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: 06-2009By Jayant Baranwal - Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

While Paris hosted the world’s biggest aerospace event at the Le Bourget Exhibition Centre, back home, haunted by its past follies, Air India grappled with a script gone horribly wrong

If ever there is an aviation crisis in India that could assume the proportions of a national catastrophe, this is it. That Air India was beset by problems and buckling under mounting losses was no secret and elicited at most placatory noises—after all, in these troubled times, which airline can wager on a healthy bottom line. That the rot has sunk in so deep as to threaten its very survival came as a stinging blow. Almost without warning, the media was abuzz with damning revelations of gross mismanagement, misadventures and, shockingly, misappropriation. While the government was generous in responding to the airline’s petition for a bailout, the rider was loud and clear: slim down and buckle up.

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was blunt: “The Prime Minister has said the entire weight of the government is behind Air India. It is a national carrier and it is our pride. But there is a condition: AI must put its best foot forward.” And who better than Ratan Tata to assist in the onerous task of scripting a turnaround for the behemoth that was the brainchild of J.R.D. Tata. Evidently, the government is cracking the whip to goad the airline into a more brisk, business-like pace.

Talking of pace, SP’s European Correspondent Alan Peaford draws focus on the 2009 Paris Air Show—and the rather sluggish tide of orders compared to the sales fest of two years ago—even as Chief Special Correspondent Sangeeta Saxena, part of the team from SP’s at the event, captured sound bites from industry bigwigs. Don’t miss the delightful account from NASA’s Public Outreach Manager Derek Wang on the organisation’s relentless drive to make the Moon habitable for humans. “We are hoping that in the next 40 years humans will be living in space and there will definitely be a sustaining human presence on the Moon,” says Wang.

Flying to the Moon remains a distant dream. For now, corporate aviation suffers the brunt of the current economic downturn and fights a widespread misperception that business jets are mere luxury trappings for ‘corporate fat cats’. We discuss why ‘no plane’ equals ‘no gain’. Regional aviation in India, on the other hand, is engaged in a perpetual struggle against infrastructure constraints, administrative apathy and lack of a cohesive business model.

Moving on to military matters, airlifters are the news with the Indian Air Force having ordered C-130J Super Hercules aircraft even as the race to secure India’s Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal hots up.

Change, as always, is the only constant.