Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bangalore: Although more cautious than the all-out performances of the established fighters, Tejas, the Indian-built Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), went far beyond anything it had ever displayed before, surprising the spectators with steep climbs, an inverted pass, high-gravity turns and loops.
But even amidst success, the Tejas is struggling to overcome major development hurdles. Its maker, Bangalore-based Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) has taken the crucial decision to bring in a design consultant, a global aerospace major that would assist Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) to overcome persistent design glitches that dog the LCA, including fuel distribution, uneven braking, flight controls, environment controls and testing.
And while US-based Boeing has declined to supply such know-how, German-Spanish consortium, EADS, one of the makers of the Eurofighter, has aggressively pursued the consultancy as a way of flying into the Indian market.
In multiple interviews with senior Indian and EADS officials, who requested anonymity, Business Standard has pieced together the EADS strategy. The company has decided to supply India with high technology for Indian products that are not directly competing with an EADS product. The Tejas is not in the same category as the heavier Eurofighter.
Having established its presence in the Tejas programme, EADS is confident that it would be well positioned to get its Eurojet EJ200 engine accepted for the Tejas. India is currently deciding between the EJ200 and the GE-414 engine for powering future squadrons of the Tejas. And EADS believes that winning the contract for the EJ200 engine, and producing it in India, would position it perfectly for the lucrative medium fighter contract; twin EJ200 engines power the Eurofighter.
While willing to part with the technology assistance needed to get the LCA over its hump, EADS worries about the possibility of eventually being held responsible for a possible failure in the Tejas development.
“Let’s be clear that we are not underwriting the LCA programme," says a senior European official related with the contract. The contract with EADS is expected to be signed shortly.
The German and Spanish governments have already permitted EADS to part with the technology needed for the Tejas programme; the US government, in contrast, imposed stringent restrictions on Boeing.
12/02/09 Ajai Shukla/Business Standard

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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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