FEB 2 JINXED? Another crash on February 2! Army Aviation Corps lost two pilots when a Cheetah helicopter nosedived into a civilian area near Gandhinagar airfield on February 2. Military sources say that the The Cheetah attached to the Jodhpur air base was on its way to Bangalore to partake in Aero India 2011. Army Aviation was planning to position it in the static display area. The pilots, Major Atul Garje and Major Banupratap Gupta of the 669 Army Aviation squadron, Nagtalao, Jodhpur, took off from their base two days ago. After a brief break at Nashik, they took off on February 2 morning to Bangalore, with a possible break in Goa. On February 2, 2007 an ALH of Sarang team had crashed killing Sqn Ldr Priye Sharma and sending Wg Cdr Vikas Jetly into a coma for four years. Jetly died on January 11, 2010. Wednesday's crash, according to initial reports, is possibly due to a technical snag. R.I.P.
NISHANT FLIGHT TRIALS: Nishant, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) has successfully completed the series of confirmatory trials conducted by the Indian Army at Chandan Range Pokharan recently. The successful flight trials were conducted by the Army before taking delivery of a set of four Nishant – UAVs together with ground systems. The performance of the pay load sensors in particular has been better than even the imported UAVs with the Army. It is expected that more of such equipment will soon be purchased by the users. (Press release)
EMBRAER@AERO INDIA: Embraer will display its full portfolio of products – from executive, airline, defense and security segments – at Aero India 2011, the first time these aircraft have appeared at an air show in India. “We are coming to India with a Phenom 100, Phenom 300, Lineage 1000, and the latest jet in our suite – the Legacy 650 – which was certified in October 2010. All these will be at the static display area. This time, we are focusing clearly on the executive jet segment and on the defense and security area,” an Embraer official tells Aviation Week. With a strong presence in the Indian market, Embraer has placed products with both national government agencies and private companies. The company has made particularly significant progress in the executive aviation sector. Key customers in India which operate the Phenom 100 include Aviators India Pvt. Ltd. and Invision Pvt. Ltd. The latter received the first two Phenom 100s in India, part of a total order for 18 Phenom 100s and two Phenom 300s. (Full Report)
NEW BEL UNIT IN KERALA: Indian defense public sector undertaking (PSU) Bharat Electronics Ltd. (BEL) expects to open its new facility in the southern Indian state of Kerala, on Feb. 8. Research and Development Director I.V. Sarma tells Aviation Week that the facility, known as the Product Support Center, will be in the high-technology park promoted by the Kerala government and run by Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corp. Defense Minister A.K. Antony will open the facility, which is at Kalamassery, near Kochi. BEL is said to have invested around Rs 6 crore ($1.3 million) for the center to build infrastructure and test equipment. (Full Report)