IAF Issues INR 10,000 Crore Tender to HAL for 12 Su-30MKI Fighter Jets

Radhika Bansal

23 Nov 2023

In a step towards boosting its squadron strength, the Indian Air Force has issued an INR 10,000 crore tender to the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for the purchase of 12 advanced Su-30MKI fighter jets.

"Recently, a tender has been issued to the HAL for buying the 12 Su-30MKI fighters, which will be manufactured in India by the HAL in partnership with the Russian original equipment manufacturers," defence sources told ANI.

The decision of the central government came amid the depleting fighter strength of the Indian Air Force. Notably, the new aircraft will fill in the void that has been created by the loss of 12 Su-30MKI fighters in accidents in the past 20 years.

The public sector company is expected to respond to the tender by next month with details of the project along with other details, they said. The aircraft would include a high percentage of indigenous content as per the requirement of the Indian Air Force in line with the Aatmanirbhar policies of the government in the defence sector. "These would be one of the modern Su-30 MKI aircraft of the IAF, equipped with multiple Indian weapons and sensors," they said.

The Indian Air Force is also working on a project to upgrade the fleet of Sukhoi-30 fighters an ambitious project that will see 84 of its planes get upgraded with indigenous weapon systems, advanced radars and avionics. "The project is planned to be completed with the HAL indigenously and it will also position us well for the upgrade of similar aircraft in foreign countries,” they said.

India has a fleet of 272 Su-30 fighter jets, which have been procured in different tranches by the service since the early 2000s. The aircraft have already been upgraded by integrating Indian systems and weapons like the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the Astra air-to-air missile.

Recently, the Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari stated that the BrahMos supersonic missile has 'galvanised and greatly enhanced' the firepower of the Indian Air Force and bolstered the nation's ability to defend itself in any conflict. He had said that the potent combination of a BrahMoS missile on the Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and mentioned that smaller versions of the next-generation BrahMos missiles are being developed for fitment to other combat aircraft.

The Su-30s have been deployed in many exercises and operations, including the Balakot air strikes and the ongoing military standoff with the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

SU-30 MK-I’s Powers

The Su-30MKI is a multi-role air dominance fighter that can carry a versatile array of weapons including the Astra Mk-1 long-range air-to-air missile, Brahmos Air Launched missile, and an array of bombs, among others.

The Su-30MKI, a 4.5-generation aircraft, can carry out complex manoeuvres at both high speeds and low speeds, which includes the iconic vertical Charlie manoeuvre. The aircraft, with the capability of air-to-air refuelling, can also carry out long-range patrol and other endurance missions.

The IAF is also in the process of upgrading its Su-30MKI fleet with an upgrade programme of over INR 30,000. The IAF, with Su-30MKI and Rafale fighter jets, has developed a strong package of fighters that can carry out tactical as well as strategic missions as per requirements.

The Sukhoi Su-30MKI is a two-seater, twinjet multirole air superiority fighter developed by Russian aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi and built under licence by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force (IAF). A variant of the Sukhoi Su-30, it is a heavy, all-weather, long-range fighter.

Development of the variant started after India signed a deal with Russia in 2000 to manufacture 140 Su-30 fighter jets. The first Russian-made Su-30MKI variant was accepted into the Indian Air Force in 2002, while the first Su-30MKI assembled in India entered service with the IAF in November 2004. The IAF has nearly 260 Su-30MKIs in inventory as of January 2020. The Su-30MKI is expected to form the backbone of the IAF's fighter fleet in 2020 and beyond.

The aircraft is tailor-made for Indian specifications and integrates Indian systems and avionics as well as French and Israeli sub-systems. It has abilities similar to the Sukhoi Su-35 with which it shares many features and components.

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India's Premier Flight School Faces Prolonged Grounding

Abhishek Nayar

23 Nov 2023

In a significant development for the aviation sector in India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has decided to suspend flying operations at Red Bird Flight Training Academy, the country's largest flying training organization (FTO). This decision comes in the wake of two aviation accidents within a short timeframe, prompting the regulatory authority to conduct a special maintenance audit and subsequently issue a show cause notice to Red Bird.


Two Consecutive Incidents Prompt Suspension

The DGCA took the unprecedented step of suspending flying operations at all bases of Red Bird Flight Training Academy on October 22, following two serious incidents involving the academy's aircraft on October 19 and 22, 2023. These incidents raised concerns about the safety and operational practices of the FTO, leading to a thorough investigation by the regulatory authority.

Special Maintenance Audit Unearths Deficiencies

In response to the accidents, the DGCA conducted a special maintenance audit at Red Bird's main base in Baramati, Maharashtra, and its sub-bases in Seoni (Madhya Pradesh), Kalburgi, and Belgavi (Karnataka), and Lilabari (Assam). The audit uncovered deficiencies in several key areas, including personnel training, maintenance schedules and records, internal audit practices, tool and store management, and fuel storage and handling.

Allegations of Corruption and Collusion

Shakeup in DGCA Leadership

Amid the safety concerns and the subsequent audit, the DGCA took further action by reassigning Captain Anil Gill, the former in-charge of FTOs, to another department. This move came in response to allegations of corruption and collusion with flying schools, raising questions about the integrity and transparency within the regulatory body.

Preliminary Investigation and Potential External Probe

A three-member DGCA panel conducted a preliminary investigation into the allegations against Captain Gill. The panel has forwarded its recommendations to the aviation ministry, contemplating whether the case warrants a probe by an external agency such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Enforcement Action and Recertification

Show Cause Notice and Enforcement Action

Based on the findings of the maintenance audit, DGCA has initiated enforcement action against Red Bird Flight Training Academy. A show cause notice has been issued to the organization, highlighting the identified deficiencies and seeking a response from Red Bird regarding corrective measures.

Recertification Process Initiated

DGCA's statement emphasized that Red Bird Flight Training Academy failed to consistently adhere to the provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937, and Civil Aviation Requirements, compromising the safety and airworthiness of its aircraft. As a result, the regulatory authority has decided to undertake the recertification of the maintenance organization and continuous airworthiness management of Red Bird afresh.


The suspension of flying operations at Red Bird Flight Training Academy marks a critical juncture for aviation safety in India. The DGCA's decisive actions underscore the commitment to ensuring the highest standards in training and maintenance within the aviation industry. As the recertification process unfolds, the industry and the public will be closely watching for the implementation of corrective measures and the restoration of trust in Red Bird's safety practices.

With Inputs from Time of India

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Air India Faces an INR 10 lakh Fine from DGCA Over Non Compliance of Civil Aviation Requirements

Radhika Bansal

23 Nov 2023

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) conducted inspections at Delhi, Kochi, and Bangalore Airports for Scheduled Domestic Operators in May and September in a bid to ensure their adherence to obligations regarding passenger facilities and compensation as outlined in DGCA regulations.

The inspections revealed that Air India was not in compliance with the relevant Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR). Consequently, a Show Cause Notice was issued to Air India on November 3, requesting a response to the observed non-compliance with regulatory provisions. At the time, the regulator had said that it considered it essential to continuously strengthen the rights of passengers and ensure that carriers operate under “harmonized conditions” by global best practices.

What Does CAR Says?

The CAR Section 3 relevant to this show cause notice is titled ‘Facilities to be provided to passengers by airlines due to denied boarding, cancellation of flights and delays in flights’, which was issued in 2010 and has been revised from time to time over the years. As per the regulator, the CAR was issued to ensure appropriate protection for air travellers in case of flight disruptions, “in particular, denied boardings, flight cancellations and delays”. The regulator said that to ensure compliance with passenger-centric CARS, it carried out inspections of scheduled domestic airlines at various major airports continuously since May 2023.

Upon reviewing Air India's response, it was determined that the airline had failed to adhere to CAR provisions. This included the absence of hotel accommodation for passengers affected by delayed flights, inadequate training of some ground personnel according to CAR stipulations, and failure to compensate international business class passengers who were forced to travel in unserviceable seats.

Following the findings, the DGCA has imposed a penalty of INR 10 lakh on the carrier for its non-compliance with its regulations. These pertain to "not providing hotel accommodation for passengers affected by delayed flights, non-training of some of their ground personnel as per the stipulations and non-payment of compensation to international business class passengers who were made to travel on unserviceable seats," it said. For these lapses, the regulator has imposed a financial penalty of INR 10 lakh. There was no immediate comment from Air India.

Last year, the regulator imposed a penalty of INR 10 lakh on Air India for not complying with the provisions of the Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on denied boarding of passengers.

Air India Ramping Up Routes & Aircraft

Earlier this month, Air India said it will add 30 aircraft and four new international destinations in the winter schedule. New aircraft joining the fleet will include six Airbus A350s, four Boeing 777s, and 20 Airbus A320neos. The airline said that it will add more than 400 weekly domestic and international flights during the winter schedule.

The airline has already ramped up the frequency by 25x weekly flights (each way) on eight international routes across points in Southeast Asia, the United States, and Europe. It has also announced flights on new routes, including Bengaluru-Singapore, Kochi-Doha, Kolkata-Bangkok, and Mumbai-Melbourne.

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Can Ingenious Innovations Silence Jet Engines for Good?

Abhishek Nayar

23 Nov 2023

As NASA anticipates a significant surge in U.S. air traffic by 2025, engineers are diligently working on innovations to mitigate the impact of aircraft noise, especially during takeoff. This article explores the basics of acoustics, the concept of noise, and the factors influencing aircraft environmental noise. Additionally, it delves into historical developments and cutting-edge technologies contributing to the reduction of aircraft noise over the years.

Acoustics: Understanding Mechanical Wave Behavior

Acoustics, the study of mechanical wave behavior in fluid and solid media, plays a crucial role in comprehending aircraft noise. Mechanical waves, when propagating through air or solid materials, manifest as what we perceive as "sound" or "vibration." In the context of aviation, the focus is on understanding and mitigating the unwanted noise produced during various phases of flight.

Aircraft Environmental Noise: Beyond Engine Roar

Aircraft environmental noise encompasses the sounds generated by aircraft during flight, takeoff, landing, and taxiing. While jet engines are a primary source, airframe components such as landing gear also contribute. The perception of aircraft noise is influenced by atmospheric conditions, the proximity of the aircraft to the listener, local terrain, indoor or outdoor settings, and whether the aircraft is arriving or departing.

Beyond Engines: Other Aircraft Noise Sources

Apart from engines, aircraft generate noise from the airframe, including landing gear and high lift devices. Supersonic aircraft introduce the unique element of sonic booms. Managing airframe noise poses challenges, particularly during maneuvers like deploying flaps and slats, as they are essential for aircraft control but contribute to increased noise.

Historical Progress: Quieter Skies Over Time

Over the last 50 years, airports have transformed from hubs of thunderous noise to significantly quieter environments. Advancements such as modern turbojets and turbofan engines, retirement of older noisy aircraft, noise regulations, and various technologies have collectively contributed to this positive shift.

Aircraft Noise Reduction Since the 1970s: Engine Innovations

The continuous reduction in aircraft noise since the 1970s can be attributed to advancements in engine design. Notably, the focus on higher bypass ratios, initially aimed at enhancing engine efficiency, has inadvertently led to quieter aircraft. Modern engines, like those on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787, draw only a fraction of the air into the engine core, resulting in a reduced noise profile

Innovations Driving Quieter Takeoffs: Chevrons and Plasma Actuators

In the pursuit of quieter takeoffs, engineers have explored technologies such as chevrons and plasma actuators. Chevrons, serrated edges on the trailing edge of jet engines, create quieter exhaust but come at the cost of increased fuel consumption. Plasma actuators, on the other hand, use electric arcs to ionize gas in the jet exhaust, reducing turbulence and noise when activated at specific frequencies.

Measuring Progress: Effective Perceived Noise Level (EPNL)

The effectiveness of noise reduction measures is quantified using the Effective Perceived Noise Level (EPNL). This metric, measured when an aircraft enters service, enables tracking improvements across successive generations of aircraft.

Future Prospects: Blended Wing Designs and Morphing Geometry

Looking beyond 2050, the aviation industry envisions even quieter skies with completely new aircraft geometries. Blended wing designs and morphing geometry, allowing aircraft to change shape, hold the potential for substantial reductions in airframe noise, increased efficiency, and improved environmental impact.


The journey towards quieter skies involves a combination of historical advancements and cutting-edge innovations. From engine design improvements to novel technologies like chevrons and plasma actuators, the aviation industry is committed to addressing the challenges posed by aircraft noise. As air traffic continues to rise, these efforts not only enhance the passenger experience but also contribute to a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence with the communities’ surrounding airports.

With Inputs from WOSU, BOOM, PHYS

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Indian Airlines Embrace Local Sourcing of Non-Critical Aircraft Components

Abhishek Nayar

23 Nov 2023

In the wake of global supply chain challenges impacting flight operations, Indian airlines are adapting to a strategic shift by turning to local suppliers for non-critical aircraft components. This move, mirroring a trend in the United States, is gaining traction in the Indian aviation sector as it promises cost and time benefits for carriers.

Local Sourcing for Cost and Time Efficiency

Air India and IndiGo executives have reported that the adoption of local sourcing for non-critical components is not only a response to the current supply chain disruptions but also a long-term strategy offering significant advantages. By relying on local suppliers, airlines anticipate cost savings of over 40% and a reduction in the availability time for certain components from six months to under 30 days.

Negotiating Favorable Terms and Building a Substantial Fleet

The substantial orders placed by Indian airlines for aircraft are not only expected to result in a sizable fleet but also empower domestic carriers to negotiate favorable terms with lessors. The inclusion of local non-critical parts in leasing agreements is poised to further contribute to cost savings and operational efficiency.

Airline Perspectives on Non-Critical Components

Sisira Kanta Dash, Air India’s chief technical officer, highlighted the need to explore local alternatives for even minor components, such as paper for printers and stickers on cabin furnishings. Dash emphasized that if a part is non-critical, it should be acceptable for local sourcing. IndiGo, the largest airline in India, has also embraced this approach, seeking approvals from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for purchasing non-critical, non-structural items. The airline has already implemented the use of indigenous non-critical parts, demonstrating the acceptability and viability of this strategy.

Regulatory Support and Industry Readiness

Contrary to potential concerns, airline executives have reported a positive response from regulators. Parichay Datta, vice president and deputy head of engineering at IndiGo, noted that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been cooperative in granting approvals for the use of non-critical, non-structural items. This regulatory support has encouraged airlines to extend this approach beyond a few parts to include a broader range of non-structural, non-critical items within the cabin.

Impact on Older Aircraft and Industry Readiness

This shift in approach is particularly beneficial for airlines operating older aircraft, where small parts may no longer be readily available in the market. As demand for these locally sourced parts rises, the Indian maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) industry is gearing up to build capacity. Bharat Malkani, President of the MRO Association of India, emphasized the industry's readiness to produce small parts acceptable to Indian airlines but highlighted the need for clarity from airlines regarding acceptability in the initial phases of design and production.


The Indian aviation sector's move towards local sourcing of non-critical aircraft components reflects a strategic response to global supply chain challenges. With airlines experiencing tangible benefits in terms of cost savings, reduced lead times, and regulatory support, this shift is poised to become a cornerstone of the industry's operational resilience and sustainability. As the MRO industry aligns itself with this trend, collaboration between airlines and local suppliers is expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future landscape of aviation in India.

With Inputs from Mint