in this issue.
All this and more in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and we wish you many happy landings!