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My compliments to SP Guide Publications for informative and credible reportage on contemporary aerospace issues over the past six decades.

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A Word from Editor-in-Chief

With decision making in the Ministry of Defence picking up speed, the IAF can now proceed with confidence to formulate plans to address the issues of critical shortages in aircraft

Issue: 06-2015By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Over the last three weeks there has been a fierce debate raging in the media over the performance of the NDA Government that has completed one year in office and opinions are divided on predictable lines. While the opposition parties seem to have launched a combined full-scale frontal assault on the government accusing it of having done nothing to fulfil the lofty promises made during the election campaign, as far as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is concerned, there is some reason to cheer about. Practically all the cases of procurement of aircraft be it fighters, transport aircraft or rotary-wing platforms, some of which had been pending for years, have been cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council of the Ministry of Defence for financial sanction by the competent authority and signing of contracts.

Although there has been some downward revision in numbers as in the case of the Dassault Rafale fighter jet, there is clearly forward movement which is a refreshing change from the past. With decision making in the Ministry of Defence picking up speed, the IAF can now proceed with confidence to formulate plans to address the issues of critical shortages in aircraft and pilots as was observed by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence a few months ago.

The IAF has also been in the news for having fulfilled a long-time aspiration of using portions of national highways as runways for combat aircraft to land after a mission should the regular runways be bombed by the enemy aircraft while the aircraft were away in enemy territory on a mission. Incidentally this concept was developed during World War II; but the IAF could replicate it only 75 years later. In any case, better late than never.

The 51st edition of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, the largest such event in the world, is scheduled to be held from June 15 to 21 this year and promises to be truly an iconic event with all major players in the global aerospace industry showcasing their latest products both civil and military. From an Indian perspective, the Paris International Air Show will be of immense significance as Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ theme is definitely going to resonate at Le Bourget.

On the civil aviation front, manufacturers of regional airliners are eyeing the growing market primarily in China, Latin America, Africa and Asia with the demand being driven significantly by the rise of the middle class in these countries. In China alone, Embraer estimates that the nation’s domestic carriers would need 950 regional jets over the next two decades accounting for 14 per cent of the global demand.

In the regime of business aviation, at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition 2015 which concluded recently in Geneva, Switzerland, there were clear indications that the business jet segment of the civil aviation industry was on the path to recovery. In a market report released by Bombardier, the number of business jets expected to be delivered globally over the next decade is pegged at 9,000. Another event of global significance related to business aviation was witnessed when on June 2 this year, Dassault Aviation unveiled the most technologically advanced business jet from its stables, the Falcon 5X which had been keenly awaited. The Falcon 5X establishes a new benchmark in the large cabin, long-range business aviation market as it will be more fuel-efficient than any other business jet in its category.

All these apart from the regular features in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and happy landings!