Dassault and Thales announced delivery of the first production Rafale to carry the Thales RBE2 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The companies noted that the aircraft, production number C137 for the French Air Force, is the first AESA-equipped European combat aircraft to enter service. The development was completed on time and budget, they added.
Indian Air Force
The delay in development of India’s intermediate jet trainer (IJT) by government-owned defense manufacturer Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has the Indian air force worried, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal N.A.K.Browne told AIN in an exclusive interview. The HAL HJT-36 is intended to replace the aging fleet of Kiran Mk II jet trainers in the Indian Air Force (IAF) by 2015.
An Indian negotiating team is heading for Russia to finalize details of the country’s participation in development of the Sukhoi T-50, also known by the Russian acronym PAK FA and by India as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). India is providing half of the expected $11 billion cost to develop the aircraft, and earlier signed a preliminary design contract worth $295 million.
Maintaining India’s fleet of more than 230 aging Cheetah and Chetak reconnaissance and surveillance helicopters is turning into a nightmare due to unavailability of spares, according to K.C. Nanda, general manager of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd’s Barrackpore Division, who sounded the warning at a defense conference held in Kolkata in August. HAL built both the Cheetah and the Chetak under license from Eurocopter.
Embraer Defense and Security delivered the first of three EMB-145 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft to the government of India on August 13. The aircraft, fitted with an Indian-developed airborne early warning radar, was delivered at Embraer’s headquarters in São José dos Campos, Brazil.
The Indian Navy has issued a request for proposal (RFP) for 56 light utility helicopters (LUH) to eight OEMs, including government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL). Submissions are due by January 7 next year, with the winner expected to enter service in 2016.
The navy wants to replace its fleet of HAL Chetak helicopters, a license-built version of the Alouette III. Of the 85 Chetaks that the navy received up to 2002, approximately 60 remain in service. In addition, the coast guard operates 17.
The much-delayed revision to the Indian Ministry of Defence offset guidelines has been released and will take effect immediately. But it will apply only to new solicitations. A newly formed agency, the Defense Offset Management Wing (DOMW), will handle offset contract management.
For the first time, India’s defense offset policy defines objectives that include the development of competitive industries, the need to add R&D and design capabilities and the development of synergistic sectors. The policy now includes coastal security, in addition to internal security.
The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) selected Pilatus to provide a complete pilot training system based on the PC-21 turboprop trainer. The package will include ground-based training devices and extensive logistics support and maintenance. The newly established QEAF air academy will receive the first of 24 aircraft in 2014 so that training can start in mid-2015. Pilatus has signed a long-term performance-based support contract.
Recent upgrades to India’s Defense Procurement Policy (DPP) 2011 that are to be incorporated in DPP 2012 could soon allow foreign vendors to buy from Indian companies assemblies that contain foreign content while getting credit for the entire assembly, as long as the content is paid for in rupees.
Boeing has expressed in no uncertain terms to AIN the pain of having to honor offsets in India and the challenge of managing a constantly shifting policy landscape. The growing Indian defense budget ($44 billion by 2016) may be attractive but it would seem that the trials and tribulations being faced by initial winners such as Boeing could be a significant downside for the foreseeable future.