Friday, February 22, 2019

Aero India 2019: Russia Willing To Talk FGFA With India Again


According to reports, the prototypes of the aircraft are fitted with a derivative of the Russian-made Saturn AL-41F1S engine, known as AL-41F1. A committee was constituted by the Defence Ministry to look into the details of the program between India and Russia, which has been in pipeline since 2007

Russia is willing to come back to the negotiating table for joint development and production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Confirming this, Anatoly G Punchuk, the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, “India had decided to stop the FGFA. This programme was happening under the Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 2009.” India decided to withdraw from the programme in 2018 due to problems related to costs involved and work share.

According to Punchuk, “The project is still open for negotiations. We are ready to come for negotiations and we hope the work will start.” “Many experts say that India is in need for FGFA and we are willing to negotiate again,” he pointed out. The primary concern of IAF was Russia’s failure to develop a next-generation engine for the FGFA to date.

According to reports, the prototypes of the aircraft are fitted with a derivative of the Russian-made Saturn AL-41F1S engine, known as AL-41F1. As has been reported earlier, sources had told The FE that the IAF not being enthusiastic about the project maybe because their priorities are different.

A committee was constituted by the Defence Ministry to look into the details of the programme between India and Russia, which has been in pipeline since 2007. While the report submitted was on the positive side, there were concerns regarding the cost of developing four prototype fighter jets would cost around $ 6 billion, which is very high according to officials in the Defence Ministry.

India and Russia had inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFA project in 2007. It was to be based on the Russian Sukhoi-57 or the PAK-FA T-50 fighter jet. Last year, New Delhi had not ruled out ‘revisiting’ the project at a later stage, should it meet IAF requirements.

India had laid down certain conditions including extensive technology transfer, which would also have the “source codes”, which would in a way ensure that India can in the future upgrade the fighter with integration of new weapons on its own.

India is also willing to sit down for fresh round of talks provided Russia directly helps in India’s own indigenous FGFA project called the advanced medium combat aircraft (AMCA).


Aero India 2019: Russia Joins The Party, Offers MiG-35 And Su-35, Selects ‘HAL As Preferred Partner For Make in India’

The IAF has sent out request for information (RfI) for a billion order to procure 114 fighter jets

The Sukhoi Su-35 is the designation for two improved derivatives of the Su-27 air-defence fighter introduced in 1985. They are single-seat, twin-engine, super manoeuvrable aircraft. The Mikoyan MiG-35, is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters. Both the Russian fighter offerings are obsolete airframes in comparison with the more advanced Dassault Rafale, SAAB Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon

Safety concerns too came up after the recent crashes of the Mirage-2000 aircraft. Responding to a specific question about Russia keen on choosing HAL as preferred partner, HAL chairman R Madhavan said, “Once the aircraft is selected, and then we can talk to media about it”

by Huma Siddiqui

If India down selects MiG-35 and Su-35 fighter machines, Russia has decided to work with state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., as its Strategic Partner (SP) under Make in India Initiative. Both these Russian aircraft from the MiG and Sukhoi series are competing for Indian Air Force huge contract for 114 machines.

Talking to a select group of journalists on the sidelines of Aero-India 2019, Anatoly G Punchuk, the deputy director of the Russian Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation, said: “Our relationship with HAL has been for several decades. We are in talks with them for the programme of MiG-35, which is state of art fighter jet. ”

“It will help India to economise on infrastructure, which is very important. As there is infrastructure present here. And, we have also offered the SU-35. We are not sure which one IAF wants. Both are different aircraft,” he added.

According to him both Russian entities are keen on working with HAL in producing them in India. Unfortunately, the state owned company has been in news recently as due to the controversy surrounding the Dassault Aviation’s Rafale deal for not being chosen as the Offset partner.

Safety concerns too came up after the recent crashes of the Mirage-2000 aircraft. Responding to a specific question about Russia keen on choosing HAL as preferred partner, HAL chairman R Madhavan said, “Once the aircraft is selected, and then we can talk to media about it.”

A Mikoyan MiG-35,  it is a further development of the MiG-29M/M2 and MiG-29K/KUB fighters

The IAF has sent out the request for information (RfI) for a $15-billion order to procure 114 fighter aircraft. The RFI, which has a ‘Make in India’ clause as well as requirement for both single- and twin-engine fighter machines, has been sent to six global vendors including Boeing Company (F-18 Super Hornet) and Lockheed Martin (F-16)(now being offered as F-21) of the US, SAAB (Gripen) of Sweden, Dassault Aviation (Rafale) of France, the European Consortium (Typhoon) and Mikoyan (MiG-35) of Russia.

As reported by the Financial Express Online earlier, the same companies had participated in medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) tender almost 11 years ago in 2007.

According to the RfI document: “The Ministry of Defence (MoD) intends to procure fighter aircraft for the IAF which is to be made in India. The proposal is to procure approximately 114 fighter aircraft (about 75% single seat and the rest twin-seat aircraft).

The procurement should have a maximum of 15% aircraft in flyaway state and the remaining 85% will have to be made in India by a strategic partner/Indian production agency (SP/IPA).” According to the document, the OEM should convey with adequate clarity their ToT offer for indigenous manufacturing of the aircraft in India.

Once any of these companies are down selected they have to work with local Indian companies. US based Boeing Company has already tied up with HAL and Mahindra Defence Systems who have offered their F-18 Super Hornet in this competition.


Boeing Offers India Futuristic Super Hornet Factory


by Greg Waldron

Bangalore: Boeing has promoted its industrial capabilities in India, as it eyes potential deals to sell the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to the nation's air force and navy.

Speaking at the Aero India show near Bangalore on 21 February, company officials said it would build a “factory of the future” in India to produce the Super Hornet. New Delhi has two separate requirements for combat aircraft: 110 for the air force and 57 for the navy.

Boeing also announced that it has held discussions with partners Hindustan Aeronautics and Mahindra Defence Systems at the show.

“The partners are developing comprehensive plans to set up a new 'factory of the future' to manufacture Super Hornet locally,” says Boeing. “The program is expected to work with several Indian suppliers to grow a thriving defence aerospace base, which could accelerate other programs. The facility will create a world-class, highly-trained aerospace workforce.”

Boeing vice-president Thomas Breckenridge claims that the F/A-18E/F is the stealthiest fighter on the table for both Indian requirements, and offers the lowest per-flight hour cost in the US inventory.

For the opportunities with New Delhi, the company would pitch the Super Hornet’s new Block III variant, which features updated avionics and sensors, and has an increased range through the use of conformal fuel tanks.

Boeing’s promotion of the industrial offering involved with the Super Hornet came a day after rival Lockheed Martin rechristened the F-16V Block 70 as the ‘F-21’ for India. It too stressed its desire to build the aircraft in India – an F-21 video showed a futuristic factory – in conjunction with partner TATA Advanced Systems.

For the 110-unit air force competition, other contenders include the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, RAC MiG-35, SAAB Gripen E and Sukhoi Su-35. The Rafale and Super Hornet are regarded as the main contenders for the Indian navy requirement.


Govt Decides To Divert Water Flowing To Pak: Gadkari


Time was already up to punish Pakistan in a decisive manner

The government has decided to stop India's share of water that flows to Pakistan and divert water from eastern rivers to people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.

The decision comes after the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF personnel for which India has blamed Pakistan.

"Under the leadership of Hon'ble PM Sri @narendramodi ji, Our Govt. has decided to stop our share of water which used to flow to Pakistan. We will divert water from Eastern rivers and supply it to our people in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab," Gadkari said in a tweet.

An official said the eastern rivers are Ravi, Beas and Sutlej. Gadkari is Water Resources, Shipping, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister.

He further said, "The construction of dam has started at Shahpur- Kandi on Ravi river. Moreover, UJH project will store our share of water for use in J&K and the balance water will flow from 2nd Ravi-BEAS Link to provide water to other basin states."


HAL Places Order With Thales For 135 Precision Guided Rockets For Helicopters

IDN Input: Thales 2.75-inch/70mm wireless laser-guided rocket called the Induction Laser Guided Rocket (ILGR), also known as the Sub-Metric Precision Rocket (SMPR)

Thales’s fully certified, field-proven, competitive rocket launchers are suitable for use on both light and combat helicopters, the company said

Seeking to boost tactical capabilities of the Indian armed forces, HAL has awarded French aerospace and defence company Thales a contract to supply 135 2.75-inch (70-mm) rocket launchers.

Thales’s fully certified, field-proven, competitive rocket launchers are suitable for use on both light and combat helicopters, the company said.

As a key differentiate for state-of-the-art helicopters and combat aircraft, they provide an excellent fit with requirements for the Indian armed forces, Thales said.

The Indian armed forces are involved in a wide range of deployments in remote theatres, conducting operations beyond the scope of traditional homeland defence for which they need to round out their available resources with a view to boosting their tactical capability, it said.

Thales’s 2.75-inch (70-mm) rocket launchers are produced using composite material, making them an average of 50 per cent lighter than metal launchers, and eliminating corrosion issues.

They offer best in class precision and reliability, providing crews with optimum support during missions, the company said in a release.

The solution to be supplied by Thales includes four 2.75-inch (70-mm) 12-tube rocket launchers, plus fire control capability and the T100 sighting system, as supplied under previous orders (more than 80 Advanced Light Helicopters have already been equipped with the solution).

The huge range of 2.75-inch (70-mm) munitions available for use with the launchers, from conventional rockets to Thales’s laser-guided variant, encompasses a broad spectrum of the missions facing today’s armed forces, it said.

“This new collaboration between Thales and HAL in the field of air-launched weaponry opens up new opportunities for supply of equipment to the Indian armed forces, and consolidates Thales’s position in the Indian market,” said Emmanuel de Roquefeuil, VP and Country Director, Thales in India.

With this, helicopter crews will see a significant improvement in their tactical capabilities during missions, he added.


'Upgraded TEJAS Mk-1A To Fly In 2022, To Be Exported Too'


The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been given the nod to manufacture the weaponised version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas for the Indian Air Force and the first such aircraft is expected to be out by the year-end, according to a company spokesperson.

State-owned aviation major, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has set a 2022 target for the first flight of the Light Combat Aircraft Mk-1A, an upgraded version of the Tejas. Eighty-three of this aircraft are being considered for induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF), although final approval is still awaited. 

Buoyed by the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) for the LCA’s weaponised version accorded on Wednesday, HAL Chairman and Managing Director, R Madhavan was confident that the delivery will happen in 2022. His remark at the Aero India 2019 airshow was apparently set to calm apprehensions about the company’s capabilities to meet the rising demands of IAF. 

Although HAL is yet to get an order from the IAF, Madhavan said the company will take up the LCA upgrade with its own funds over the next four years. The Defence Ministry is expected to take a final decision on the upgraded LCA version within the next two months. “We are also hoping the Mk-1A to be exported too.” 

HAL has orders for 40 aircraft of the Mk-1 version, 16 of them in Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) configuration and four in trainer configuration. “We are planning to deliver 16 in FOC configuration by the end of this year. The jigs will be loaded by October,” Madhavan said.

Tejas Mk-2 Unveiled

At Aero India, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) unveiled a model of the Tejas’s Mk-2 version. But the Agency, which designed the first version, chose to call it a Medium Weight Fighter (MWF). 

This aircraft is expected to fit into IAF’s requirement for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). If approved, the Tejas Mk-2 could potentially replace the fleet of Mirage-2000s, an upgraded version of which had crashed at the HAL Airport on February 1. 

An enhanced version of LCA, the Tejas Mk-2 MWF is 14.6m longer with a wingspan of 8.5m. This would increase its payload-carrying capability. The aircraft will also be equipped with a compound delta wing with close-coupled canards. This would reduce drag in all angles of attack. 

The longer fuselage will allow for more fuel behind the cockpit. The Mk-2 design also shows that it could carry more drop tanks. The engine, General Electric F414-INS6, will be an upgrade of the less powerful F404 that powers the Tejas Mk1 and Mk-1A.

Naval LCA

The Naval version of the Tejas will also have an Mk-1 and Mk-2 upgrade. “Technical development of these is now with ADA. We will support them wherever required,” said Madhavan.


Aero India 2019: Name Game! Is U.S. Giant Lockheed Martin Offering India Upgraded F-16 As F-21?


The company has been in an overdrive to sell F-16 Block 70/72 and to produce in India. However, till date no agreement is signed and is not expected to be signed any time soon as the elections are round the corner in India and it will be a few months more after the new government is in place to take decisions regarding choosing aircraft to meet the shortage of fighters in the IAF

by Huma Siddiqui

The company in its statement has said that F-21 addresses the IAF’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company. (Photo source: Lockheed Martin India)

Aero India 2019: Air Force Station, Yehlanka – International aerospace giants were surprised when Lockheed Martin unveiled their F-21 at the Aero India show. The company in its statement has emphasised its commitment to India by unveiling the F-21 multi-role fighter for India, which is specifically configured for the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft is expected to provide unmatched Make in India opportunities and strengthens India’s path to an advanced air power future.

However, sources confirmed to the Financial Express Online that this is merely an upgraded version of the F-16, with cosmetic changes. There is not much different between the Block 60 and Block 70 that the US based aerospace has been pushing in the Indian market.

The company has been in an overdrive to sell F-16 Block 70/72 and to produce in India. However, till date no agreement is signed and is not expected to be signed any time soon as the elections are round the corner in India and it will be a few months more after the new government is in place to take decisions regarding choosing aircraft to meet the shortage of fighters in the IAF.

As has been reported earlier, the US Company had offered Block 70 of F-16 to India and had offered to shift the production line to India depending on the orders of the Indian Air Force.

Sharing his views, Air Marshal M Matheswaran (retd), Chairman and President, The Peninsula Foundation, said that, “What they have announced is the upgraded F-16. Every aircraft goes through multiple upgrades. And each country has different requirements based on which changes are made. The Block 60 for instance underwent some changes based on the request of the government of UAE. Those changes made the aircraft bulkier.”

According to Matheswaran, “Seeing the resistance in India against the F-16s the company has made cosmetic changes, tailored to marketing in India as F-21. These are made to address the psychological block that India has as the F-16 is flying with the Pakistan Air Force.”

The company in its statement has said that F-21 addresses the IAF’s unique requirements and integrates India into the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem with the world’s pre-eminent defence company.

Lockheed Martin and TATA Advanced Systems would produce the F-21 in India, for India. “The F-21 is different, inside and out,” said Dr Vivek Lall, vice president of Strategy and Business Development for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. “The new [F-21] designation highlights our commitment to delivering an advanced, scalable fighter aircraft to the IAF that also provides unrivalled industrial opportunities and accelerates closer India-US cooperation on advanced technologies.”

This unprecedented Make in India opportunity combines the strength of the world’s largest defence contractor with India’s premier industrial house to deliver a historic win-win for India and the US.

Bahrain recently became Lockheed’s first F-16 Block 70 customer and Slovakia has also selected the Block 70. The company is also proposing new Block 70 aircraft for Bulgaria and several other potential customers.

THE LOCKHEED OFFER

The US based company has offered to move its lone production line of the latest version of fighter aircraft F-16 Block 70/72 to India from Texas to meet Indian and global requirement —with a condition: The Indian Air Force (IAF) has to choose the world’s largest-sold fighter aircraft for its fleet.

However, no decision for the aircraft suitable to meet the immediate needs of the IAF is expected to be taken in the next six months. The Block 70/72 F-16 that is proposed is nothing but the same Block 60 aircraft developed for the UAE air force.

Sources have confirmed that this is the same aircraft that participated in the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft competition to supply 126 multi-role combat aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and was rejected, along with Swedish SAAB ‘Gripen’ in 2011.

To be precise, the critical reasons for the failure of F-16 at the time was that there was no room for any improvements or growth in the aircraft. The F-16 in a new garb of F-21 being offered to India for the IAF has absolutely no growth potential.

Why Not F-16s?

The F-16 is a 40-year-old air frame; all the upgrades that are possible are already done.

There is no room for any more growth.

F-16’s airframe is a third generation design that has outlived its utility.

It cannot measure up to even 4th generation aircraft any more, despite all the avionics upgrades. Its components, aggregates, fuel efficiency, life cycle costs, will all be in the 3rd generation.”

Today, modern fighter designs, whether single or twin engine, have matured — enabled by high technologies such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis — such that these aircraft are highly manoeuvrable and have exceptional dogfight capabilities. Aided by new technology radars and beyond visual range missiles, these aircraft are super fighters with exceptional dog fight or combat capability.

Best examples are Russian Su-30, Su-35, Lockheed Martin’s F-22 & F-35, French ‘Rafale’, and European ‘ Typhoon’, etc.


TEJAS Ready To Replace MiG-21 But Flies Behind New-Gen Fighters

Tejas Light combat aircraft during the "Aero India 2019"

BANGALORE: The home-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) has finally become what it was aimed to be -- a replacement for Soviet-era MiG-21.

After obtaining the Final Operational Clearance (FOC) from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), the TEJAS -- in the making for more than four decades -- has now been confirmed as a multi-role fighter with beyond visual range air-to-air and air-to-ground attack capabilities, along with a longer endurance with the help of mid-air refuelling.

"Securing FOC is a great recognition of indigenous aviation capability. Secondly, it now truly confirms the multi-role capability of LCA. Induction of TEJAS at faster rate needs to be ensured to enhance the capability of IAF," Air Marshal SBP Sinha (Retd), who was the first IAF officer other than the test pilots to fly TEJAS, told IANS.

A fully operational TEJAS will strengthen the air defence capability of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The aircraft is not meant to go deep inside enemy territory but operate close to the border. It will also be used in assisting the Army in what is known as air interdiction in battlefield roles.

The TEJAS as a multi-role fighter was designed to replace Bison, which is an upgraded version of MiG-21. The TEJAS has been flying for years but with the FOC, the aircraft's ability to deliver air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons has been certified. The FOC version of the "Tejas" has Mk-1 nomenclature.

Officials said that the aircraft still needs considerable improvement to match the current generation of fighters and these enhancements would be seen in the follow-up versions of TEJAS Mk-1(A) and TEJAS Mk-2.

The TEJAS Mk-1(A) will have improved serviceability, faster weapon loading time, enhanced survivability, better electronic warfare suit and the AESA radar significantly enhancing its capability.

The TEJAS Mk-2 will be a bigger aircraft, 1.6-meter longer, with a 0.6 meter wider span and will have more powerful GE-414 engine. On account of the size and power, the aircraft will be able to carry much more load. Its weight will go up from 4 tonne to 6. 5 tonne.

As of now, 40 Mk-1 and 83 Mk-1(A) have been ordered by the IAF. The orders for Mk-2 will be placed as an when the aircraft starts flying. Mk-1(A) will fly in 2022, according to the schedule.

While these are the plans, the situation on the ground is that the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has so far delivered only 11 TEJASs.

According to officials, the production line needs to be enhanced substantially to deliver the aircraft to IAF. The HAL has managed to achieve a rate of eight aircraft per year as against 16 to 17 produced by big manufacturers.


Aero India 2019: World's Leading Defence Entity Lockheed Martin Broadens Its Manufacturing Capabilities In India; Ties Up With Indian Public Sector BEML

BEML has designed & developed various ground handling & support equipment for TEJAS

While India is pressed hard for building advance defence equipment, the significant technology gap and the transfer of technology are two major impediments. Lockheed's agreement with BEML is a much needed boost for the growing Indian entity to scale up the advance platforms.

Aero India 2019 (Day 2): World's largest defence equipment manufacture Lockheed Martin has tied up with public sector BEML, a ‘Miniratna-Category 1 Company, for manufacturing advance equipment in India.

This step opens up avenues for collaboration between the two companies to explore manufacturing of support equipment opportunities in aerospace.

The certificate of partnership was inked by Mr. Deepak Kumar Hota, Chairman & Managing Director, BEML and Dr. Vivek Lall, Vice President Business Development, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, India. 

While India is pressed hard for building advance defence equipment, the significant technology gap and the transfer of technology are two major impediments. Lockheed's agreement with BEML is a much needed boost for the growing Indian PSU to scale up the advance platforms.

BEML has been the part of LCA 'Tejas Project' and designed and developed various ground handling and ground support equipment for Tejas. While Tejas is gearing up for Mk-2 level, the next generation medium weight fighter jet, Lockheed martin has offered to contribute in the project in India along with its newly updated F-21 fighter jets program.

During the inaugural session of Aero India 2019, Lockheed Martin unveiled the F-21, a multi-role fighter jet for India, which the company claimed, will be a catalyst to the aerospace ecosystem in India. This will be a significant steps as BEML is already coming up with aerospace facility at SEZ near Bangalore.

The collaboration with Lockheed will further broaden the offset obligations and benefit the local manufacturing units as the part of supply chain ecosystem of BEML.


F-21, Tempest: Lockheed, BAE Offer New Fighter Dreams


by S Raghotham

Foreign defence companies’ interest in grabbing Indian fighter jet deals remains undiminished despite their disappointment over how the ‘MMRCA’ tender for 126 fighters panned out over the past decade, ending in the much-reduced and controversial purchase of 36 Rafale fighters from France’s Dassault.

The US F-16 didn’t fly with the Indian Air Force (IAF) and New Delhi, but its maker Lockheed Martin isn’t giving up. It is now offering what it says is a “new fighter, inside and out” that is specifically built for, and in, India. It’s called the F-21.

The IAF is looking to add up to 114 new fighter jets beyond the 36 Rafale fighters. Lockheed Martin, along with the same five other companies that competed for the MMRCA (Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft) contract — Boeing (F/A-18), SAAB (Gripen), MiG Corporation (MiG 35), Eurofighter (Typhoon) and Dassault (Rafale) — are bidding to bag this deal.

The British, meanwhile, are offering India partnership in the conceptualisation and development of what they call a ‘sixth-generation’ combat aircraft. The Eurofighter Typhoon was one of two fighters that the IAF had shortlisted in the MMRCA process. The new fighter to be developed – for which the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formed a project team named ‘Tempest’ -- will build on the Typhoon and build in some futuristic technologies and war fighting concepts.

Lockheed Martin (LM) had marketed the F-16 as its most sold and most battle-tested fighter, with updated avionics and capabilities configured to meet Indian requirements. It was called the F-16 Block 70. But it had two main handicaps from the Indian viewpoint: one, it had an airframe developed in the 1970s; two, Pakistan has F-16s. To overcome these handicaps, LM is offering “a new aircraft with a 12,000-hour service life airframe”, Vivek Lall, LM’s vice president of strategy and business development, told Deccan Herald. Crucially, it’s not called the F-16. The 21 in F-21 stands for “21st Century”, Lall said.

While the US will not offer India its fifth-gen fighter the F-35, the F-21 is an “advanced, scalable fighter” that derives from the F-16 heritage and draws on technologies developed for the F-35 and F-22 aircraft, Lall added, but said he could not divulge any more detail about the new fighter at the moment as the final configuration will be known only after the government puts out its Request for Proposal (RFP) for the contract. A look at the mock-up revealed new sensors and weapon stations.

If LM wins the contract for 114 fighters, the F-21 will be built in India. “We will build the aircraft in accordance with the strategic partnership model required by the government and we already have TATA Advanced Systems as our partner,” Lall said.

The British proposal is an interesting one. The ‘Tempest’ project is only a concept at this time. “We are not saying, this is the aircraft, these are the specifications, are you interested in buying it. We are looking for partnerships to build it, and the partner country can choose the elements of the aircraft, and choose what it will bring to the project,” former British air chief Sir Andrew Pulford said during an exclusive briefing for this newspaper.

Tempest is a project to study options for what will replace Britain’s Eurofighter Typhoon post-2035. The UK MoD has formed a ‘Team Tempest’ comprising Anglo-American defence major BAE Systems, Aero-engine maker Rolls Royce, European missile-maker MBDA and the British arm of Italian giant Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica) – with an aim to retain Britain’s capability to make combat air systems. Yet, Britain realises that it cannot make next-gen fighter aircraft all by itself.

The British MoD has committed to spending two billion pounds to conceptualise and develop the aircraft and generate a Technology Demonstrator, with a flying prototype by 2023. It wants to finalise partner-countries this year.

Britain had earlier joined hands with France to develop the next-gen fighter, but with Brexit impending, France and Germany teamed up to develop their own ‘European’ aircraft.

India has struggled to get its hands on a fifth-generation fighter aircraft, such as the F-35, but has not succeeded so far. The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) project, which was to follow the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), has remained on the drawing board for years, awaiting approval for design and development, and is not expected to make its first flight until at least 2032; India’s bid to join the Russian fifth-gen fighter project (PAK-FA) at a late stage fell through last year after years of negotiations; and the US will not sell India the F-35. Meanwhile, China has built its own fifth-generation fighter, the Chengdu J-20.

While stealth, supersonic cruise capability and enhanced digital technologies characterise fifth-gen fighters, the ‘Tempest’ is conceptualised to go beyond these as a sixth-gen combat aircraft. Notably, it is expected to be a single aircraft design that would allow both manned and unmanned operation, would incorporate Artificial Intelligence technologies, feature loitering missiles and directed energy weapons, and be able to fly as part of and control a swarm of unmanned combat aircraft.

“There are no specifications for the Tempest at this time and so we cannot say whether it can go along with India’s AMCA programme. But the door is open to talk collaboration, and India can see if the ‘Tempest’ plays to those requirements or not”, Sir Andrew said.


Won’t Speak Before Acting Against Pak: Army Chief Rawat


Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat has said that country will keep quiet on the retaliatory action against Pakistan in wake of the Pulwama attack

“Why do you want to inform Pakistan beforehand. This time we will not say anything,” he said when asked about the army’s response to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement yesterday.

Rawat is in Bangalore  for the inaugural function of biennial Aero India 2019.

Earlier on Tuesday, Imran Khan, in his address to Pakistan had said they won’t hesitate in engaging in war with India, in wake of increased geopolitical tensions in the subcontinent after a terror attack on Central Reserve Police Force Convoy in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

"All this 'attack Pakistan' talk is all keeping elections in mind. But if at all these are serious, please make note of one thing clearly - Pakistan will not think of retaliating, it will retaliate," Khan had said in his first statement on the worst-ever terror strike on security forces in Kashmir.


Aero-India: Braveheart Pilot Saved Lives By Crashing In Forest Area


Even as it was a question of life and death for him, one of the pilots said the first thought that came to him was to crash the plane in a place that saw no human occupation. 

Just as he had realised that there was a bad turn of events, this pilot ensured the plane was taken to a forest area, said a member of the medical team who rescued him. 

Sujata Pinto, the nursing superintendent from HOSMAT Hospital was among those who witnessed the incident and also attended to one of them in minutes after the crash. 

Pinto told DH, "We had stationed the ambulance there to attend to cases or mass casualties if any as a precaution. We were looking at these two planes during the practice. In a second, the two of them cut together and the wings of one of these snapped. The two flights fell in different directions," she recollected. 

Even as the medical team was unaware of the location of the crash, they followed the smoke and reached to one of the pilots. "The situation was such, we could not even ask him for his identity. We suspected he had a cervical injury. By the time we could trace him and give first aid, the team from the Air Force also reached the spot," she added. 

The pilot who had sustained abrasions all over his face was, however, conscious and responding to all queries, she said. Soon, he was put on the stretcher. 

Pinto said, "He told us that he wanted to ensure he did not crash on any locality with houses. He looked for a patch of greenery and then pressed the eject button."

The pilot also constantly requested the team to help him reach his family. "He requested us to give him a mobile phone. He also kept asking us what sort of injuries he had sustained and if his face had too many injuries," she said.

This pilot who was rescued from a location near the compound of the show area has been sifted to Command Hospital and is undergoing treatment there. "He complained of chest pain and his vision was very poor. He was unable to even count the fingers when we tried testing him," she added.


Kashmiri Youth Send Clear Message To Pakistan After Pulwama, Sign Up For Army In Record Numbers


Thousands have turned up for an Army recruitment drive in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district, six days after the Pulwama terrorist attack, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred. "We are thankful to the Indian army that they are providing such a great opportunity to serve our nation," said Nazir Ahmad, one of the candidates

Kashmiri youth send strong message in wake of Pulwama attack. Over 3,000 show up for drive in Baramulla district. There are just 111 vacancies. The young men waited their turn in the queue beneath the gaze of verdant hills still covered in snow.

Six days after the terrorist attack in Pulwama, over 3,000 youth have showed up for an Army recruitment drive in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla's district.

There are only 111 vacancies.

Two candidates who spoke to India Today TV said they already worked in the private sector, and one of them said it was his childhood dream to become a soldier.

The recruitment rally began yesterday and will continue till February 22; it has witnessed a huge rush of unemployed youth from far-flung areas of Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts.

Youth attending the rally were hopeful of getting not just a chance to be employed, but also an opportunity to serve the nation.

Some, who are from border areas of Uri and other regions, said there's a lot of unemployment among the youth, and they'd been given a chance to be employed in the territorial army. They added that the government should increase the number of posts.

They thanked the army for organising the recruitment drive and wished that more rallies would be conducted in different areas of the Kashmir Valley.

"We are thankful to the Indian army that they are providing such a great opportunity to serve our nation," said Nazir Ahmad, one of the candidates.

INDIA ENRAGED AFTER PULWAMA ATTACK

Last week, on February 14, as many as 40 CRPF soldiers were martyred in a suicide bombing carried out by the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, provoking an outpouring of rage and grief across India.

Security forces killed three terrorists in an encounter on Monday, including the man who masterminded the Pulwama attack. Four Army soldiers and a policemen were martyred.

India has vowed to exact revenge for the Pulwama bombing, while Pakistan has denied responsibility and threatened retaliation if attacked.

Meanwhile the Indian Army has asked parents of Kashmiri terrorists to ask their children to surrender, warning that anyone who picks up a gun in the Valley will be killed.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during a joint statement on Wednesday with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that both countries agreed on the need to increase "all possible pressure" on countries offering support for terrorism.

Mohammed bin Salman, who announced investment agreements worth $20 billion during a recent trip to Pakistan, said extremism and terrorism were common concerns for India and Saudi Arabia.


Kalyani, Belcan LLC Forge Partnership


Multinational conglomerate Kalyani Group and Belcan have announced partnership to provide advanced technological product and service offerings in defence, Aerospace, and other technical segments in India.

The companies said they will work together in design and development of helicopter engines and transmission systems in defence and aerospace.

“This collaboration allows Kalyani Group to dovetail the metallurgical and manufacturing excellence of its flagship company Bharat Forge Limited with cutting edge design and engineering capabilities of Belcan, LLC to deliver high quality products and services to our customers,” said Rajinder Singh Bhatia, President & CEO (Defence & Aerospace), Bharat Forge Limited.

“We are excited to collaborate with Kalyani Group to leverage our world class design expertise combined with Kalyani Group’s state of the art manufacturing expertise. We will continue to investigate other synergistic opportunities in this space towards our mutual goal of becoming a key player in the global aerospace & defence domain,” said Naveen Munnangi, GM, Belcan India.


BEL Signs Teaming Agreement With Hughes India For Helicopter SATCOM Solutions


Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Hughes India have entered into a Teaming Agreement for design, development, supply, installation, integration and commissioning of Satellite Communication solutions for helicopters under the Ministry of Defence, Government of India at Aero India 2019, Bangalore.

The Teaming Agreement will enable MoD’s strategic users to get enabled with helicopter-based Satellite Communication links for real-time and assured communications using ISRO's Ku band satellites. Through this agreement, BEL and Hughes India are collaborating using their respective state-of-the-art technologies and capabilities in developing these integrated and sophisticated helicopter solutions.

BEL has expertise in the design, development, engineering and manufacture of Radar & Weapon Systems, Network Centric Systems and Communications systems, Electronic Warfare & Avionics, Naval Systems, Electro-optics products, Tank Electronics & Gun Systems, Satcom Systems, Homeland Security & Smart City solutions, Strategic Components and select civilian products.

Hughes India is a majority owned subsidiary of Hughes Network Systems, LLC, USA (Hughes). Hughes is the world’s largest provider of broadband satellite networks and services. Hughes India is the largest satellite service operator in India providing a comprehensive range of broadband networking technologies, solutions, and services for businesses and governments.