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1. The Indian Defense Research and Development Organization’s (DRDO) plan to set up a Defense Technology Commission (DTC) is inching closer to reality. DRDO chief V.K. Saraswat said on Jan. 28 that the DTC — formed along the lines of India’s Space Commission and Atomic Energy Commission — would enable more self-reliance among DRDO labs through better funding and decentralization. “After a lot of deliberations within the ministry of defense, I can confirm that the DTC is moving in the right direction,” Saraswat says. “Now it is awaiting the Indian government’s nod.”
2. India’s Embraer-built Airborne Early Warning & Control System (AEW&C) is scheduled for rollout Feb. 21 in Brazil. A senior defense official confirmed to Aviation Week Jan. 27 that the first flight of the modified EMB-145 is expected around May. “The first EMB-145 will land in India in August 2011 for system integration and subsequent induction into the Indian Air Force (IAF),” the official says. “The AEW&C with the systems integrated by CABS will fly in India in early 2012,” the official says. “CABS have already begun the integration on ground-based systems [according to the] exact specifications [of] the EMB-145, including the seating arrangements.”
3. India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) is developing a range of protective clothing that includes jackets, vests, shoe insoles and heated gloves for pilots. “Though the majority of our soldiers and pilots are acclimatized to hostile terrains in the frontier areas and battle zones, it is pivotal to protect them from head to foot,” says a senior scientist with DRDO’s Bengaluru-based Defense Bio-Engineering and Electro-medical Laboratory (Debel). “In some cases the soldiers will be under severe physiological stress, which can limit their performance in combat missions,” the scientist says. “The normal physiological responses to cold weather are shivering and diversion of blood away from the extremities leading the surface skin to sink inward. Frostbite and hypothermia are also common while operating at high-altitude regions of Leh, Ladakh, Kargil, Dras, Mushkoh, Batalik, Chorbatla and Siachen.”
4. The Karnataka government in India has cleared a proposal submitted by Mahindra Aerospace to set up an aerospace component manufacturing unit in Kolar, near Bengaluru, with an initial investment of Rs 284 crore ($63 million). The government also cleared information technology giant Wipro’s proposal to set up an aerospace facility near Bengaluru’s new airport in Devanahalli, with an investment of Rs 52 crore ($11.6 million).
5. Dr Kota Harinarayana, former director of the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft program is recommending India focus its energies on cutting costs and development times in its future aircraft programs. “Today the aviation market has shifted from North America and Europe to Asia and in particular India, so what we need is [to manufacture aircraft that are] cost effective with the best operational capabilities,” said Kota during his keynote address at the India Defense and Aerospace Symposium 2011 in Bengaluru Jan. 25.
6. India’s national carrier Air India extended a series of fare concessions for para-military forces personnel, children and senior citizens on the eve of India’s Republic Day, Jan. 26. Air India says that the steps have been taken to make air travel affordable to more segments. As per the new guidelines announced on Jan. 25, the discount available to para-military personnel will now cover family members of Border Security Force, Indo Tibetan Border Police, Coast Guard, Central Industrial Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Assam Rifles, Railway Protection Force, Intelligence Bureau and the Sashastra Seema Bal. “Other than on apex fares, a discount of 50 percent on the basic fare component will be available on all fare levels in economy class for domestic sectors only,” an Air India spokesperson tells Aviation Week. Those from the Indian army, navy and air force already enjoy these benefits.
7. Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) will showcase homegrown Network Centric Warfare (NCW) technologies during the upcoming Aero India 2011, to be held Feb. 9-13 at the Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru. I.V. Sarma, BEL’s research and development director, tells Aviation Week that NCW displays will include command and control systems; air space management; multi-sensor tracking; air defense simulation; battlefield management systems and coastal surveillance systems. BEL will also showcase new products and technologies including software-defined radio (SDR), the next-generation bulk encryptor and high data tactical radio. “The SDR will be on display for the first time,” Sarma says.