IAF came in for praise from the US Air Force for the display of a high degree of professionalism in Exercise Red Flag held in Alaska this year. But while the IAF has been adding feathers to its cap, the need to address the problem of deficiencies in its combat fleet is becoming more urgent by the day.
Space exploration by India, an area in which the nation has made remarkable progress with several notable achievements on record, has once again been much in the news lately and all for good reasons. On April 28, 2016, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the seventh and the last satellite in the series to create its own satellite navigation system to be known as Navigation with Indian Constellation (NAVIC), thus joining an elite club of nations having their own satellite navigation systems. A report of the achievement of ISRO by R. Chandrakanth has been included in this issue of SP’s Aviation.
While the nation was relishing the most recent success in ISRO’s efforts to create an indigenous global positioning system, the Indian space agency added another impressive feather in its cap on the morning of Monday, May 23 this year, by the successful test launch from Sriharikota of the indigenous space shuttle dubbed as the Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV). Meant to be a technology demonstrator (TD), the RLV TD made a re-entry and alighted on a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal, some 500 kilometres from the east coast of Southern India.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has also been in the news and for more of good reasons - infact. After Exercise Iron Fist, an impressive firepower demonstration held at Pokhran, the IAF came in for praise from the US Air Force for the display of a high degree of professionalism in Exercise Red Flag held in Alaska this year. But while the IAF has been adding feathers to its cap, the need to address the problem of deficiencies in its combat fleet is becoming more urgent by the day. The problem can and should no longer be ignored especially as the LCA Tejas Mark 2 is much too distant in the future and is plagued with uncertainty. It is heartening to note that, reportedly, the IAF is looking at advanced platforms in the regime of unmanned combat aerial vehicles such as the Predator family. Detailed features on this subject have been included in this issue.
In the domain of civil aviation, the recent phenomenon of ‘Uber’ in the skies has been captured in an interview with Rajeev Wadhwa of BookMyCharters. There is a new breed of entrepreneurs who are chartering a new path in business aviation. As regards the OEMs we have a fact file on the Gulfstream G650 whose performance is unmatched and is backed by solid innovation and therefore it is considered the world’s most advanced business aircraft.
Moving to regional aviation, we wonder why the four regional players in India have not shown ingenuity with regard to marketing of the regional airline market which is waiting to be tapped. At the moment these airlines are content connecting various destinations in the secondary market, but have not made any ‘headline grabbing’ deals to attract firsttime passengers.
Meanwhile, the regional aircraft manufacturer from Brazil — Embraer — is on a roll. After its recent roll-out, the aerospace major had its maiden flight of the E190-E2, much ahead of its schedule. Also the company announced a major breakthrough in Japan for the E190 with J-Air.
All this and more! Happy reading!!