Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bangalore: Twenty-five years after his tryst with fame, India's only cosmonaut to fly in space, Rakesh Sharma, was in the limelight once again when he flew in Boeing-made FA-18 Super Homet at Asia's premier airshow, the Aero India 2009, here today.
Sharma, who was 35 when he embarked on the space journey in 1984, said, "It was exciting to get back to what I like most -- escaping gravity." Sharma, who retired as wing commander from the Indian Air Force, had a nearly one hour sortie as a part of the programme by Boeing, which had bid for the IAF medium multirole combat aircraft deal.
Dressed in the pilot overhauls, the squadron leader looked completely at ease as he took off in the aircraft with US co-pilot Hanmann.
Sharma, who did some manoeuvres including, some rolls and tumbles and loops, said it still felt good when coming back to earth. Sharma's flight on the Super Hornet comes close on the heels of Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra who flew Lockheed Martin's F-16 yesterday, another contender for the tender.
13/02/09 Press Trust of India

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bangalore: Despite the global meltdown, Boeing, the world's largest manufacturer of commercial and defence aircraft, today said there is no cancellation in its orders from India and assured to deliver aircraft on schedule to its buyers including Air India, the official national carrier.
"We have zero cancellation from India. We have been working carefully. We sold USD 25 billion worth of aircraft in the last three years. Hundred more are to be delivered in the next five years which is valued at USD 17 bn", Dinesh Keskar, the newly appointed President of Boeing India, who takes over his new responsibilities from March one, told a press conference on the eve of Aero India 2009 event here.
Boeing's major buyers in India, Air India, Spice Jet and Jet Airlines have not made any cancellation, Keskar said. "I don't expect any cancellation. We are gearing up to deliver a big order for 68 aircraft by Air India".
11/02/09 PTI/Economic Times

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Indian government is evaluating bids by Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co. and four other companies to supply 126 fighter jets worth $11 billion in the largest military contest in play worldwide.
“It’s a complex process, it will take its own time,” Defense Production Secretary Pradeep Kumar told reporters in Bangalore today ahead of the Aero India air show. “Technical evaluation is on and trials will be conducted.” He wouldn’t say when the deal may be completed.
India in April got bids from six companies to supply the jets as part of its efforts to modernize the air force and replace its aging Russian-made aircraft. The fighter-plane contest is the largest in 15 years, according to Boeing, and marks the first opportunity for U.S. companies to break into India’s defense market.
Lockheed’s F-16 is competing in the fighter contest against Chicago-based Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet; Russia’s MiG-35; Saab AB’s Gripen; France’s Rafale made by Dassault Aviation SA; and the Eurofighter Typhoon, a joint venture of Airbus SAS, BAE and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA.
10/02/09 Vipin V. Nair/Bloomberg

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Bangalore: Global aerospace majors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Dassault have flown in their metal birds to India’s IT hub to showcase their air power at the seventh Aero India 2009 biannual trade expo that takes off Wednesday from the Indian Air Force (IAF) station at Yelahanka.
Billed as Asia’s premier event in the aviation sector, the five-day international trade expo-cum-conference will showcase an array of fighter jets, helicopters, transport and civil aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and a host of products/technologies that form the eco-system of the multi-billion dollar global aerospace industry.
“In the run-up, biggies like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, MiG, Dassault, Saab, and BAE Systems have flown in their aircraft for flying and static display at the air show,” Wing Commander M.D. Singh of the defence exhibition organisation told IANS.
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) consortium has also brought in for the first time four of its Eurofighters (Typhoon) from the German Air Force (Luftwaffe) for the showpiece.
Incidentally, all the six global aerospace majors Lockheed, Boeing, MiG, Dassault, Saab and EADS have pitched in their F-16, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, MiG-35D, French Rafale, Gripen and Typhoon for the 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) contract from the IAF, estimated to cost about $10 billion (Rs.500 billion/Rs.50,000 crore).
Besides military aircraft, civil aircraft from the likes of Boeing, Airbus and Embraer business jet of Brazil and multi-utility copters from Bell and Eurocopter have landed to explore the Indian market unmindful of the downturn in the aviation sector due to slowdown and global recession.
Not to be left behind, state-run behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is in the forefront with its fighter aircraft such as Sukhoi-MKI30, jet trainer Hawk, Jaguar, Mirage, MiGs and the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) and its flagship product Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) for flying and static display.
The opening-up of the aerospace industry to the private sector with foreign participation up to 26 percent equity holding bodes well for the state-run HAL and Bharat Electronics and research and development (R&D) institutes such as DRDO, ADA, GTRE, ADE and CABS to pitch for partnerships and joint ventures for leveraging the resources, including skilled manpower.
As a window of opportunity for global firms to network with their Indian counterparts and benefit from the expertise in R&D production, the mega event will provide a perfect backdrop to explore collaborative efforts.
Of the record 592 exhibitors, including 303 from 25 countries and 289 from the Indian sub-continent, 31 firms each are from Germany and France, followed by Britain (26), Russia (24), the US (22), Italy (19), Belgium (17), Israel (11) and Australia (10).
China will be represented for the first time through a token 10-member delegation.
08/02/09 IANS/, Thailand

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