Monday, August 31, 2009

Irkutsk Aviation/OAK (UAC) clarifies from Moscow about the aircraft I flew don't shut up !!

For the idiot anons in the comment section, here is the clarification sent from Moscow about the aircraft I flew (tail number 002) "is in full Su-30 MKI configuration, i.e. it fully corresponds to the latest batch delivered to the IAF (so-called Phase 3 or Mk 3). The aircraft itself belongs to the developer - Sukhoi Company, and is being used as a test-bed for all modernisations of Su-30MKI over the past few years, meaning that it was gradually modified as per the contractual requirements to test them before they were implemented into serial production at Irkutsk Aviation plant. Therefore it is now exactly as the latest supplies from Irkutsk (airframe and avionics-wise)."

"So please be assured that you flew the serial Su-30MKI operated by the IAF at the moment (differs only in color, tail number and incurred flight hours:)."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Off to the 'Rose Garden'..---... Chindits visits the Glacier!!

I am leaving for a 26-day trek to Siachen, from September 1-26. Off to Leh to report there, early morning tomorrow. This is the annual civilian trek organised by Army Adventure Wing. Will post pictures and stories from there, depending on the facilities aviailable, like internet etc. I am not sure, if my phones, camera and the data card on my laptop would work or not, but have heard these people have come up with some kind of a media center. There are 10 vacancies for journalists every year, controlled and forwarded by the ALC, and the rest for navy, IAF, DRDO etc.

I've been to Siachen before, but now a lot more acclimatisation, first in Leh and then in Base Camp. Hostile weather, sub zero temperatures, bad terrain. Fun plus work. This is going to be more challenging than Moscow, Sukhoi and my other two sorties. Amen.

Indo-Russian negotiations on Sukhoi upgrade to conclude in Oct this year

The Indian Air Force (IAF)'s mainstay heavy weight fighters, the Russian Sukhoi 30MKI aircraft to be upgraded, will undergo two types of upgradation programmes. India Director of the Sukhoi programme, Vitaly A Borodich said during the biennial air show MAKS-2009 in Zhukovsky, near Moscow, that Moscow was looking at an increased participation from New Delhi in the upgrade programme.The joint upgrade will involve the Russian Federation's Irkutsk, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

One of the upgrades will be the structural modification of the aircraft to have the air version of the Brahmos missile installed on it. Active negotiations are on for Brahmos integration on the aircraft. Sources have indicated that the IAF is looking at around three years to recieve the modified aircraft.

The launcher interface is to be integrated to the aircraft, internal trials to be conducted, before the field evaluation tests of the missile could begin, all of which would take a year or slightly more, and three years for its induction in service.

The air-launched version of the missile for the IAF has taken longer than anticipated. The air to ground missile to be integrated on the Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft of the IAF was to be ready by the end of 2007.

The first test of the missile is likely not before 2010-11.

The second upgrade for the existing fleet of the fighter is called the 'deep upgrade', which includes enhanced combat features, systems and avionics, which would increase the flight performance of the aircraft and the variant of this upgrade would keep the aircraft in service for a longer duration.

The technical negotiations between the IAF and ICDS of Russia, which have been going on for sometime, are likely to conclude in October this year, said Borodich.

The biggest feature of the deep upgrade, is the inclusion of the AESA (active electronically scanned array) radar.But the integration would be in two phases, one with array and one without array. Presently the Sukhoi aircraft uses a passive radar. The upgradation of the radar too has two stages, one of which is modification of the radar system, since it has to be integrated on the aircraft, which is possible by 2015, and the other stage would be installation of the system on the aircraft.

Sukhoi CEO Mikhail Pogosyan had several meetings with the IAF Vice Chief Air Marshal P K Barbora, during the MAKS air show, to sort out the configuration of the upgraded radar on the aircraft as specified by the IAF.

The IAF operates three squadrons of the Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft, and has approximately 60 aircraft in its inventory, all of which would have the upgraded data systems, digital glass cockpit, and other systems on board, after the contract is signed for upgrade.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Exclusive...Army Chief writes to MoD not to cancel artillery tender

With less than a year in office, as Chief of Army Staff, General Deepak Kapoor seems to be serious about artillery modernisation before demitting office and is doing all he can to ensure it. Sources have confided in People's Post, that General Kapoor in a letter written to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) last month has urged that the trials for the towed artillery guns, the tender for which is on the verge of cancellation, should go on as schedule and the tender not to be retracted, as this would push back artillery modernisation.

The Chief has submitted in his letter that the CBI could continue with its investigation on the charges against one of the vendors, Singapore Technologies, who is pitted against BAE Systems in the trials, adding that the trials should not be discontinued till the investigation is completed.

The MoD had initiated three cases for procurement, for towed guns, self propelled tracked and wheeled guns, of which the tracked guns are undergoing trials as per schedule for 100 guns worth Rs 3500 crore, the wheeled tender for 180 guns has got cancelled, owing to a single vendor situation.

After the cancellation of the tender for the 180 self propelled (wheeled) guns, worth Rupees 5000 crore, there has been a major setback to the artillery modernisation, and this is soon becoming a cause of concern inside the army.

The tender for the 400 towed guns, according to sources, is about to be cancelled, as a single vendor situation is emerging after Singapore Technologies, dealing with artillery equipment, along with seven other companies was recently blacklisted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under charges of corruption, leaving just the Bofors maker BAE Systems Land and Armaments Division, which has emerged as a single vendor, for the rs 3000 crore deal. A single vendor situation according to the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), cannot be entertained. In the trials BAE and Singalore Technologies were pitted against each other.

The Singapore High Commissioner on behalf of his country has also written to the MoD to go ahead with the trials, and they would cooperate in the investigation of the charges against the company.

Bofors was sold to US artillery giant United Technologies five years ago. It became part of the BAE consortium three years ago when it was bought from United Technologies by BAE. Bofors had come under a cloud following allegations that it had paid kickbacks to secure a deal for 410 howitzers in the 1980s. The company was removed from the blacklist during the 1999 Kargil conflict, when spares were desperately needed for the guns during the conflict.

After the tender was re-floated in 2007, among the top bidders were Bofors and Soltam of Israel, while South African Denel was shown the door after it was black listed on corruption charges.Mobility tests conducted in different theatres and weather conditions clearly made Bofors emerge as a single vendor in the towed category tests using standard ammunition, in the same year. The army is said to have asked for validation tests using non-standard ammunition as both Bofors and Soltam floundered in the tests conducted using non-standard ammunition.

Former Army Chief, V P Malik, who headed the Indian Army during the Kargil conflict in 1999 told People's Post, "During Kargil we didnt have adequate guns and this does affect the morale of the army. During peacetime it is all the more important to have the desired deterrent value, which reduces if the required numbers are not there as the adversary knows that the army does not possess the required wherewithal. It has happened a couple of times that the artillery tender has been cancelled, and this is affecting the operational preparedness of the army, as the programme is being delayed due to cancellations. The Bofors were purchased two decades back and need replacement with a good medium gun."

A senior artillery officer has said that the upgradation of the artillery was of utmost importance. Also since the deal would have about 80 percent of co-production in India under transfer of technology, therefore the army was looking at local Indian players. But since there was no one in India who was into making guns, therefore different companies would be engaged for making different parts of the gun, he added. Anyone could respond to the tender, who could deliver the 155mm guns. Among the private Indian manufacturers Larsen and Toubro has shown interest in the co-production with a foreign vendor, whoever wins the contract.

The Artillery at present is using the Swedish 155mm guns of .39 calibre. As part of its modernisation and up gradation plan for the medium regiments, the Indian Army had visualised its artillery arm to be upgraded to the new 155mm with .52 calibre. The 400 guns will equip 20 odd artillery regiments of the army, which are currently using the vintage 130mm and 155mm with .39 calibre guns.

As part of its modernisation and upgradation programme in the 11th Plan, the army had tendered for 400 guns, mostly of the towed variety. The remaining guns are of the tracked and wheeled self propelled variety.

Copyright: People's Post

Exclusive...New Delhi arm twists Moscow over Gorshkov price ! MiG-29K deal held up...

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) seems all set to give Moscow the taste of its own medicine, by holding back the deal for 29 naval MiG-29K aircraft. MoD sources have confirmed to People's Post that the paper work for the more than Rs 2000 crore has been done but the ready file is lying in MoD for the past two months and is not being taken up for further action, like the CCS (Cabinet Committee on Security) approval.

The above move comes after Moscow's fresh demand of funds for the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, which is yet to be sorted out. Sources have indicated that the first round of talks for the final price have concluded, but the final negotiations are pending still between both sides.

The naval fighter aircraft deal to be inked with Russian Rosoboronexport (RoE)'s RAC-MiG, has got stuck after MoD communicated to Moscow that the Gorshkov price needed discussions and both sides needed to come to terms with a common advantage to each other, only after which this new deal would move ahead. RoE officials have been doing the rounds of MoD, in connection with the 29 aircraft deal. The first round of talks for Vikramaditya's price was held in Moscow, and the final one is to be held in New Delhi.

These aircraft are separate from the 16 MiG-29K aircraft which are coming as part of the aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy too has been putting pressure on the MoD for the deal to be signed at the earliest, citing operational requirements.

The original price quoted for the carrier, undergoing repair and refit in northern Russia's Sevmash Yard, during the inking of the deal was 1.2 billion dollars. But in November 2007 Moscow demanded an additional 1.2 billion for the 45,000 ton carrier, which will be taken up for negotiations soon.

Last month Defence Minister A K Antony stated in Parliament that the Russian side had submitted a revised Master Schedule indicating delay and increase in prices for repair and re-equipping of the aircraft carrier, ex-Admiral Gorshkov, adding that the Government has agreed to conduct negotiations for the final price. The technical verification of additional work was undertaken by the Indian Navy. Various unforeseen problems sometimes arise in the procurement of defence equipment irrespective of their source of acquisition, which are resolved bilaterally at appropriate levels, he added.

In its recent report the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), said that the very purpose of acquiring the ship was defeated as it was being considered to bridge the gap in time in the navy for its capabilities, saying that an old ship like it with its time and cost overruns in repair and refit, are costlier than a new one which would've costed less and twice the life span. The very decision of the Ministry to go in for a second hand ship with refits, is questionable.

The deal for the carrier was signed by the NDA Government in January 2004, just before demitting office. However, the deal for the additional fighters for the Indian Navy have been held up, as an arm twisting tactic by the MoD towards Russia's RoE, to bring about justice to Vikramaditya's pricing which is to be taken up finally for the last time, but the operational preparedness of the service seems to be suffering for want of signing the otherwise ready contract.

Sources said that the price negotiation is likely to be capped within a couple of months and the aircraft deal thereafter, depending on a reasonable deal New Delhi gets in the carrier.

Photo: Suman Sharma, MAKC '09, Zhukovsky, Moscow Story copyright: People's Post

leggy birds at MAKC !!

Trust me that term---"leggy birds"-- has not been coined by me, but has been coined by my respected, honourable friend and colleague Vikramjeet of Vayu magazine. But no offence meant towards these beautiful, respectable and honourable ladies who were doing a very difficult job at the MAKC air show, by braving the cold and standing all day.

Another friend and colleague, Ghazala, told me at MAKC that the CII had files of young girls sent to those putting up stalls in Aero India with rates of girls, beginning from Rs 800 to Rs 3500 each day, depending on whether she was an ordinary girl, or a beauty pageant contestant or a small time model. I was simply not aware of this system in Aero India....must say an eye-opener!

Parting shot --happy with p8i conclusion, CDS can wait !!

At his last presser as Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, just four days before retiring, expressed among other things, his satisfaction over the conclusion of the P8i project during his tenure, from 'start to finish', as he put it.The 2.2 billion dollar deal for the American Boeing P8I maritime patrol aircraft was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), last year and signed at the beginning of this year. The eight aircraft will be placed in Arrakonam, INS Rajali, replacing Tu-142.

Completing close to three years as Chief and two as Chairman Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mehta, known for his loud mouth and speaking his mind, spoke diplomatically today, for a change. In his annual Navy Day presser in 2006 December, he had for the first time spoke openly that China was mapping the maritime battle field, and today taking a 'U' turn, he said that every nation works in its national interest, which is called 'shaping the maritime environment'. Also quite a departure from his Navy Day presser in December 2007 where he roared at the Ruskies over Gorshkov's price, calling it our own, said about a month back that a carrier would not come in anything less than what was being asked for.

He completely put everyone's mind at rest over synergy between the Navy and the MEA (wonder what's happened suddenly). Heard from sources, he was to be sacked like Admiral Bhagwat, over his pay commission 'loud mouth-ed ness', annoying the babus.

The Admiral talked about media-responsibility, and his 'unfinished business', many of which would be carry-forwards, like he got from his predecessor and would pass on a long list of things to do to his successor.

Said the work load was not much right now to really want a CDS, that it cant be managed by the Chairman Chiefs of Staff, as is being done now, unlike western countries, where they dont have adversaries to fight with, so the army, nay and the airforce prepare thier services and give them to the CDS who decides where to deploy them and can be from any service as geographical commands work there, unlike India. But here, as of now, the environment is such that it can be managed by the Chairman Chiefs of Staff , but in future as the work load increases and evolves and there is a demand, a CDS would be required.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"Nausena" at MAKC '09

All photos by Suman Sharma, MAKS-2009, Zhukovsky, Moscow

IAF MiG-29 scrambles as Air France civil liner identified as 'unknown' due to incorrect squawk code

Today at 0610 hrs, one aircraft was picked up by IAF radars, Southeast of Amritsar in the Northern Sector. The aircraft was flying at a flight level of 37,000 feet and entered Indian airspace on an established border entry point on ATS route. The aircraft was not in communication and also the secondary radar response code (Identification Friendly or Foe) i.e. Squawk code of the aircraft, was not correct and the aircraft was identified as ‘Unknown’. Immediately an IAF, MiG-29 fighter jet was scrambled to intercept and investigate the identity of the ‘unknown’ aircraft. It was only later that the aircraft started transmitting correct secondary radar response code and was picked up and identified by AD radar as civil airliner(A-343)of Air France(AFR-164).The flight was from Paris to Bangkok. The MiG-29 fighter aircraft was given instructions to break off and return to base. A formal report of the incident has been forwarded to AAI.

Courtesy : IAF release

Top Naval appointments mired in controversy !

Indian naval promotions and appointments seem to be getting murkier. After Commodore Bimal Verma, who was the Principal Director Naval Operations (PDNO) during the war room leak case and was given a letter of severe displeasure for the failure to prevent the use of a pen drive in the war room, was promoted to the next rank of a Rear Admiral, it is the newly appointed and announced Vice Admiral Krishnan Nair Sushil's appointment as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Cochin-based Southern Naval Command. The officer is said to have skipped his mandatory exams, required for officers from the Submarine arm of the Indian Navy in order to join the general cadre for further promotions and getting operational commands.

Sources have revealed, that Vice Admiral Sushil was picked up for his present appointment as the first Inspector General Nuclear Safety--a newly created post--which was more of a routine administrative job. A promotion selection board was seperately held for Sushil for this post, which was created for the first time. He was not considered for promotion along with other officers, but was promoted seperately. It has been learnt that Vice Admiral Sushil had put up representations to the Ministry through the Navy earlier this year for his consideration as FOC-in-C, despite knowing fully well that he did not meet the requirements. This in turn had held up all other appointments at the top level in the navy. Many of these appointments were delaying announcements as the FOC-in-Cs of eastern, southern commands and Andaman and Nicobar had to be decided after the matter was sorted out.

A submarine officer told Chindits that, "As a Lieutenant Commander one has to clear the PCO exam and as a Commander the COQC, in order to get command appointments." Arms like aviation and submarine in the Indian Navy have mandatory exams for officers to rise high and take commands of ships and subsequently the command of a Fleet and a Command, and some even go on to become Chiefs, like Admiral V S Shekhawat.

It has been learnt that Vice Admiral Sushil was not given the command of a Fleet, as he had not cleared the mandatory exams and not qualified for operational command, and was even exempted from some exams while being considered for promotion. The officer commanded a frontline destroyer INS Delhi, under who's command the naval tanker INS Jyoti met with an accident in the Malacca Straits.Since INS Delhi was the flag ship of the group, therefore Vice Admiral Sushil was held responsible.

Reacting to the officer's capabilities to take up command, as he was exempted from the mandatory exams during former Chief Vishnu Bhagwat's tenure, Bhagwat said that, "Sushil is the most outstanding submarine officer I know and he was given the command of a ship during my time, based on his seniority and merit. He missed his Fleet command, as it was said that he could not be spared from his other duties."

Admiral Bhagwat, considered a proponent of the otherwise considered neglected submarine arm, has his son in the submarine arm, serving in the navy.

Reacting to the appointmeht, Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta said, "Whoever is the most suitable for a job, the Navy picks him up, and Vice Admiral Sushil has been given a training command, and not an operational command." However the Chief refused to comment on why Sushil before his appointment as the IGNS, was refused any Fleet command appointment.

An officer said that how does it make a difference if the officer gets training command or an operational command, as that level, it is all the same and one should not forget that former Chief Sushil Kumar too was the FOC-in-C of the Cochin-based training command, when he was appointed the Chief.

Officers from arms other than regular executive branch, are otherwise entitled for staff appointments as per promotions, if they fail to clear command exams.

Vice Admiral Sushil's appointment comes into effect from August 31, 2009, after Vice Admiral Sunil K Damle, the current FOC-in-C, retires. Sushil was commissioned into the Indian Navy January 1, 1973. Senior appointments in the armed forces are recommended by the Ministry after they are put up by the respective services and then sent to the Cabinet Committee for Appointments (ACC) who clears them.

The Government has announced all other top appointments in the navy like the next Chief and the FOC-in-Cs of southern and eastern commands, the Vice Chief, Chief of Personnel, Chief of Staff, western command, Chief-headquarter IDS, Commandant of National Defence Academy, Andaman and Nicobar C-in-C and Deputy Chief.

Other controversial appointments in the past:

1. The next Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, curently FOC-in-C Eastern Command in Vishakhapatnam , has also not commanded a fleet.

2. Former Chief Admiral Sushil Kumar, did not command a fleet, but was made FOC-in-C southern command and later Chief of Naval Staff. Admiral Sushil Kumar was from the non-combatant Hydrography branch.

3. Former Chief Admiral J L Cursetji, did not command a fleet, but was appointed as FOC-in-C western command and later Chief of naval Staff.
4. Former Vice Chief Vice Admiral G Hiranandani commanded the southern command, without commanding a fleet, and later retired as Vice Chief.

Admiral Sushil Kumar who was made the Chief, after the then Chief Admiral Bhagwat's unceremonious ouster from the Navy, had been Flag Officer Maharashtra Area (FOMA), which was an non-operational command till then and later was upgraded on paper, according to sources.

While in the Army the only Chief from an non-operational command like the training command based in Simla, has been General Shankar Roychoudhary, who was made the Cheif after General B C Joshi's sudden death in office.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"154" on display---which has been passengered by all Indian defence journos !!

Check out Zhukovsky,home of the MAKC air show !!

Ramenskoye aerodrome, Zhukovsky, Moscow region, home of the MAKC International Aviation and Space Salon, often termed as the town of science and technology at the Gromov Aviation Research Institute.

MAKC is considered a world class festival, opened for general public on the last two days, with fast and flashy aircraft of all kinds flying overhead all day. Despite fatal accidents during rehearsals, the show goes on.

The town was named after Nikolai Zhukovsky, the first proponent of principles leading to human flight.

Zhukovsky, located 40 kilometers south east of Moscow, is home to the Gromov Flight Research Institute (LII for short), and the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI), the two giants in the world for aircraft testing and design.The five kilometer LII runway is one of the longest in Europe.

5th generation radar unveils for the first time in MAKC '09

The pilot who would fly the first sortie of the PAK-FA prototype, end of this year

Monday, August 24, 2009

I flew against all odds, clocking 1 hr 43 mins of fighter flying in my log book !!

Zhukovsky : As I embarked the huge, heavy, stable and the safest aircraft in the world, the Sukhoi-30MKI to engage in the most dangerous sport on the planet, I realised I was on a sortie which had not come easy at all. Let me begin by saying that I flew against all odds. To begin with, two Sukhoi-27 fighters collided two days before the biennial air show MAKS-2009 Aviation Salon could kick start, killing one of the three pilots, an incident which unsettled the UAC top brass, about flying civilians. The aircraft, from the Russian Knights aerobatic display team, were rehearsing for the show, when the collision took place.

Though my log-book had already logged in 82 minutes of fighter flying before I left for Zhukovsky to participate in the show, and now it has 1 hour and 43 minutes, the Sukhoi and the entire Irkut team wanted extra assurances like an insurance, and a bond of indemnity, besides my medical fitness endorsement, all of which I placed together and was given the green signal to sign on the bond at around 11.10 am, on August 22, 2009 at the Zhukovsky air base, near Moscow.

The weather had been bad, forcing the display teams to wrap up early, so there would be no difficult manouvres was quite understandable to me, but as luck would have it, just before I could take off a biplane had nose-dived on the runway ahead of our '722' Sukhoi-30MKI, thereby dashing my last hopes of flying the world's best heavy weight fighter, on the last day of my trip. But after about a couple of minutes, I was told that we were taking off in sometime.

Strapped in my personal, new flying over-all, after I said a small silent prayer at 11.15 am, Sukhoi Design Bureau's test pilot Yury Vaschuk, who was to fly me told me that we were ready to take off. The 46-year old Yury, with 2900 hours of fighter flying behind him on various jets, set the two turbofan engines of the heavy-weight fighter capable of thrust vectoring, on fire and took off almost at a speed of 700 mph.

Yury roared over Zhukovsky skies, westwards, at around 12,000 feet altitude. Since this is my third fighter sortie, after MiG-35 and F-16, I knew about the G-force and what to expect. Infact this time I located the G-meter on my left screen and constantly kept on eye on it, while looking out, which was of no consequence as it had all turned out white, due to the misty clouds. I could see that the G-meter showed touching 5Gs (which means that I weighed around 230 kgs for some seconds), when I experienced the mighty Sukhoi to have stopped mid-air. I tried looking around and then on to my head-up display, trying to figure out what had happened, when I pressed the inter-com button and asked Yury. He explained that he had applied airbrakes to the plane. The aircraft appeared still in air.

After controlling the aircraft in bad weather, Yury told me that we were entering zone four. It was time to play in air. While the jet dived on the sides to roll, I kept alert looking at the screens in front to see the changes in figures and what they signified. The directions and altitude, all of which is controlled on ground, all appeared clearly in front in the huge cockpit.

While Yury, who has to his credit pulling a 12G on one of his many sorties, took a sharp turn to do a 360 degree, I looked around only to find myself locked up in a glass-case, with a feeling of a foetus-in-amniotic-liquid, with white foggy visibility. I asked Yury about the passive electronically scanned array radar, situated on the multi-role fighter, if it could locate and show me targets, to which I was told that we were in a flying display area and the jet was not configured to locate dummy targets and live targets were not present.

My thoughts immediately went out to the Red Flag exercise, held near Las Vegas, last year, in which for the first time Indian Air Force (IAF) participated with its Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft. The most popular aircraft among the US pilots, which arouses mystery and awe, the participating Su-30s were said to have switched off their radars while war-gaming in the US, so as to avoid the radar signature from getting disclosed. It is a practice worldwide that fighters disable their radars when flying in countries, other than the jet's origin. The US pilots had tried to unsuccessfully snoop in on the radar of the Sukhoi.

After completing 40 kilometers in 21 minutes, it was time to 'go home', as Yury put it. After a brief angle of attack vibration, which I experienced, I realised it was time to land, but not before I understood the immense power a fighter pilot holds when he takes over the stick to yaw the fighting machine, sometimes to destroy targets and at other times to engage in defences. From physical fitness to a complete understanding of the machine in air, these super humans pulling Gs all the time, have a tough job at hand when it comes to combat manouvres.

When we journos 'passenger' fighters alongside these 'super humans', though we dont share that power on an equal footing, but it still rubs off, somewhere !! It's orgasmic, trust me.

The Sukhoi capable of a 'Pugachev Cobra' and other manouvres like a flat spin, gently placed me on ground, making me the only Indian woman to have ever sat in a Sukhoi 30 MKI.

After the sortie, while on the way back to Moscow, I saw a lot of wedding couples and huge limos waiting to carry brides back, who were getting themselves photographed, well the girl inside me concluded it as 'just another sortie'. Next on my radar are Typhoon and Rafale, dont know how, where and when.

The Russian press, who came and interviewed me later, compared me with Valentina Tereshkova and asked about my space plans.

I couldnt have got a better birthday gift than this on my this year's birthday. My day was made, my year is made, my life dream comes true, therefore my life is made!!

Chindits does a Sukhoi sortie at MAKC

Sortie pix

Sukhoi sortie

My Su-30MKI flt pix

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day-4 MAKC--the 'COBRA' Man !!

Today had the honour of meeting the Sukhoi Design Bureau test pilot, Viktor Pugachev, who first introduced the "Pugachev Cobra" to the flying world at the Paris Le Bourget in 1989, officially, on a Su-27 jet. Thats a tough manouvre in air combat, known to be possible only by Russian fighter jets. I had heard in Aero India 2007, the American F-18 'Super Hornet' had un-successfully tried it.


Ltcdr Saurav Saxena, 92nd November NDA..RIP

Sea Harrier pilot, Indian Navy