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

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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

It would be appropriate to appreciate and applaud the high standards of professionalism displayed by the Indian Air Force in responding to the devastating nature’s fury in Nepal

Issue: 05-2015By Jayant Baranwal - Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

As Nepal is trying to come to terms with the earthquake that struck the tiny Himalayan nation on April 25 and is now struggling to regain normalcy, it would only be appropriate to appreciate and applaud the high standards of professionalism displayed by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in responding to the devastating nature’s fury. The decision at the political and diplomatic levels to extend humanitarian aid to a neighbouring country in distress was a perquisite for the IAF act.

Fortunately the decision by the government came quickly giving the opportunity to the IAF to once again prove its capability for swift response to provide rescue and relief in the event of a disaster. Such opportunities also help the IAF to be better prepared for other missions of strategic importance beyond national boundaries such as for military intervention or for mere projection of power to serve national security interests. What is also significant is that apart from the humanitarian angle, Nepal is of immense strategic importance for India vis-à-vis her equation with China. This issue of SP’s Aviation carries detailed reports on the role of the IAF in the disaster relief operations in Nepal.

The disaster in Nepal was followed soon after, i.e. on April 28, by another traumatic event though of lower intensity that attracted the attention of the world. This was the failure of the Russian space vehicle Progress that was carrying supplies for the six-man crew on board the International Space Station (ISS). After failing to dock with the ISS for some unknown reason, the space vehicle is descending to the Earth and is expected to reenter the atmosphere and hopefully burnout. The crew of ISS will have to wait for replenishments when the next supply ship SpaceX is launched in June this year. Hopefully, the next mission will be successful. A report on the failed mission is included in this issue.

While the IAF has genuine reason to rejoice over the breakthrough achieved personally by no one less than the Prime Minister of India himself in the stalemate that had nearly dashed hopes of getting the Rafale, there is another serious problem that is beginning to haunt the IAF. The programme to develop the intermediate jet trainer (IJT) for the IAF dubbed as the HJT-36, appears to be afflicted with notable design deficiencies. For these to be corrected, the IJT would have to be redesigned. Confronted with an obvious dilemma, the IAF apparently has no option but to explore options to procure the IJT from foreign sources.

On the civil aviation front, R. Chandrakanth analyses the regional aviation scene in China. Today, China is the world’s second largest air transport market and its civil aviation authority has given due importance to development of regional airlines, regional airports and network. Embraer is looking forward to exploit the growing opportunities in China with their next-generation E-Jets. This year’s European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE 2015) will celebrate its 15th year as the leading European business aviation trade show from May 19 to 21. Expected to be present at the show will be 450 participants from 60 countries along with a wide range of business aircraft large and small on display.

Back home in India Chandrakanth describes how bedevilled by red tape, instead of being a facilitator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is actually impeding the growth of business and general aviation in this country.

All these and more in this issue apart from the regular features. Welcome aboard and happy landings!