Saturday, August 1, 2009

Australian Airforce inducted F-18F SUPER HORNET [BLOCK-II]

F-18F SUPER HORNET [BLOCK-II] Latest Pictures

IAF to begin trials for MMRCA this week

Entire process of testing wares of six competitors is expected to last till April

NEW DELHI: The Indian Air Force is all set to commence the trials for its quest to acquire 126 Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft starting at Bangalore next week. The entire process of testing the wares of six competitors is expected to last till April next year.

Each of the six vendors who are competing for the $10.2 billion (approx Rs. 48,000 crore) deal will be bringing in their fighter jets to India that would be tested in home conditions across three climate zones – hot, humid and cold — top IAF officials said.

First to get of the mark will be Boeing’s F/A 18 Super Hornet that would be flown by IAF team of test pilots at Bangalore, Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. Besides being a cold-weather terrain Leh is a high-altitude location while Jaisalmer is a desert area where hot winds blow.


The competitors include Swedish Gripen, Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Super Viper, Eurofighter Typhoon, Russian United Aircraft Corporation’s MiG 35 and French Dassault Aviation’s Rafale
would also be provided an opportunity for the trials.

The IAF has formed two teams of two test pilots who would evaluate the flying machine against the specific requirements of the IAF at each of these three locations. Planning for the trial schedule began some time back with the Indian test pilots being trained at the vendor’s country of origin.

The second phase begins with the flight trials in Indian airspace and in the third and final phase, the aircraft would be run through a batter of tests to check the efficacy of its weapons the manufacturers would mount on the aircraft at home country, the officials said.

The IAF completed technical evaluation earlier this year after the six competitors responded to the Request for Proposal issued by India last year.

Officials said the possibility of the trials overlapping could not be ruled out since the IAF hopes to complete the exercise latest by March/April 2010. Once the trials are over and aircraft identified, commercial negotiations would commence.

India plans to acquire 18 of these in ready-to-fly conditions with the rest being manufactured in India under transfer of technology.

(Courtesy: The Hindu)

MiG-29 upgrade may be delayed

BANGALORE: The cost escalation and time overrun that is plaguing the multi-billion dollar
Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier deal could soon haunt another mega Indo-Russian defence
deal. The Indian Air Force (IAF) is worried over the likely delay in the MiG-29 upgrade

For the IAF, already facing a serious depletion of fighter squadrons owing to a number of aircraft being ‘number plated,’ the delay in deliveries of the frontline MiG-29 could mean compromising India’s air superiority.

In a contract signed in March 2008 of nearly $850 million between India and the Russian
Aircraft Corporation MiG (RSK MiG) , the MiG-29 was to have been upgraded from an aerial
interceptor and air dominance aircraft to a fighter-bomber capable of striking mobile and
stationary targets on the ground and at sea with high-precision weapons under all weather

As per the contract, 54 single-seat fighters and eight trainers are being refurbished.While six aircraft will be upgraded by the MiG-29’s original equipment manufacturer (OEM), the remaining aircraft will be refurbished with kits supplied by RSK MiG at the IAF’s 11 Base Repair Depot (BRD) at Nasik. As per the original schedule, the first upgraded MiG-29 was scheduled to fly into India in March 2010.

However, officials from the OEM told The Hindu that there will be a delay of at least eight months in the arrival of the first upgraded aircraft. The Russians are attributing this to a delay in the IAF finalising the ‘buyer furnished equipment.’

The delay will translate into a year-long delay in the start of production aircraft at 11BRD. Fourteen aircraft are scheduled to roll out of 11BRD between April 2010 and March 2011.

Under the contract, the IAF have to indicate to RSK MiG the list of equipment and their physical dimensions that they want fitted on the upgraded MiG-29’s. Many of these items are to be sourced or integrated by Indian companies.

The upgrade programme had also run into rough weather last year after a Russian Air Force
MiG-29 crashed in December, with talk of the IAF even toying with decommissioning the fighter.

However, with the Russians furnishing the reasons for the crash - structural faults in the aircraft due to corrosion on the fin root ribs – and after the IAF conducted a thorough inspection of its entire fleet, flying recommenced.

Extension of life

The upgrade will allow the IAF to extend the life of the MiG-29 from 25 years (and 2,500
hours) to 40 years (3,500 hours). The Air Force had first proposed the upgrade after the
Pakistan Air Force added beyond-visual-range missiles and other advanced weaponry in 2003,
something that the IAF’s MiG-29s presently do not carry.

(Courtesy) Hindu