Tag Archives: India

Wildly varying headlines surround Indian Rafale ‘deal’ this week

If international headlines are anything to go by, nobody knows what is actually going on in talks between Indian and Dassault for 36 Rafale fighter jets. This week’s headlines ranged from ‘India’s Rafale deal in trouble over offsets and cost’ and ‘Talks for 36 Rafale jets far from over’ to ‘Rafale deal in final stage’ and ‘Rafale deal finalised’. Take your pick!

Each day, the vagenuess surrounding this ‘deal’ gets more vague. In fact, it got more vague on each of the 365 days since a ‘deal’ for 36 aircraft was first reported, also here on Airheadsfly.com. Since then, talks have dragged on over offsets, technology transfer and of course, costs. The deal is worth roughly 8 billion USD.

Flirting in the US

Most importantly, both Dassault and New Delhi mostly kept silent this week. However, India has been known to flirt with both Boeing and Lockheed Martin over the F-18 Super Hornet and F-16 respectively. The promise of local production for these type seems to tempt New Delhi.

Meanwhile, news outlets base their stories on sources ‘close to the negotiations’. It very much looks like something is to be expected soon from an official source. That source will either have his pen ready to finally ink the deal, or a firm headache after difficult talks that eventually led India in the arms of Boeing or Lockheed Martin, or maybe even their Russian equivalents.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Elmer van Hest
Featured image (top): Will this deal ever land?
(Image © Marcel Burger)

Impressive Indian stop over in Portugal

Portugal welcomed some rare birds last week, as four Indian Sukhoi Su-30 Flankers and four Sepecat Jaguars landed at Beja airbase. The fighter jets were accompanied by two Ilyushin Il-78 tanker aircraft and two C-17 Globemasters whole on their long, long way to Alaska for exercise Red Flag.

India is sending the aircraft plus a contingent of 150 personnel to the prestigious military exercise within the framework of military cooperation between New Delhi and Washington. The last time India attended Red Flag was in 2008. Then, only Su-30s were involved and the stage was not Alaska, but Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
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Red Flag

Red Flag features aircraft from the US and other NATO countries and provides an opportunity for the Indian Air Force to train  in complex war environments. Aircraft such as the F-22 Raptor and other fighter jet will be involved and thus provide a good experience for Indian Jaguar pilots and Su-30 crews in particular.

The ferry of the aircraft from India to Alaska was a complex operation. The jets and their support aircraft routed via Bahrain, Egypt, France and Portugal, from where they crossed the Atlantic to Canada before finally arriving in Alaksa for Red Flag.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com contributor Jorge Ruivo – www.cannontwo.blogspot.pt
Featured image (top):  An Indian Air Force Jaguar on finals at Beja. (Image ©
Rafael Vieira)

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Russian Helicopters on the move with Mi-17

Some interesting news about the Russian Helicopters Mi-17 helicopters in recent days. The first is the delivery of a second batch of Mi-171 helicopters to the Angolan Air Force. Besides that, as announced on Tuesday 29 March, it seems that Russian Helicopters is close to reach agreement for the long-term service contract with India for the Mi-17 types in service.

“We have conducted negotiations with our Indian partners and we plan to sign a contract that will lay the foundation for collaboration between Russian Helicopters and India in an entirely new way. The company is shifting from offering separate services to providing comprehensive after-sales support.  The possibility of such collaboration is now being discussed with the Air Force, Navy and border patrol troops of India,” said Igor Chechikov, Russian Helicopter’s deputy CEO at Defexpo India 2016. 

“For us, it will be the first long-term service contract with India.  Set prices and delivery dates for supplying equipment needed to repair our helicopters are among the advantages of this type of contract.  It will boost Russian-made helicopters’ after-sales system to a new level.”

Mi-17 helicopters in India

According to the preliminary agreement, Russian Helicopters will provide repairs to Mi-17 type helicopters and will supply spare parts for them throughout the entire life cycle of the rotorcraft.  Repairs of helicopters operated in India will be performed by enterprises belonging to Russian Helicopters holding company.

The contract life cycle is expected to be 3 – 5  years.  Its further extension, as well as an expansion of helicopter models covered by the after-sales support system, are also being considered.

(Image © Russian Helicopters)
(Image © Russian Helicopters)

Second batch of Mi-171s to Angola

Recently, a batch of 4 Mi-171Sh helicopters has been delivered to Angola. The helicopters produced by JSC Ulan-Ude aviation plant (operating as part of Russian Helicopters) were supplied in addition to another four delivered to the customer in 2015. The rotorcraft supply contract was concluded by JSC Rosoboronexport.

The helicopters delivered to Angola are fitted with modern flight and navigation equipment optimizing the flight profile and increasing flight safety.

The Peruvian Army also received a second batch of 4 Mi-171Sh-P helicopters in December 2014.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Dennis Spronk
Featured image: An Indian Air Force Mil Mi-17V-5 (Image © Russian Helicopters)

Sea Harrier says “so long!” to India

The final 11 of originally 30 British Aerospace Sea Harriers have said so long to their motherland India, after serving the second largest populated country in the world for 33 years.

Six Sea Harriers already left the Indian Navy aircraft carrier INS Viraat on 6 March 2016, when the vessel – due to be retired itself this year – returned to Mumbai from its last cruise.

Russian-made to modern battlefield

The Indian Sea Harriers soldiered on a decade longer after the British Royal Navy retired their aircraft. Delivered first in 1983 the Indian Sea Harriers had little left to bring on a modern battlefield. Their role has been taken up by Russian-made Mikoyan-Gurevich designed, Irkut built MiG-29Ks. Of those jets – with the NATO reporting name Fulcrum – 30 of 45 ordered have been delivered.

Indian Navy aircraft carriers

The new breed will has not only equipped the air wing of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya with a nice combat element, it will also serve on board the new INS Vikrant when it will start sailing in 2019.

Sea Harriers in museums

For the remaining 11 India Sea Harriers the Autumn of their lives might come with a spotlight, when they will keep on serving as museum items on several locations. For now, they are stored at Indian Naval Air Station Hansa in Goa, until they began what must be the last journey of their lives. No more vertical take-offs, just a final landing.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: Formation of four Indian Navy Sea Harriers passing Port Orii (Image © Indian Navy)

Indian Light Combat Helicopter shows its power

The indigenous Light Combat Helicopter of India is showing more and more of its capabilities. The latest achievement in the flight testing phase: the firing of 70-mm rockets like it will do in a real-war situation.

The firing trials are executed at Jaisalmer, where the 20-mm gun in the nose turret, as well as air-to-air missiles will be deployed from the LCH this year as well, a spokesperson of the helicopter’s manufacturer, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), confirmed. “The LCH TD-3 is integrated with Electo-Optical (EO) System, Solid State Digital Video Recording System (SSDVR) and 70mm Rocket system in conjunction with an updated Glass Cockpit software to cater for rocket firing.”

The Indian Light Combat Helicopter firing 70-mm rockets during test trials (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
The Indian Light Combat Helicopter firing 70-mm rockets during test trials (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

Iron Fist 2016

Meanwhile HAL and the Indian Air Force are confident enough to enrole the LCH in the nation’s Iron Fist 2016 exercise, which starts on 18 March and takes place in the Thar Desert. A total of 181 aircraft are planned to take part, flying in from several bases.

Unique to the LCH

The Light Combat Helicopter – we at Airheadsfly.com actually hope somebody in India will come up with a fancy nickname – is a 5.5-ton class, combat helicopter. It is powered by two Shakti engines and inherits many technical features of the HAL Dhruv. According to HAL the features that are unique to LCH are sleek and narrow fuselage, tri-cycle crashworthy landing gear, crashworthy and self sealing fuel tanks, armor protection, nuclear and low visibility features which makes the LCH lethal, agile and survivable.

LCH-1 (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)
LCH-1 (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)

Targeting

The helicopter wil have day/night targeting systems for the crew including the Helmet Pointed Sight and Electro-Optical Pod consisting of CCD camera/FLIR/Laser Range Finder (LRF)/Laser Designator (LD). The LCH is fitted with Self Protection Suite consisting of Radar/Laser Missile warning systems and Counter Measures Dispensing System (CMDS).

The first prototype helicopter had its inaugural flight on 23 March 2010. Since then three more machines were added to the flight and weapons testing program.

© 2016 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image: The HAL Light Combat Helicopter prototype TD-2 in cold weather testing earlier, near Air Force Station Leh (Image © Hindustan Aeronautics Limited)