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Marketing blitzkrieg, aerial theatrics mark Aero India Show 2011

Bangalore: It was a blend of marketing blitzkrieg and aerial theatrics that capped the five-day Aero India show.
The concluding day here was marked by flagging off of India’s old refurbished warhorse, Pushpak on a 11,000 km expedition.
The huge civilian turnout today was also greeted to some stunning mid-air manoeuvres by both Indian and foreign military aircraft.
Aerial displays by homegrown Tejas , Indian aerobatic team, Suryakiran, the Indian helicopter team, Sarang enthralled several. The Czech based team today left several gaping as the Flying Bulls presented their complex manoeuvres.
Military state-of-the aircraft from Sweden, France, US Europe, Russia also displayed their prowess mid-air.
The aeroshow received both national and international attention, with the participation of nearly 75,000 business visitors this year as against 50,000 in the previous event, according to CII officials.
In all nearly two lakh visitors it to the aero show which witnessed some fierce competition with major international aerospace players bidding for the USD 10 billion medium multi-role combat aircraft contract in India, which is expected to be finalised next year.
Over 600 exhibitors from across the country and the world showcased their components and technology at the event.
The highlight of the event was handing over of ‘Cheetah’ to Namibia and signing of Joint Venture between L and T and Cassidian.
13/02/11 PTI/Economic Times

Mahindra Aero looks for strategic investor

Chennai: The Mahindra group is looking to scale up its aerospace business to capture a slice of the $12-billion offset business in the Indian defence market. Group company Mahindra Aerospace Private Ltd (MAPL) is looking to rope in a strategic investor (it already has Kotak PE) and is pumping in Rs 284 crore in a new facility in Karnataka for components, assemblies and aerostructures both for its own and other large aircraft. The idea, said a top company official, is to create competence for components on one hand and build compact, rugged, affordable aircraft – ‘Scorpio of the aero industry’ – on the other.
“We are talking to potential strategic investors including OEMs and tier I suppliers. We are looking at a relationship that will help us access both customers and technology – not just for the offsets business but for aerospace competency beyond that too …,” Hemant Luthra, president, Systech, M&M, told TOI. A tie-up is a “distinct possibility” in the quarter. The top tier 1 suppliers globally are players like Alenia, part of the Italian group Finmeccanica, Premium Aerotec, Aernnova Spain, Aerolia, and Spirit Aerosystems but Luthra refused to speculate on the name of the potential strategic partner. The $7.1 billion Mahindra group is building a 20-acre component plant at Narsapura in Karnataka.
The company has acquired equipment from the Boeing Aerostructures plant in Melbourne Australia for the Narsapura plant.
13/02/11 Nandini Sen Gupta/Times of India

India’s Super-Rich Targeted by Private Jet Makers

Executive jet makers seeking to recover from a slump in demand caused by the global financial crisis are now targeting the growing list of billionaires in India.
Prominent among exhibitors at the ongoing Aero India 2011 air show in Bangalore were manufacturers such as US-based Gulfstream and Brazil’s Embraer — both hoping to seduce corporate high-flyers with their luxury private planes. The global private jet market had a hard landing in 2008-09, with jet prices plunging by up to 30 percent and actual flying time falling by an estimated 40 percent.
But India’s fast-growing economy minted 17 new billionaires in 2010, driving the total to a record 69, according to Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest individuals.
Jose Eduardo Costas, vice president of Asia sales for Embraer, said the Brazilian firm had a host of orders lined up.
Gulfstream said there were 17 of its aircraft in India by the end of last year, up from just five in 2001, adding that 12 of them were large-cabin models including the G550, which has a range of 12,000 kilometres (7,500 miles).
13/02/11 Kathy Jones/

200 IAF pilots are alive, thanks to ejection seats!

Bangalore: Bismi Devassy survived an air crash because she had the alacrity to press the ejection button on her Kiran trainer aircraft.
Two hundred Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots like her are alive today because they knew their life depended on that one button. Pressing it would throw the ejection seat off the crashing aircraft, unfurl a parachute and land the pilot to relative safety.
The lone Martin Baker ejection seat, displayed at a remote corner of an Aero-India pavilion, conspicuously reflected that legacy of pilot rescue.
As pilot after pilot, who had survived air crashes, visited the stall and expressed gratitude, the seat took on a spiritual hue. After all, the Martin Baker seats are fitted onto almost every non-Russian fighter aircraft in the country. The eventual Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) will also feature these seats.
Devassy and all the Indian ejectees are now part of an exclusive Martin Baker “Ejection Tie Club.” The primary objective of the Club is to provide a distinctive tie to be worn with civilian clothing and thus to provide a visible sign of the members’ common bond.
12/02/11 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

Show draws huge crowd

Bangalore: The Indian Air Force Station at Yelahanka was abuzz with people from all over the world on Saturday. The crowd was not limited only inside the station but on the road to the Bangalore International Airport as well. Hordes of travellers waited to get a glimpse of the marvellous display in the skies.
Speaking about his experience, Abhishek Chatterjee a native of Lucknow said: “It’s a onceinalifetime opportunity to watch the best of our aircraft and those from other countries like the US, Europe and Russia performing at a show. It was worth travelling down from my hometown,”.
A group of Americans who called themselves the “Flying Freaks” said: “We have watched many such shows back home and in other countries. The Aero India is certainly one of the best. Only that we couldn’t get to see the F22 performing here which is very disappointing,” said Bryan Philip, a member of the unofficial team.
Though visitors had to take a long walk to reach the entrance and had to go through security checks they did not complain about anything. “From the P8 parking, I had to walk more than two kilometres but as the show began my weariness was gone,” smiled Swapna Padgaonkar, a techie.
13/02/11 Chokkapan S/ExpressBuzz

Shahid Kapoor flies F-16 at Aero India show

Bangalore: Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor, who is playing the role of a combat aircraft pilot in his upcoming film ‘Mausam’, was thrilled to fly in a Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter aircraft at the Aero India show here.
“I am very keen to get into F-16 as a co-pilot. I thank IAF and also Lockheed Martin for giving me this opportunity,” Shahid told reporters ahead of his flying venture today.
The 29-year-old actor had to undergo one month’s rigorous training and pass required tests before flying the combat aircraft.
12/02/11 Shahid Kapoor/Indian Express

DRDO’s high dreams dashed

DRDO’s showpiece at Aero India – Aerostat, a surveillance balloon – was not allowed to ‘fly high’ at the show as the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) had denied it permission.
Other than India, only two other countries – the US and Israel – have it. The Aerostat rose to a height of 40 metres only twice at the show (only for half an hour) – once before the defence minister’s visit and once before the mediapersons.
An official from the aerial delivery research & development establishment of Defence Research and Development Organisation said, “We have kept it (the Aerostat) at winch level (ground level) since beginning of the show. We always wanted to keep it flying. But denial of permission by ATC was a dampener.”
The ATC, however, said it had denied permission as a safety measure as the Aerostat would hamper the movement of flights.
An Aerostat can remain stationary in the air and it is tethered to the ground through an electro-optic wire. An official said while a micro UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) does surveillance work, it can’t fly for a longer time. However, an Aerostat can fly continuously for seven days.
13/02/11 Sameer Ranjan Bakshi/Bangalore Mirror

Aero India’s biggest aircraft put on a diet

Personnel working at the Aero India show say that the Omega tanker is the biggest aircraft they have seen at this year’s event. One would assume that the fuel tank of the aircraft would also be big and full. The tank is indeed big, they say, but never full.
While all the other aircraft top up before it is time to put up a show in the skies, the Omega lives on a lean diet when it comes to fuel. The reason is the length of the runway (3 km) at the Yelahanka air base. It is not long enough for the plane to take off on a full tank. A full tank adds considerably to the weight of the aircraft and prevents it from picking up momentum fast enough to take off from short runways. On a full tank, Omega needs a runway as long as the one at BIAL (4 km) to take off or land.
Talking about full tanks, personnel of oil companies were kept very busy by the continuous movement of aircraft at the show. Every now and then, aircraft would take off to put up a show for business visitors and spectators.
Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the official fuel supplier for the show, dispenses about 800 kilolitres (KL) of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) every day. The most hungry of the lot is the Hercules, a US transport aircraft, which consumes about 700 litres for each flight of six minutes. During the show, an aircraft can demonstrate in the air for a little less than seven minutes before making way for others.
13/02/11 Sameer Ranjan Bakshi/Pune Mirror

Bangalore student beats 2,400 to fly Gripen

Bangalore: A 22-year-old student from Bangalore-based BMS Engineering College will today be doing one thing that most of us can’t even dream of—fly a fighter jet.
A mechanical engineering student, Shashank HR outplayed 2,400 contestants to win the Gripen Top Guns contest, which would offer him a chance to fly the Gripen fighter jet.
On Saturday, five of the 2,400 took the final test: they were made to fly the Gripen flight simulator to choose the ‘top gun’. And Shashank emerged as the winner. Shashank had the habit of flying planes on his home computer and he said that made his task easy during the simulation trials. Buoyed up with this win, he says, after his engineering course get over, he would join “an Indian public sector undertaking which is engaged in aerospace activities”.
On Sunday, Shashank will co-pilot the Gripen — one of the contenders for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) — for an hour.
13/02/11 Hemanth CS/Daily News & Analysis

Airshow attracts 50,000 on day four

Bangalore: Roaring metal birds and theirntricate manoeuvres were the cynosure of all eyes at the Aero India show here which was opened for public viewing today.
The crowd was eager to have a first hand experience of flying displays from top-notch aerobatic teams like ‘Surya Kiran’, ‘Sarang’ and ‘Red Bull’.
The breathtaking flying sorties drew thunderous applause from the gathering.
According to preliminary estimates from authorities, the fourth-day of the Aero Show today attracted at least 50,000 people and the numbers could swell on the last day tomorrow.
The visitors were vying for a vantage spot to witness the take-offs and pilots manoeuvring the jets.
The crowd was treated to a dazzling display from medium multi-role combat aircraft team of Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Boeings Super Hornet F/A-18, Gripen of Saab and Rafale of French Dassault and Thphoon of Eurofighter.
12/02/11 PTI/Daily News & Analysis

India and Russia have finalised the Russian PAKFA aircraft

Sukhoi-T50 fighter aircraftA Sukhoi-T50 fighter aircraft, the Russian PAKFA aircraft has been finalized by India and Russia as the base design model for their $6 billion Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme.
This deal does not indicate that India’s prospects of joining American F-35 fifth generation fighter programme come to an end. India has to select 126 Medium weight Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs) with a budget of $10 billion.
This is the costliest deal of Indian defense system till date and Americans who have come to Aero India 2011 were little confused with Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 IN Super Viper and is considering which one of the two will seal the deal. Air Chief PV Naik is expecting to close the deal by September this year.
12/02/11 Mitra Pathak/

Realising that ‘pilot’ dream

Bangalore: They had seen the F-16s, the Surya Kirans, the Flying Bulls, but they too want to fly those magnificent flying machines.
India’s premier pilot training school, the Rae Bareili-based Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), with its first stall at the air show, had an answer!
Piloting the flying careers of 700 youngsters in 25 years, IGRUA had a proven record. The autonomous body, attached to the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation, is after all, for flying training what IIT is for technology and IIM for management. At the air show, the institute wanted to tell youngsters that it exists, and would admit 100 potential pilots every year, to be picked up by Air India, Jet Airways, or any of the corporates buying smaller aircraft by the dozen.
“Every year, we get about 1,200 applications. The top 250 go through an interview and a pilot aptitude test. The selected 100 candidates will then go through a 15-month course, including a four-month ground training and 12-month flying training,” IGRUA’s Chief Flying Instructor, Rajesh Lal, told Deccan Herald. The students get 190 hours of flying on a single-engine aircraft and 10 hours on a twin-engine flight. The Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) is issued thereafter.
With the demand rising, the academy has proposed to increase the student intake to 120, and even venture into rotor wing training by acquiring helicopters.
12/02/11 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

An act of daredevilry, every day

Bangalore: “Every day is a new day. When we go up in the air, we are as anxious and careful as a new comer as even the smallest error could be your last..” is how Wing commander Prajwal Singh, one of the Surya Kiran team members sums up the challenges they face in the air.
For the team which kept the Bangalore crowd on the edge, being on the edge is also a hobby.
If you are fascinated by what these dare devils do, well here is what it takes to become one of the pilots. A minimum 10 years of service in the fighter aircraft unit and considerable hours of flying experience. If you qualify, you have to clear a six sortie flying test with flying colours, quite literally. Although the demand to be in the team is high, only two men make it the Surya Kiran cockpit every three years. Even after you join, practise is a necessity, every single day.
The present Kiran MkII U2469 are used by the Surya Kiran team, which will be replaced by the intermediate jet trainer (IJT). At present, due to fewer Kiran aircraft for training new pilots, the number of shows undertaken by the Surya Kiran team will reduce over the next three to four years till the new intermeadiate jet trainers are inducted to the airforce.
According to the pilots, the new IJT would provide them with much higher manoeuverability and performance. “The machine we have right now is exceptional. The proposed machine, IJT, will allow us to stretch our skills beyond what we are doing now,” said squadron leader Ramji Yadov.
13/02/11 Arun Dev & Shilpa Phadnis/Times of India

Is India flying back into Russia’s arms?

Bangalore: India and Russia have finalised the Russian PAKFA aircraft —a Sukhoi-T50 fighter aircraft — as the base design model for their $6 billion Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) programme. This has not just dealt a death-knell to any prospects of India joining the American F-35 fifth generation fighter programme, but also indicates the nature of things to come on India’s final selection of the $10 billion deal to procure 126 Medium weight Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCAs).
And it does not appear bright for the Americans who have come to Aero India 2011 with Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 IN Super Viper – seriously considered as the two of which one would finally clinch the costliest Indian defence deal till date, which, according to Air Chief PV Naik, would be signed by September this year.
Globally, defence experts and critics are reading too much into the absence of MiG-35 at Aero India 2011 from which it pulled out just a week ahead of the commencement of the event on February 9.
But the Russian delegations visiting Aero India 2011 in Bangalore have confirmed that though their contender for the MMRCA deal, MiG-35, was the only one from the six contenders to have pulled out from the air show, the MMRCA selection committee members as well as defence experts were witness to a series of demonstrations by MiG-35 which also carried out extreme manoeuvres in Indian as well as Russian conditions. Sources said the aerial manoeuvres demonstrated also involved “some which would not have been allowed to be carried out at any of the air shows” and that the Indian side were “thoroughly impressed”.
12/02/11 Nirad Mudur/Daily News & Analysis

Indian deal hot topic at record breaking AeroIndia

Bangalore: The eighth AeroIndia air show here has broken all records for the number of visitors, with over 1.75 lakh footfalls recorded till Friday.
The focus of attention remained on the biggest tender India has floated to buy 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).
The contract is expected to be awarded to one of the six contenders by September this year, according to officials.
“The MMRCA is the primary focus. With the orders likely soon, what will happen in the next edition in 2013, I wonder,” said Guy Douglas from BAE Systems India.
The increase in the number of aircraft manufacturers and air forces participating in the show this year indicates the increasing interest in AeroIndia, he added.
The first three days of the five-day air show, which opened Wednesday at the Yelahanka air base, were all about business.
But the show will be open for the general public to visit the flying and static display during Saturday and Sunday.
A large number of aviators and enthusiasts have gathered here to watch the spell-binding manoeuvres such as sharp turns, rolls and spins by fighter jets from all major global manufacturers, including US Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Boeing’s F/A-18s, Saab’s Gripen and the Dassault’s Rafale.
These are part of the 95 military aircraft lined up in the static display area.
11/02/11 IANS/The Hindu

Lockheed denies media reports, says F-22 not joining final day of Aero India 2011

tealth fighter F-22, the United States fifth-generation aircraft, is not coming to participate in the final day’s air show during Aero India 2011 being held at the Yelahanka Air Force station in Bangalore.
F-22 Raptor’s manufacturer Lockheed Martin has said the fighter aircraft is not coming for the Aero India 2011 that began on Wednesday.
A company spokesperson denied that the F-22 neither be flying nor be showcased as a static display.
“F-22 is not coming to India. At the best of my knowledge it will not be showcased on the last day of Aero India,” said Jack Giese of Lockheed Martin communication team.
According to the report emerging in media two F-22s were set to make its debut during Aero India 2011 in Bangalore. A Chinese news agency quoted an official from the Indian Defense Ministry as confirming that F-22 was likely to appear at the air show. F-22 is not only the US most advanced stealth fighter with the radar cross section of merely a steel marble, also the most advanced stealth fighter in the world.
It entered the US Air Force service in December 2005, and it could carry out the tasks of air- to-air and air-to-ground attacks with the precision-guided weapons.
11/02/11 ANI/Sify

Eurofighter anticipating partnership with India

The Eurofighter Partner Companies are now eagerly looking to partner with India with the aim to produce and develop the world’s most advanced swing-role combat aircraft.
During the Aero India 2011, the biennial Air Show organised by the Indian Ministry of Defence, Bernhard Gerwert, CEO of Cassidian Air Systems and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Eurofighter GmbH, explained details of the industrial partnership offer and the intention to integrate India as a partner in the Eurofighter programme.
With an ambitious industrialization strategy the major plan is to plug India as an industrial partner, the Eurofighter Consortium is seeking to develop and produce future upgrades and enhancements, new sub-systems, software, etc. in collaboration with India.
11/02/11 Duica Karljikovic/e Yugoslavia

Naveen Jindal flies French Rafael at Bangalore’s Aero India show

Bangalore: Lok Sabha MP Naveen Jindal took to the skies as he co-piloted Dassault’s Rafael fighter aircraft on the third day of the Aero India 2011 show here.
Jindal, who holds a commercial pilot’s license, said that the fighter plane went upto 50,000 feet high.
“It was an amazing experience for me and when the aircraft takes off the amount of thrust and speed that you feel its like you can not feel anywhere. It feels like a rocket or like a bullet that has been fired. So, that’s the most amazing feeling,” said Jindal.
Jindal is the third celebrity to fly a combat aircraft during the air show.
Indian ace shooter and Olympic gold medalist Abhinav Bindra flew fighter jet F-16 Super Viper of the US aerospace major Lockheed Martin Thursday, while India’s only cosmonaut Wing Commander (retd) Rakesh Sharma co-piloted Super Hornet on Friday.
Ace Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid also visited the air show and was seen enjoying the fighter jets at the show.
12/02/11 ANI/

Living life on the edge everyday says Suryakiran team

Bangalore:  Members of the Suryakiran team, Indian Air Force’s elite aerobatics squad, today highlighted the attributes that went into the making of a Suryakiran pilot.
“To be a Suryakiran pilot you need to have the courage of a bull fighter, the steady nerves of a surgeon and the spirit of a braveheart”, said wing commander Prajual Singh, team leader and commanding officer of the squad, performing at the ongoing Aero India show.
“Most of us are in the team because we love the thrill and the sheer adventure it offers”, Singh said.
The team has mesmerismed onlookers with their risky, crisp and stunning mid-air complex manoeuvres at the show.
“Knowledge of the aircraft, maturity to take the right decision and discipline are the three basic traits required”, said Singh, whose team’s mid-air stunts like criss-crossing in the skies, rolling the metal bird on its belly and looping around, has come in for accolades.
“Alertness and precision required for conducting an aerobatic display, requires continuous practice”, said wing commander Deepak Setia. “It is only practice that makes us perfect”, said Singh echoing Setia’s views.
11/02/11 Daily News & Analysis

Embraer May Develop Trainer Aircraft With India

Bangalore: Brazil’s Embraer S.A. may develop a basic turboprop trainer aircraft jointly with India to meet potential demand from the air forces in both nations, a senior company executive said Friday.
Embraer expects also to shortly win a contract from India to supply nine multi-mission aircraft, Orlando J F Neto, executive vice president for defense market, said.
Embraer is among several defense companies worldwide who are participating at the ongoing Aero India show on expectations that the south Asian country will buy more weapons, aircraft and other defense equipment to modernize its armed forces. India’s federal government has allocated a military budget of 1.47 trillion rupees ($32.23 billion) in the current fiscal year through March.
Mr. Neto said the Brazilian air force currently has between 100 and 150 Tucano turboprop trainer aircraft–manufactured by Embraer–which will need to be upgraded or replaced with a new trainer aircraft by 2018.
“So, we will also have a room for replacement and so there is a scope to co-develop and co-produce a basic trainer,” Mr. Neto said. “Both countries can probably spend the money equally and produce about 100-150 planes each.”
11/02/11 Santanu Choudhury/Wall Street Journal

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