The crash of an Indian Air Force (IAF) Sukhoi Su-30 MKI on October 14 has led to the temporary grounding of the entire fleet of some 200 jets. The IAF’s safety record is again under scrutiny, with concerns about training and maintenance being voiced unofficially. The aircraft crashed approximately 20 km from Pune airbase, near Mumbai, after both K-36DM zero-zero ejection seats inadvertently fired. The pilots survived the ejections.
Indian Air Force
Although a $2.2 billion upgrade of India’s Dassault Mirage 2000 fighters is progressing, around a quarter of the fleet of 49 is grounded because a contract for spares has remained unsigned for years, AIN has learned from sources involved in the program.
With a clear mandate from India’s 100-day-old government to make aerospace manufacturing a focus area for domestic and export markets, there is renewed interest by manufacturers to be in the forefront. This was clear at a recent conference the Center for Air Power Studies and the Confederation of Indian Industry held in New Delhi.
India on August 29 approved industrial offset proposals to acquire 22 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters for the Indian Air Force, a transaction valued at $2.5 billion.
Pilatus Aircraft has signed a 10-year contract with Tata Advanced Systems (TASL) for the Indian company to supply PC-12 NG aerostructures. Tata will replace existing supplier PZL-Swidnik of Poland. This is India’s first major private partnership, and results from the 30-percent offset obligation (worth about $165 million) that Pilatus incurred in its sale of 75 PC-7 Mk II trainers to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
The new Indian government has issued the request for proposal (RFP) for 56 transport aircraft worth an estimated $2 billion, to replace the Indian Air Force’s aging Hawker Siddeley 748M twin-turboprops, known as Avros. The final date for submission of bids is August 28. The contract is expected to be awarded late next year or early in 2016.
A lack of decision-making on large Indian defense procurement deals in the past two years is expected to end with the swearing-in of the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Changes in procurement and offset policies are also expected.
The Russian unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) program revealed as long ago as 2007 may have reached the flight test phase. The evidence comes from a near midair over Arkhangelskoye on February 17, reported by the pilots of two L-29 jet trainers belonging to a civilian flying club based at the Barataevka airfield near Ulyanovsk. The L-29 pilots rapidly altered heading and altitude to escape collision with an unidentified flying object that they described as “a heavyweight unmanned air vehicle”.
Impatient with delays in inducting the HJT-36 Sitara intermediate jet trainer from government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL), the Indian air force has issued a request for information (RFI) for Stage II intermediate jet trainers. The Indian Air Force (IAF) requires 85 IJTs, and the cutoff date for RFI response is April 4.
India’s Central Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation into Rolls-Royce military deals. The investigation began just a day before the announcement of forthcoming elections and the beginning of the “model code of conduct” that disallows announcement of new projects. The probe follows a voluntary disclosure last December by Rolls-Royce to its partner Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) that it had used a consultant, Singapore-based Aashmore, for sales and logistics support in its business in the energy sector.
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