Friday, October 3, 2008

‘Esoteric’ Airpower Issues

The customary press conference given by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) of the Indian Air Force (IAF) every year on the eve of Air Force Day (which falls on October 8) by and large targets contemporary issues on the state of airpower in the subcontinent and the more glamorous and glitzy issues regarding the IAF’s on-going force modernisation efforts and future plans. However, issues regarded as ‘esoteric’ by the mainstream media in India are very rarely raised and explored. Therefore, this is a honest effort by your’s truly to throw some light into the issue of Su-30MKI-related flying training for operational conversion, and for recurrent training for maintaining the Su-30MKI aircrew’s operational flying proficiency. The good news is that at long last, the first of three Su-30MKI full-mission flight simulators (also called tactical simulator) will become operational at Air Force Station Pune by the first quarter of next year. It should have been made operational by mid-2003 if one goes as per established practices with regard to the IAF’s new aircraft inductions (usually three types of simulators—the fixed-base cockpit procedures trainer, the full-flight simulator and a maintenance procedures trainer—are made operational by the time the first squadron converting to a new aircraft type achieves initial operational capability). But, as they say, better late than never. All three types of simulators are on order by the IAF from Russia’s RET Kronstadt, which is a subsidiary of Russia’s main civil/military simulation technology R & D entity, the Transas Corp. The full-mission simulator (photo 1) will be integrated with a combined mission planning system/post-mission debrief system developed specifically by Israel’s RADA Electronic Industries for the Su-30MKI.
The Indian Navy, meanwhile, has already taken delivery of its MiG-29K full-mission flight simulator from Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH (RDE) and this training aid will be commissioned into service at Dabolim by the year’s end. Final systems check-outs are now underway. The full-mission simulator comes equipped with the Evans & Sutherland-built Avior high-fidelity stereoscopic laser-based image projection system. For the MiG-29K aircrew it will ensure an exceptionally high degree of realism in simulating take-offs and landings on an aircraft carrier. In simulating a night landing, for example, the lights of the runway can be simulated extremely vividly. One can only hope that the IAF takes a page out of the Indian Navy’s pro-active, well-established and consistent practice-cum-timetables of acquiring full-mission simulators for both fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft.
On a related note, the IAF has begun creating its own state-of-the-art, network-centric, fully instrumented facility in the state of West Bengal. As per present plans, the IAF, like the USAF, has adopted the cluster approach under which it will equip the air bases in Kalaikunda, Hashimara and Barrackpore, and the air-to-ground ranged at Dega near Kalaikunda and at Chandipur-on-Sea with rangeless dissimilar air combat manoeuvring and instrumentation-related infrastructure (from both Israel Aerospace Industries [the EHUD ACMI pod, photo 2] and RADA Electronic Industries) as well as telemetric sensors for real-time tracking of air-to-ground weapons launches. By 2010 air force detachments from friendly air forces will take turns to converge at these installations and conduct highly realistic air exercises using large force employments of mixed aircraft packages flying against one another. The Indian Navy too will be able to use these facilities both over land and water. Further details of this project are available in the October 2008 issue of FORCE magazine.—Prasun K. Sengupta


Max said...

"Further details of this project are available in the October 2008 issue of FORCE magazine."

Trying to promote FORCE? I thought it's in Malay isn't it? And only available in Malaysia.

Max said...

BTW i like your approach by backing your posts with many pictures. Keep it up.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

Max, mere humdum mere dost, FORCE is an all-English monthly magazine published from Delhi. TEMPUR, on the other hand, is a monthly bilingual magazine published from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Mucho mucho thanks for your comments. Many many more to come inshallah. Rock On!

Anonymous said...


Sorry I'm not in India so I don't know about these magazines. I'm a NRI. Sorry got confused with Tempur. Inshallah ? u Muslim?

Max said...


Its me sorry forgot to key in my name

Prasun K Sengupta said...

To Anon@12:16AM: No Max, I'm not. It was just a figure of speech.

Anonymous said...

to sengupta

bars 29 is a PESA radar and a similar tech PESA radar is on rafale now is rbe2 pesa

what r the differences between detection ranges between bars29 and rbe2 pesa radars

rafale has smaller radar diameter

its around 550mm in dia

and mig 29 has 700mm dia

is the diameter of bars29 bigger than rbe2 radar

if yes then the bars29 must have greater detection range than rbe2 pesa radar

please explain

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The BARS-29's brochure distributed at Aero India 2005 states that it has a detection range of 120km against a 5-square metre target. The RBE-2 PESA's detection range is similar. But the RBE-2's AESA variant alog with the CEASAR from EADS will be the most interesting non-US AESA radars to look out for. The RBE-2 AESA, however, will begin entering service by 2011, earlier than those non-US AESAs being proposed by EADS and Ericsson Microwave. In addition, the THALES RBE-2 AESA will feature a very high degree of sensor fusion with the THALES-developed IRST sensor and this will give the Rafale a very discrete but reliable non-cooperative target recognition (NCTR) capability against stealthy airborne threats like cruise missiles.

Anonymous said...

Any idea which aircrafts in the IAF inventory have simulators.

Prasun K Sengupta said...

The IAF presently has flight simulators, cockpit procedures trainers and maintenance simulators for the Jaguar, Mirage 2000 and Hawk Mk132 only, while the first of three Su-30MKI flight simulators will arrive by the year's end. The C-130Js will also be accompanied by all three types of simulators, as will the Tejas LCA. There are no flight simulators for the MiG-21, MiG-23BN, MiG-27M, MiG-29, IL-76MD, IL-78MKI, An-32B, Do-228, Alouette III and Dhruv ALH. The Indian Navy has flight simulators for the Sea Harrier and the MiG-29K, plus those for the Sea King Mk42B helicopter. There are no simulators for the Ka-25, Ka-28, Ka-31, Do-228, Tu-142M and IL-38SD.

Anonymous said...

So it would seem Western manufacturers have been supplying simulators/trainers consistently rather than the Russians.
Another reason for India to move away from Russian arms.

Thanks for promptly replying to all queries.