The Indian Air Force is looking at ground personnel to pilot its Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) because of the existing shortage of pilots and is likely to allow qualifying PBORS (Personnel Below Officer Ranks) to become UAV pilots as well.
The commander of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan has, in his assessment to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, said that ‘increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions’. General Stanley McChrystal, while promising a new ISAF strategy, also points out the need for additional forces, calling the next year critical.
StratPost’s Saurabh Joshi tries to analyze the fortnight-long controversy over intrusions by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army across the Line of Actual Control into India and the larger environment between the two countries from which this flare-up has arisen.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office statement says, “Future attacks may target public places frequented by Westerners and expatriates, including in the major metropolitan centers (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai) and tourist areas such as Goa.” This advisory comes with Israel too issuing its highest level warning of a terror strike in India.
The Very High Concrete Threat, the highest level of threat perception issued by the Israeli Counter Terrorism Bureau, recommends that Israelis refrain from visiting places known to be frequented by westerners and Israelis and places without visible armed security, and also urges Israelis to avoid visiting the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The IAF’s airlift capability has been extended, with an AN-32 landing at Nyoma airfield in Eastern Ladakh, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The AN-32 can carry up to 50 passengers.
The flight trials currently underway are not only a test for the selection of aircraft for the IAF, but also an opportunity for the six contenders to set records for a take-off from the highest altitude in the world, from the runway at Leh.
The news of the reprieve is greeted with honest bewilderment. “We don’t know what’s happening,” said one official from the Swedish vendor, a rival to Dassault’s Rafale of France for the Brazilian order. Indications are also being drawn from the absence of the Brazilian Air Force chief at the announcement of the deal.
Saab claims this radar to be unique for its ‘Swashplate’, which allows the face of the radar to be swiveled around allowing for radar coverage up to an angle of a hundred degrees, sideways, also tagging the Gripen with a price that is half of the F-16 and a quarter of the twin-engine contenders in the race.
This may be significant for the Indian MMRCA contest as five of the original six contenders for the Brazilian order are also vying for Indian Air Force order. “We came up on top in the technical evaluation,” said a source from Dassault, who also indicated the parameters of the two contests to be similar.
So far, the aircraft was in the week long first phase of trials which consisted of training on the aircraft for Indian Air Force (IAF) test pilots comprising academic exercises, cockpit familiarization as well ‘a bit of flying’, as one insider put it.