SP Guide Publications puts forth a well compiled articulation of issues, pursuits and accomplishments of the Indian Army, over the years

— General Manoj Pande, Indian Army Chief

I am confident that SP Guide Publications would continue to inform, inspire and influence.

— Admiral R. Hari Kumar, Indian Navy Chief

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

— Air Chief Marshal V.R. Chaudhari, Indian Air Force Chief

A Word from Editor

Issue: 04-2009By Jayant Baranwal - Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

An exclusive is often confused with the exceptional. If exclusives are sporadic and hard to come by, encountering the exceptional is breathtakingly refreshing. Both these attributes, however, have been captured between the covers of this edition. More so, in the Cover Story. Displaying exemplary candour and forthrightness in his first ever interview after taking over at the helm of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Ashok Nayak painstakingly underlines the public sector organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, potentials and progress to SP’s Senior Technical Group Editor Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey. We need to be impatient and patient at the same time, Nayak said. Impatient means, we need to drive ourselves towards implementation, and patience means, we have to give it a minimum time to take root.

Work culture, meanwhile, is in the spotlight as the eyes of the world’s defence industry are glued to India’s longwinded Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft project. Dogged by delays and labyrinthine procedures, current reports suggest the flight trials will be completed by October but probabilities of the exercise extending into the next year are high. Perspectives from some of the contenders who were forthcoming with their response to SP’s queries throw light on the comparative advantages and benefits. Penning their thoughts are Ambassador Douglas A. Hartwick, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin India Operations; Bernhard Gerwert, CEO Military Air Systems, EADS Defence & Security; and Eddy de la Motte, Marketing Director, Gripen International India. Amid all the excitement was the somewhat piquant news—a rumour, as it may well turn out to be—of Dassault having been ousted from the race.

Seeking clarification straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, SP’s approached the company’s India representative who categorically denied receiving any official intimation of any such development. On the contrary, we are going ahead with our preparations for the flight evaluations and the company is in constant touch with Air HQ, Dassault Aviation’s Deputy Delegate in India P.V. Rao confirmed. Even as the race hots up, the IAF on March 6 bid farewell to the MiG-23 BN, 29 years after its induction.

On the other end of the spectrum, an exhaustive analysis of the issues pertaining to corporate aviation crew reflects the allure and pitfalls of this attractive career option—ostensibly one of the best jobs in flying. Read on and do let us know if you agree.