From Vayu Aerospace Re­view, Is­sue III/ 1993

Vayu Aerospace and Defence - - Frisian Flag 2018 -

In­dian – Rus­sian Air Chiefs meet

Bi­lat­eral talks be­tween the Rus­sian and In­dian Air Force Air Chiefs in late April ended on a promis­ing note with the Rus­sian Air Chief ex­press­ing op­ti­mism that the sup­ply of crit­i­cal spares would be en­sured de­spite the present po­lit­i­cal pre-oc­cu­pa­tions in Rus­sia.

Keep­ing in view that the IAF’s fleet of air­craft is es­sen­tially of erst­while Soviet ori­gin, the two sides also held wide rang­ing discussions on “ap­pli­ca­tion of air power com­mon to both the air forces, on as­pects of ser­vice­abil­ity of the air fleet, type of snags emerg­ing on com­mon air­craft types and un­der­stand­ing the us­age of com­mon equip­ment.” An­other is­sue that came up for dis­cus­sion was ser­vice co­op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing ex­change of in­for­ma­tion on ser­vice­abil­ity, accident rates, op­er­a­tional strat­egy etc.

While elab­o­rat­ing on the need for up­grad­ing the MiG- 21 fleet which is oth­er­wise fac­ing a phase out by 1995, Air Chief Mar­shal NC Suri said that the ef­fort was to up­date it in or­der to sus­tain an ex­pected bat­tle­field en­vi­ron­ment over the next 15 to 20 years.

AJT, LCA and HAL

Chief of Air Staff IAF, Sci­en­tific Ad­vi­sor to the RM and Chair­man HAL have made cer­tain pol­icy state­ments on the AJT of which, “the im­me­di­ate pro­cure­ment is manda­tory and in the ab­so­lute in­ter­est of the IAF.” Dr APJ Ab­dul Kalam, said that the HAL-man­u­fac­tured Light Com­bat Air­craft (LCA), which are to re­place the MiG-21s, would be devel­oped by HAL by June 1996 to meet the de­mand of the coun­try and abroad by the year 2002 or 2003.

RN Sharma, Chair­man, HAL, said that the year 1992-93 had been a nightmare for the avi­a­tion in­dus­try be­cause of the cuts in de­fence bud­gets and the drop in the de­mand for air­craft. He added, how­ever, “I don’t be­lieve that the war­plane busi­ness will go away”.

MiG-29 engine prob­lems

In what amounts to a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion of the poor record of the MiG-29’s RD-33 en­gines, the Comptroller and Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s re­port tabled in Par­lia­ment on 11 May 1993, re­veals that 74 per cent of the en­gines had “failed pre­ma­turely”. In its lat­est re­port for the year 1993 on the Navy and the Air Force the CAG said that 74 per cent of these ad­vanced en­gines for the fighter air­craft bought at the cost of Rs 326 crore had failed pre­ma­turely within five years and been with­drawn till July 1992. Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, of the to­tal of 188 en­gines avail­able in the fleet, 139 en­gines had failed pre­ma­turely, with 62 en­gines be­ing with­drawn even be­fore com­ple­tion of fifty per­cent of pre­scribed over-haul life, which was 300 fly­ing hours.

40th An­niver­sary of the In­dian Naval Air Arm

High­light­ing the 40th An­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of In­dian Naval Avi­a­tion were the ‘CNS Di­vi­sions’ at INS Garuda (Welling­ton Is­land, Cochin) on 12 May. As part of the smart pa­rade by of­fi­cers and sailors, was the fly­past by naval air­craft, led by 3 Chetak he­li­copters, fol­lowed by 2 Ka-28s and 3 Sea Kings. The fixed-wing com­po­nent com­prised pairs of Is­lan­ders and Dornier 228s, three Sea Har­rier V/STOL fight­ers and fi­nally a lone Ilyushin Il-38 ASW/MR air­craft. The lat­est air­craft-type in­ducted is the HAL-built Dornier 228 which has re­placed the ven­er­a­ble Breguet Al­ize MR/ASW air­craft and will sup­plant the PBM Is­lan­ders for var­i­ous sec­ondary tasks.

Royal Air Force is 75

The Royal Air Force marked the 75th An­niver­sary of its for­ma­tion of 1 April 1993. The main event was to be a cer­e­mo­nial pa­rade and fly­past by 149 air­craft at the RAF sta­tion Marham in Nor­folk but a heavy down-pour re­sulted in can­cel­la­tion of the fly­past and the colour cer­e­mo­nial was re­stricted to a brief cer­e­mony inside a han­gar. HM Queen Elizabeth II graced the oc­ca­sion with her pres­ence and was re­ceived by RAF Chief of the Air Staff.

Chi­nese M-11 mis­siles for Pak­istan

China is sup­ply­ing Pak­istan with hard­ware for mak­ing sur­face-to-sur­face mis­siles. The tech­nol­ogy trans­fer, if con­firmed, could have se­ri­ous con­se­quences on US re­la­tions with both Bei­jing and Is­lam­abad. Over the past-four months, satel­lite sur­veil­lance pho­tos and other sources have con­vinced the US in­tel­li­gence agen­cies that China has shipped to Pak­istan com­po­nent parts for mak­ing M-11 tac­ti­cal sur­face-to-sur­face mis­siles, which have a range of about 300 miles and are be­lieved ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing nu­clear weapons. China has re­peat­edly pledged to the USA that it would not ex­port mis­sile com­po­nents or tech­nol­ogy.

China N-build up in Ti­bet

China, which has sel­dom been sub­jected to crit­i­cal in­ter­na­tional scru­tiny on the nu­clear is­sue, has con­cen­trated on Ti­bet as a base for its nu­clear build-up. From en­gag­ing in se­cret nu­clear weapons man­u­fac­ture to dump­ing ra­dioac­tive waste there, suc­ces­sive Chi­nese gov­ern­ments have been re­spon­si­ble for the ill­ness and death of sev­eral Ti­betans near the ‘Ninth Acad­emy’ (a top-se­cret nu­clear city) and ura­nium mines in Ti­bet. These are the find­ings of ‘Nu­clear Ti­bet’, the first com­pre­hen­sive study of China’s nu­clear ac­tiv­i­ties on the Ti­betan Plateau, which was re­leased world-wide on 19 April by the In­ter­na­tional Cam­paign for Ti­bet (CT), a Wash­ing­ton-based hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tion.

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