Amidst the face-off between Rafale(M) and F-18 Super Hornet, Russian MiG 29K primarily operate from INS Vikrant


14 Sep 2022

After a ceremonious induction into service, the race has been on to determine who best would operate from INS Vikrant and would be by the Indian Navy's requirements.

It appears that the "Black Panthers" - a naval variant of the Russian-built MiG-29, would be the primary fighters of INS Vikrant, the largest ship ever constructed in India. The Indian Air Force has employed the aircraft for a very long time.

Representative | Indian Defense Forum

35 aircraft can be housed on the INS Vikrant. The largest ship ever built in India, INS Vikrant, will have the Russian-made MiG-29K as its primary weaponry while India is acquiring either the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet or Dassault Rafale M.

ALSO READ - Boeing calls F/A-18 Super Hornet “the best deck-based aircraft” for the Indian Navy

Zee News

The MiG 29K

The MiG-29K will be flown from the INS Vikrant and will be used to attack both the air and the ground.

The MiG-29K is a fighter plane that can fly in any weather and can go faster than twice the speed of sound, or Mach 2. It can pull with up to eight times the force of gravity and fly to more than 65,000 feet in the air.

The Economic Times

The MiG-29K can attack targets in the air, on the water, and land, and it can fly long distances to complete important missions because it can refuel in the air.

The MiG-29K squadron is known as INAS 303, also known as the "Black Panthers," and is headquartered at the INS Hansa in Goa. It was hailed as a "game-changer" since it ushered in a new age of fighter flying in the Indian Navy.

The MiG-29K has sufficient power to perform both "air dominance" and "power projection" simultaneously. This offers a wide range of alternatives to the fleet commander at sea.


CREW1MAXIMUM TAKE-OFF WEIGHT24,500 kgPOWERPLANT 2 × Klimov RD-33MK after-burning engines,MAXIMUM SPEED2,200 km/hCRUISE SPEED1,500 km/hCOMBAT RANGE850 kmSERVICE CEILING17,500 mGUNS1 × 30mm Gryazev-Shipunov GsH-30 -1 autocannon with 150 roundsTHRUST/WEIGHT 0.95Wikipedia

The warship's airwing will also include Kamov-31 helicopters, American MH-60R multi-role helicopters and Advanced Light Helicopters(ALH) and Light Combat Aircraft(LCA) from Russia.

Kamov-31 | Wikimedia Commons

The MiG-29K (Korabelny) is a 4.5th-generation aircraft. It differs significantly from the IAF MiG-29B models that are most effective for air-to-air missions.

Russia delivered 45 MiG-29K/KUB fighters to India in two shipments. The second batch of 29 aircraft was dispatched in 2016. The first 16-plane group was dispatched in 2011.

The Defense Ministry planned to spend Rs 7,418 crore, or around $1 billion, in 2020 to purchase 21 MiG-29s and upgrade 59 MiG-29s.

It is a fighter that can do both air-to-air and air-to-ground manoeuvres. India is also attempting to enhance the capabilities of this jet in the interim. For the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29K/KUB fighter planes that take off from aircraft carriers, the Navy is testing a new mission computer.

At the MAKS Airshow, a MiG-29K with its weapons. The folded wings make the most of the small amount of space available on an aircraft carrier | Wikipedia

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, a state-owned firm, produced the mission computer. The new system is designed to provide the Navy with the choice of using the Soviet-era MiG-29K in conjunction with air-launched weaponry developed in the nation or the West.

The INS Vikrant may not be prepared for combat for another five to six months. Until then, operations will be flown by fighter aircraft, and the battleship will be equipped with surface-to-air Barack missiles. Reportedly, the tests are slated to commence in November and end in May of 2023.

Representative | Reddit

The Dassault Rafale has been favoured by many aviation experts because of the Indian Air Force's satisfaction with its performance, and the Rafale-M has been dubbed the ideal aircraft for the Navy. However, it has not yet been decided which fighters would replace the MiG-29K.


COVER: Livefist

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Pawan Hans encourages female aviators by organising the "Girls in Aviation India" event

Radhika Bansal

13 Sep 2022

The team at Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) recently organised an event with the theme "Girls in Aviation India" featuring Captain Ashima Mendiratta, India's youngest female multi-engine helicopter pilot.

Women have played a significant part in society's advancement since the dawn of time. They are breaking the glass ceiling by contributing significantly today in the Indian aviation industry as well.

The purpose of the event was to close the gender gap in the workforce by encouraging more women to work in aviation. It also placed a strong emphasis on fostering a visionary goal that would see the proportion of women in aviation rise from 15% to 50% shortly.

The event's keynote speaker, Captain Ashima Mendiratta, emphasised the value of women in aviation, emphasised the changing role of women, and urged female students to pursue careers in the aviation sector and its related fields.

The event was held at the Government Senior Sec. School in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh on September 9, 2022, and was sponsored by Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) and Women in Aviation (an NGO whose mission is to inspire women to pursue challenging and rewarding careers in aviation).

For advancing and assisting women in a variety of aviation-related verticals, Pawan Hans is the industry pioneer. The largest helicopter operator in India has the highest proportion of female employees in the Indian helicopter industry, with 4 helicopter pilots, 3 aircraft maintenance engineers, and 12 technicians.

Pawan Hans encourages female aviators by organising the "Girls in Aviation India" event

ALSO READ - India has its first female offshore Pilot-in-Command

While airlines operated flights with the all-women crew to celebrate Women’s Day, Pawan Hans Ltd (PHL), the public sector company that operates helicopters had its quiet moment in history when its pilot Capt Mayuri Deshmukh became India’s first female offshore Pilot-in-Command.

ALSO READ - Jyotiraditya Scindia wants 50% women pilots

Recently, Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that 15% of total pilot strength in the country is women, while other countries have only 5% strength. With this, India tops the list of most female commercial pilots in the world.

According to Government data dated December 6, 2021, out of 17,726 registered pilots in India, 2,764 pilots are women.

The team at Pawan Hans Limited (PHL) recently organised an event with the theme "Girls in Aviation India" featuring Captain Ashima Mendiratta, India's youngest female multi-engine helicopter pilot.

Further as per the International Society of Women Airline Pilots 2020, in terms of gender equality in the flight deck, India (12.4%) is far ahead of countries like Ireland (9.9%), South Africa (9.8%), Canada & Germany (6.9%), Australia (5.8%), USA (5.4%), UK (4.7%) among others.

As per the same survey, smaller regional airlines are the biggest employer of female pilots with a 13.9% gender ratio, while cargo airlines have the least ratio at 8.5% in India.

ALSO READ - We need to move Pilot training to India – Jyotiraditya Scindia

To boost pilot training in the country, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and its associated organizations have taken a series of initiatives. Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation University (RGNAU), India’s sole aviation university, works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

As per the same survey, smaller regional airlines are the biggest employer of female pilots with a 13.9% gender ratio, while cargo airlines have the least ratio at 8.5% in India.

It was established in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh in 2013 under the RGNAU Act. Ranked among the top 200 universities of the world, it has been helping in creating excellence in the field of aviation.

To promote the training of pilots, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) recently issued award letters for nine new Flying Training Organizations (FTO) at five airports (Belagavi, Jalgaon, Kalaburagi, Khajuraho, and Lilabari).

With rationalized land charges and other improvements, the digitization of approval processes at the regulator DGCA brings greater empowerment to flying instructors.

Importantly, these initiatives have benefitted all aspiring pilots, including women pilots, due to the increase in the number of hours flown at FTOs and the number of commercial pilot licenses given each year.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation, industry, and leading women aviation professionals, the Women in Aviation International (WAI) – India Chapter organizes several awareness programs across the country, with a special focus on young school girls, particularly from low-income families.

Recently, Northeast got its first remote pilot training school in Guwahati, as part of the central government’s quest to make India a hub for drone technology.

Under the flagship Udaan Yojana, the democratization of the aviation sector took place and 1,93,000 flights were started based on viability gap funding in the last 5 years where the government will also bear the cost of the tickets.

(With Inputs from News OnAIR)

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What are superchargers and turbochargers?

Jinen Gada

13 Sep 2022

If the induction air entering the engine is pressurized, or boosted, by either superchargers or turbosuperchargers, the aircraft's service ceiling can be increased. With these systems, an aircraft can fly at higher altitudes with the advantage of higher true airspeeds and the increased ability to circumnavigate adverse weather.

As a normally aspirated aircraft climbs, it eventually reaches an altitude where the engine is unable to perform a normal climb. That altitude limit is the aircraft's service ceiling, and it is directly affected by the engine's ability to produce power.

To increase an engine's horsepower, manufacturers have developed forced induction systems called superchargers and turbosupercharger systems. They both compress the intake air to increase its density. The key difference lies in the power supply.

A supercharger relies on an engine-driven air pump or compressor, while a turbocharger gets its power from the exhaust stream that runs through a turbine, which in turn spins the compressor.

When it comes to normally aspirated engines, the density and pressure of the air play a crucial role in determining how far your engine will stray from its rated horsepower at sea level. In other words, the higher you fly, the thinner the air entering the intake manifold of the engine will be.

So, for a normally aspirated engine, it is not possible to have a manifold pressure higher than the existing atmospheric pressure, whereas a supercharger and a turbocharger are capable of boosting the pressure higher.


Pros - Turbochargers

Turbochargers are more efficient than superchargers because turbos use waste air that's already exiting through the exhaust pipe. Though they don't run completely "free of charge". It does take energy for the engine exhaust to turn the turbine.

But in comparison to a supercharger, turbos use less fuel, and they typically have less total weight than a supercharger. Finally, most turbochargers provide a better total increase in horsepower than superchargers, because their speed can be changed by adjusting the wastegate (which is sometimes an automatic function).

Cons - Turbochargers

Most turbochargers suffer from lag. Because it takes a second or two for exhaust gas to spin up the turbine, there is a delay from when you throttle up your engine, to the time the turbine achieves its desired speed and output.

Next, turbos provide little to no benefit at idle and low power settings. And finally, turbos can suffer from a power surge. This happens when you rapidly reduce power, and air pressure quickly builds in the intake manifold, causing a temporary flow reversal and vibration. Surge isn't as much of a problem with modern turbos as it used to be, but it's something that you need to watch out for, especially if you're flying older turbocharged aircraft.


Pros - Superchargers

Superchargers have no lag, they boost an engine at low RPM, they run at cooler temperatures than turbos, and they're relatively cheap in comparison to turbos (those turbines can get really expensive).

Cons - Superchargers

Superchargers are inefficient because they require quite a bit of engine power to turn. That makes superchargers less fuel efficient than turbos. And finally, because they use a system of pulleys and gears to turn, more parts can break.

Superchargers Started It, But Turbos Are Here To Stay

Back in the mid-1900s, and especially during WWII, superchargers were usually the engine boost of choice. Their simpler operation was one of the main reasons. Another reason they were popular was a lack of metals that could handle the heat produced by turbos. Gas was also very cheap, so it wasn't that big of a deal to burn a little more gas to get the power output you wanted.

But now, high-temperature alloys, lighter weights, and better fuel efficiency have all made turbos the best choice for almost all of today's aircraft. And, with automatic waste gates on many models, they're easier (and more foolproof) to operate than ever before.

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Investors of HAL gained 105% in 2022

Jinen Gada

13 Sep 2022

Investments of those who bet in Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd stocks have more than doubled so far in 2022.

The shares of the company rose from Rs 1,233 per share in early January to Rs 2,534 to this day, which is a rise of about 105 per cent. In the same period, benchmark indices - Sensex and Nifty - rose just around 2 per cent on a cumulative basis.

Established in 1940, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd is a state-owned aerospace and defence company headquartered in Bengaluru.

The shares of the company rose over 400 per cent from as low as Rs 500 during the initial days of Covid. Meanwhile, the company is at the forefront of the indigenisation initiative of India's defence manufacturing.

Hindustan Aeronautics accumulated 105% returns for investors in 2022.

In early July, Hindustan Aeronautics and France-based Safran Helicopter Engines signed an agreement to create a new joint venture intended to develop helicopter engines.

ALSO READ - HAL signs MoU with Israel’s IAI to convert B767 passenger aircraft into mid-air refuellers

Earlier in April, Hindustan Aeronautics entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to convert civil (passenger) aircraft to multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) aircraft in India.

ALSO READ - HAL reaches a new high with earnings over INR 24,000 crore in FY22

Coming to the company's earnings, it reported a 6 per cent rise in revenue to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore in the financial year 2021-22 as compared to Rs 22,755 crore recorded the previous fiscal.

HAL looks set for a healthy order book.

Last financial year, it bagged a contract for the production of 15 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), 10 for IAF and five for the Indian Army.

The partnership would be dedicated to the development, production, sales, and support of helicopter engines and one of its main objectives will be to meet the requirements of HAL and the Ministry of Defence's future helicopters, including the 13-ton IMRH (Indian Multi-Role Helicopter).

ALSO READ - HAL signs contract with Honeywell for 88 engines for HTT-40 basic trainer aircraft

Later during the month, Hindustan Aeronautics signed a contract worth over USD 100 million with Honeywell for the supply and manufacture of 88 TPE331-12B engines/kits along with the maintenance and support services to power the Hindustan Trainer Aircraft (HTT-40).

(With inputs from NDTV)

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Air India subsidiaries to be privatised soon

Jinen Gada

13 Sep 2022

The process to sell three erstwhile subsidiaries of Air India and real estate including the iconic Air India building in Mumbai will be initiated by the government soon.

The government sold Air India to the Tata Group, along with Air India Express and a 50% stake in ground handling company Air India Singapore Airport Terminal Services. These were handed over to the new owners in late January.

The other assets - engineering subsidiary AI Engineering Services, ground-handling unit AI Air Transport Services and domestic carrier Alliance Air, along with real estate including the Air India Building in Mumbai's Nariman Point - are now held under a government-owned entity, AI Asset Holdings Ltd (AIAHL).

ALSO READ - Centre begins work on privatisation of Alliance Air & other Air India subsidiaries

Govt moves to sell Air India subsidiaries.

The government has started work on the proposed sale of Air India subsidiaries with road shows underway for discussions with prospective bidders including the Bird Group, Celebi Aviation and I Squared Capital.

"We have roadshows going on with prospective bidders. We already have cabinet approval for selling all the subsidiaries.We have been in communication with the Bird Group for some time now. Our plan is to monetise the subsidiaries, and set-off liabilities as soon as possible. The dues are increasing and adding to the debt."An official told.

ALSO READ - Celebi Aviation interested in bidding for Air India’s ground handling unit

Bird Group, Celebi Aviation, and I Squared Capital has shown interest in taking over Air India Air Transport Services Ltd (AIATSL), which is a subsidiary of Air India. The other subsidiaries include Airline Allied Services Ltd (AASL) or Alliance Air, Air India Engineering Services Ltd (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd (HCI) which are held by Air India Assets Holding Ltd, a special purpose vehicle set up in 2019 for holding the non-core assets and debt of Air India.

Govt hopes to earn Rs 16,000 crore from the sale of 3 Air India ex-units.

Bird Group is one of the largest third-party ground handling companies based out of Delhi. Celebi Aviation Holding is a ground handling company based out of Turkey and I Squared Capital is a private equity firm focusing on global infrastructure investment.

The central government earlier this year transferred the ownership of Air India to Tata Group after the latter emerged as the winning bidder for buying the loss-making carrier.

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10 airstrips in Rajsthan get INR 37.75 crore for development & expansion work

Radhika Bansal

13 Sep 2022

The Rajasthan government has sanctioned INR 37.75 crore for expansion work at 10 airstrips in the state.

An official statement said Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has approved the fund for various airstrip development works including boundary wall construction, campus wall construction and airstrip refurbishment.

Of these, INR 14 crore will be given for shifting the mega highway and Buddha Mandavar Road and construction of a boundary wall for the Kolana (Jhalawar) airstrip, and INR 4 crore for increasing the height of the boundary wall of the Abu Road (Sirohi) airstrip and other works there.

INR 37.75 crore was sanctioned for the development & expansion of 10 airstrips of Rajsthan

As much as INR 1.97 crore has been allocated for works at the Phalodi (Jodhpur) airstrip, INR 3.40 crore for the Talwara (Banswara) airstrip, INR 4.60 crore for the Padihara (Churu) airstrip, INR 4.50 crore for the Sirohi airstrip.

The government allocated INR 2 crore each for the Tarapura (Sikar) airstrip and the Kumher (Bharatpur) airstrip, INR 1.23 crore for the Sawai Madhopur airstrip and INR 5 lakh for the Hamirgarh (Bhilwara) airstrip.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) plans to connect more than 50 wildlife and tourism destinations in the next stage of the regional connectivity initiative Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN).

ALSO READ - UDAN 5.0 to air connect 54 wildlife and tourism destinations

The government has prepared a list of potential airports. Most of these destinations already have either an underserved or unserved airstrip.

It has identified 54 new destinations for the next phase of the scheme. The fifth phase of the scheme — is to be called UDAN 5.0. — will aim to add or revive airstrips closer to wildlife sanctuaries, tourist destinations or spiritual places. 

The government has prepared a list of potential airports. Most of these destinations already have either an underserved or unserved airstrip.

The list includes 10 airstrips, which are near wildlife sanctuaries like Ranthambore (Sawai Madhopur) and Bharatpur in Rajasthan, Bishnupur, also cultural destinations in West Bengal, Yavatmal in Maharashtra, Satna, Dhana and Mandla in Madhya Pradesh and  Nagarjuna Sagar in Andhra Pradesh.