India’s legend, Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh passes away। Terror attack in London Tube, many injured । Police, Emergency Services Respond Well । London on high alert । North Korea fires a ballistic missile over Japan again, and threatens to sink the island state । UN censures North Korea, and so does most of the world, including India । Prime Miinister Abe’s visit to Ahmedabad brings Japan and India closer। New Delhi and Tokyo condemn terrorism, and Pakistan’s role in promoting it । India and Japan agree on multi spectrum cooperation, including in defence । Global majors present new warfighting and anti terrorism technologies at DSEI in London । India will set up 28 nuclear reactors at five sites to generate 32,000 mw । India, China agree to disengage troops at Dokalam ।
September 21, 2017
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Aero India – A 100 billion Dollar Invitation

Published: February 2017

The Aero India 2017 this time is a huge Invitation to global majors for Combat Aircraft and Systems.


It’s not that India has an appetite for defence equipment, but just that for the last 30 years, India’s modernisation programme has suffered due to political squabbling and occasionally vicious allegations, made mostly without any truth. The Army, Navy and Air Force, each of them has suffered, and there is a backlog that is difficult for any government to clear easily.

If one simply was to sit down and calculate the number of aircraft the Indian Air Force has at present, and their vintage or year of induction, the calculation for new aircraft requirements comes to the staggering figure of 400. Air Marshal Ashok Goel (Retd) and Air Marshal VK Jimmy Bhatia (Retd), the two distinguished top officers on the India Strategic team, say this is what the Indian Government should aim to provide, in as short a period as possible, ideally within five to seven years.

We had published this figure of 400 for the Indian Air Force and about 60 for the Indian Navy in our December edition.

In fact, when we asked the outgoing Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, about our assessment, he observed, “This is the correct figure.”

But this would not be easy for the Government, and at his farewell press conference end-December, he said the IAF would be happy with 200 to 250 combat jets, but of Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) capability. And naturally, they should be higher in onboard capabilities than those specified in the 2007 tender or RFP. Understandably so!

The Indian Navy also put out an RFI a couple of weeks back for 57 shipboard fighters.

There would certainly be substantial commonalities between the aircraft for the two Services, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea to translate these requirements into a defence industrial infrastructure is simply relevant to the economic and social development of the country. Appropriate is the correct word. Besides the manned combat jets, India also needs a number of unmanned systems for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (UAVs) as well as remotely controlled attack missions (UCAVs). Some of these systems would involve very high technologies, and maybe, the Government would have to intervene at the highest levels to acquire them. But they would be needed to reach where piloted missions are not desirable, plus to ensure that the attacks are precision with minimal collateral damage.

Notably, IAF already has a laid down procedure to avoid or minimise collateral damage as a matter of policy.

All these requirements lead to one conclusion: There is a huge opportunity in India for collaborations in the aerospace sector. The Aero India 2017 is an Invitation for those willing and able to deliver.

Gulshan Rai Luthra




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