Sunday, March 29, 2009
This is the third launch in series for the Block-II version for the Indian Army. With this launch the requirement of army for the land attack version with Block-II advanced seeker software with target discriminating capabilities has been fully met and this version is ready for induction.
Photo of today's launch Courtesy BrahMos Aerospace
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Rubin Bureau-designed Russian Navy's Sankt Petersburg, the lead ship of the class vying for the Indian Navy's second submarine production line.
Photos Courtesy Rubin Design Bureau
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Because let's be absolutely clear about one thing. Feroze's (that's his given name, not Varun) violent, peurile adventurism is the result of carefully modulated instructions. I say this now because there are several reasons why I don't think he believes in the things he said, beyond maybe for the ludicrously cheap political gains. But again, let's not play down the gains. Because Varun Gandhi has, overnight, gone from being the underdog Gandhi, paranoid, insecure and with nothing to call his own, directly into the harsh glare of the public eye where he's assured himself the wilful permanence that the media has in the past dealt to folks like Uma Bharti and that jackass from the VHP. Varun Gandhi is now a star for the deeply offensive things he said in those speeches. Let's not kid ourselves. In all likelihood, he will win from Pilibhit and even campaign for the BJP in other constituencies.
Varun's mentor (whoever that is) found in him an adequately dim-witted yet sophisticated young man, with all the energy and passion of a comfortable life, coupled with an instant detachment from the obvious dust of politics. I remember his popular column in RSS newspaper Organiser. I remember how Varun wrote flagrantly unedited copy, rich with inaccuracies and factual boo-boos about defence and national security. I remember wondering how someone with an obvious brain could write such drivel. Obviously I know very little about politics and perception, because in the span of a year of writing those deeply misinformed columns, Varun automatically became something of an authority on the security of akhand Bharat, even if he couldn't expand SLBM if a gun was held to his forehead.
Varun was a year senior to me in a boarding school in South India for two years. We didn't know each other in any real sense, but I of course knew who he was -- in Class 5, I remember it being immeasurably smooth that a Gandhi studied at the same school I did. In a sense I thought I must be doing something right! Well, as it turns out, for whatever reason, I hated the school, and after two years, threatened my parents with desertion if they did not immediately get me out and back home. I don't know if Varun went on to graduate from that school, but I imagine he did. I faintly remember a conversation with him outside his dormitory block (I was waiting for another friend), where we talked about Nintendo videogames and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles -- it's hard to remember or imagine what a phenomenon the Turtles were back then. But I digress.
I just think Varun Gandhi's getting too much credit (I mean that in the neutral sense of course) for something that isn't really his brainchild. His adventurism -- such as it is -- will almost certainly crank up his political position (it already, indubitably, has). I know people who know Varun Gandhi well -- people who've been his friends for years, and remain friends. He used to a date someone who was half-Muslim. If anyone took his diatribe against sardars seriously, that would be laughable. Varun, as everyone knows, is half-Sikh by birth. But again, that's besides the point.
There are only two points here that matter, and they're the only ones that matter. One, Varun Gandhi has consolidated perceptions of him and his political position in equal measure -- something that has assured him a berth in the wagon of dirty democracy. Two, he will have people to thank for it.
Monday, March 23, 2009
According to a joint statement by HAL and CAE today, "The training centre will feature multimedia classrooms, computer-based training, brief/debrief facilities, and a training management information system. The CAE-built full-mission simulator for HATSOFF will feature a common motion system, vibration platform, and visual display system, and four separate cockpit modules that can be used in the full-mission simulator. When a cockpit is not used in the full-mission simulator, it will be used as a fixed-based flight training device (FTD). The simulator will be certified to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Joint Aviation Authority (JAA) Level D, the highest qualification for flight simulators."
Photo of AK and Mrs Baweja by Shiv Aroor / LiveFist
Photo of CAE NH90 chopper simulator Copyright CAE, Inc.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Photo of ALH civil variant by Shiv Aroor
Saturday, March 21, 2009
But that's all in the past now. Air Chief Marshal Major has had two healthy, eventful years in office. And unless you seriously nitpick or provide credence to the quiet voices that always seep through the crannies of Vayu Bhawan, during his tenure he made no serious faux pas that would have handed him on a platter to his many detractors (there were and are many).
His recently designated successor, Vice Chief of Air Staff (VCAS) Air Marshal PV Naik is a rock-solid officer, whose name has been secured for the top job for some time now. As SASO Western Air Command and AOC-in-C Central Air Command, Naik has never once given the service or the establishment any reason to doubt that he will, without question, be the rightful next Chief of Air Staff. A no-nonsense fighter pilot with a dry sense of humour, Air Marshal Naik takes office under the next government, whichever way that swings!
As an officer who has commanded a base in the Valley and been on the directing staff at TACDE, Air Marshal Naik is superbly equipped with the huge task riding on his shoulders. For starters, with the impending expansion of the IAF space sub-branch and the creation of a crucial Directorate General of Operations (Air Marshal DC "Tiny" Kumaria is its first head), the IAF will begin to morph structurally and doctrinally in many different ways under the new chief. Urban warfare, the expansion of the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operations doctrine, and endless other concepts and doctrines will flow into the operational knowledge pool. The doctrinal loop enters one of its most critical phases ever in the next two-three years. Old machines out, new machines in. In five years, if things go the way the air force wants them to, the service will be a completely new setup, virtually unrecognisable from its present structure, such as it is.
One thing's for sure. As always, there's a great deal to look forward to.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Air Marshal Pradeep Vasant Naik has been appointed the next Chief of Air Staff (CAS). He takes office on May 31, with the retirement of incumbent chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major. Born on 22 Jul 1949, Air Marshal Naik was commissioned into the Air Force on 21 Jun 1969 as a Fighter Pilot. During his long distinguished service spanning nearly 40 years he has served in a variety of Command Staff and Instructional appointments. He has the distinction of 3085 hrs of flying to his credit. The Air Officer also took part in 1971 war. Before taking over as VCAS, he was Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Allahabad based Central Air Command. Besides being a fellow of the National Defence College, New Delhi, College of Defence Management, Secundrabad and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, he has attended a variety of courses like flying instructor Course, Jungle & Snow Survival, Junior Commanders Course. Air Marshal Naik was decorated with Param Vishist Seva Medal (PVSM) and Vishist Seva Medal (VSM). He is one of the Honorary ADCs of the Supreme Commander.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Photos Copyright Boeing
The Indian Air Force, which has been operating MiG-29s for over 20 years, has three operational squadrons with the type. According to well informed sources, the IAF has its own system of regular maintenance and stringent technical checks and its MiG-29s continue in frontline service even as the upgradation programme is underway in Russia. Apart from this, in January 2009 RAC “MiG”, for the purpose of prompt notification of the IAF, forwarded a methodic for inspection of critical zones of the aircraft fins.
As concerns the new MiG-29K / KUB carrier-based aircraft, these have been designed and produced in full consideration of the maritime conditions in which they will be operated. These aircraft have been suitably ‘marinised’ and there is no question of any defects in the airframe structure even during the aircraft long term storage.” Indian Naval aircrew are presently converting to this type in Russia."
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
According to the DRDO, on hard level ground (while keeping its amphibious capability activated), the vehicle should cruise at a minimum of 65-km/h, with a maximum speed during mission mode of 20 km/h. The vehicle should be able to gun up from zero to 32 km/h in under eight seconds, and brake from 65 km/h to stand-still in about the same time. With a flat cruising range of 400-km, cross-country range of 200-km and a mission intensive range of 150-km @ 5 km/h, the vehicle is being developed to hold 462 litres of diesel.
The lab has also set down its obstacle abilities. The maximum gradient possible for the vehicle will be about 35° at 5 km/h, with the ability to cross a 2.5-m trench and a vertical obstacke 0.7-m high. Its operating terrain conditions should include plains, deserts, semi-deserts, urban areas and river line. Obviously with almost no expertise in armoured vehicle powerpacks, DRDO is in the market for a 400HP liquid inter-cooled four-stroke turbocharged diesel engine,with an electric start and the ability to operate in a minimum ambient temperature of -20°C and a maximum of 55°C. The engine would likely have a drive-by-wire management system, a high coolant temperature warning, shut off mechanism at Low oil pressure, low coolant level and no coolant flow, power de-rating mechanism at high coolant temperature and warning at the fuel filter choking.
Top Photo of BMP-2 model by Allan Yang