A Word from Editor-in-Chief
A MAJOR EVENT THIS year has been the successful launch on June 5 of the geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV) Mk-III, the heaviest launch vehicle produced by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) so far. The GSLV Mk-III superbly inserted the communication satellite GSAT 19 into its planned geosynchronous transfer orbit. This flawless exercise has indeed been a landmark achievement in the history of India’s space endeavour and makes the nation proud! But as stated by Air Marshal B.K. Pandey (Retd) in his article on the subject in this issue of SP’s Aviation, ISRO has many more mountains to climb in its journey into space in the future. As a part of an overall plan to modernise the Indian armed forces, the Indian Air Force (IAF) too is currently embarked on a mission to upgrade its ageing fleet of combat aircraft. The IAF has identified two combat platforms, one of which is proposed to be manufactured in the country in collaboration with an Indian partner under the ‘Make in India’ scheme initiated by the present government. The two combat aircraft in the race are the F-16 Block 70 from Lockheed Martin Corporation of the United States and the JAS 39E Gripen from Saab of Sweden. While a final word from the government is awaited, latest reports in the media indicate that some more trials are to be conducted before one of the two platforms is finally selected. A number of articles on the subject of modernisation of the IAF figure in this issue of SP’s Aviation.
On the civil aviation front, the global airline industry is going through a phase of unprecedented technological change, providing significant opportunities but also formidable challenges for all stakeholders in the industry. In this issue of SP’s Aviation, there is an in-depth analysis by R. Chandrakanth on the game-changing developments that are taking place in respect of airliners. Carriers all over the world are already in the process of acquiring the new generation platforms or are planning to induct these in the near future. On the Indian civil aviation scene, the government is finally moving ahead to privatise the ailing national carrier, Air India. This issue has been pending long as attempts in the past to privatise the flag carrier has been scuttled each and every time for one reason or another. Hopefully, this time round, the government has a good chance of pushing this through. However, it may not be easy as there are some formidable challenges ahead for the government. A ‘Last Word’ on the subject is a part of this issue of the magazine.
The aviation community of the world eagerly awaits the iconic Paris Air Show, the oldest such event in the world that originated in 1908, just five years after the Wright Brothers got airborne for the first time in a heavier-than-air machine. This year too, the air show is being held at Le Bourget that has been its venue since 1953. While on the subject of air shows, this year, the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE 2017) that was held at the Geneva International Airport was, according to the organisers, one of the most successful in recent memory, reinforcing its reputation as the industry’s highly important event in Europe. As stated by Brandon Mitchener, CEO of EBAA, “Business aviation in Europe is growing and this show featured several new business models that offer new opportunities to grow the market further.” A detailed report on EBACE 2017 by R. Chandrakanth has been included in this issue of SP’s Aviation.
All these and more apart from the regular features in this issue of SP’s Aviation. Welcome aboard and happy landings!