Thursday, February 12, 2009

Waging a dramatic ‘Battle of Manoeuvrability’ in the air, four foreign aircraft competing for the multi-billion dollar Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft lent a decisive business edge to the opening Aero India 2009 flight displays at the Yelahanka air base here on Wednesday.
The seventh edition of the biennial aerospace exposition had just begun.
Designed to impress Defence Minister A K Antony and other key defence officials watching the show, the twists, rolls and breathtaking loops by the F-18 Super Hornet, the F-16, the Russian MiG-35 and Eurofighter Typhoon almost overshadowed the spectacular aerobatics by the Suryakiran and Sarang teams. Clinical business sense laced with entertainment couldn’t have been more potent.
Taking off with a deafening roar, the Eurofighter did an upside-down flypast, returned for a low-speed pass before treating the gathering to a neat vertical climb.
But before the motley crowd of VVIPs and defence officials, media and invitees, could take another breath, the F-18 Super Hornet invaded the sky. In the next few fleeting minutes, the American fighter flew past for an abrupt push upwards at a 1.8 Mk speed.
And then came the MiG-35. With its astounding split-air manoeuvre and 360 degree Hi-G turns, the two-seater was definitely built for some smart moves. The barrel roll and inverted flight with a half roll that followed, and the characteristic Cobra manoeuvre only boosted the MiG-35’s image. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 had something else up its sleeve, performing a nine-G turn at high speed.
Earlier, the IL-78 re-fuelling aircraft made a mark with fuel dispensers attached to two Mirage 2000s in tandem. This flypast was followed by a five-Hawk formation, a five-Jaguar arrow-head formation, and four light combat aircraft in close formation.
12/02/09 Rasheed Kappan/Deccan Herald

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