Indian Air Force Updates

Indian Air Force Updates

What is the ‘Sonic Boom’ that rattled Bengaluru city?

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sonic Boom, Mach Number

Mains level : India's missile programme

The ‘loud sound’ heard in Bengaluru a few days back, which puzzled lakhs of city dwellers, was revealed to have emanated from an IAF test flight involving a supersonic profile. The sonic boom was probably heard while the IAF aircraft was decelerating from supersonic to subsonic speed between 36,000 and 40000 feet altitude.

Note:

We often get to hear about updates in  India’s missile programme. UPSC may ask a basic physics question asking fundamental differences between various Mach number and its differences.

What is a ‘sonic boom’?

  • Sound travels in the form of waves which are emitted outwards from its source.
  • In air, the speed of these waves depends on a number of factors, such as the temperature of the air and altitude.
  • When an aircraft travels at supersonic speed – meaning faster than sound (>1225 kmph at sea level) – the field of sound waves moves to the back of the craft.
  • A stationary observer thus hears no sound when a supersonic flight approaches since the sound waves are at the rear of the latter.
  • At such speeds, both newly created as well as old waves, are forced into a region at the aircraft’s rear called a ‘Mach cone’, which extends from the craft and intercepts the Earth in a hyperbola-shaped curve, and leaves a trail called the ‘boom carpet’.
  • The loud sound that is heard on the Earth when this happens is called a ‘sonic boom’ (resembles bomb-blast sound).

Impacts

  • When such aircraft fly at a low altitude, the sonic boom can become intense enough to cause the glass to crack or cause health hazards.
  • Overland supersonic flights have thus been banned in many countries.

Supersonic flights

  • In 1947, the American military pilot Chuck Yeager became the first to breach the sound barrier, flying the Bell X-1 aircraft at 1127 kmph.
  • Since then, many supersonic flights have followed, with advanced designs allowing speeds of over Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound.
  • According to the IAF website, India’s fastest jets include the Sukhoi SU-30 MKI (Mach 2.35) and the Mirage-2000 (Mach 2.3).

Back2Basics: Traverse of sound

  • From a stationary source, such as a television set, sound waves travel outwards in concentric spheres of growing radii.
  • When the source of sound is moving – e.g, a truck– the successive waves in front of the truck get closer together, and the ones behind it spread out.
  • This is also the cause of the Doppler effect– in which bunched waves at the front appear at a higher frequency to a stationary observer, and spread out waves that are behind are observed at a lower frequency.
  • As long as the source of the sound keeps moving slower than the speed of sound itself, this source– say a truck or a plane – remains nested within the sound waves that are travelling in all directions.

Mach number

  • The ratio of the speed of the aircraft to the speed of sound in the gas determines the magnitude of many of the compressibility effects.
  • Because of the importance of this speed ratio, aerodynamicists have designated it with a special parameter called the Mach number in honour of Ernst Mach, a late 19th-century physicist who studied gas dynamics.
  • Subsonic conditions occur for Mach numbers less than one, M < 1.
  • As the speed of the object approaches the speed of sound, the flight Mach number is nearly equal to one, M = 1, and the flow is said to be transonic.
  • Supersonic conditions occur for Mach numbers greater than one, 1 < M < 3.
  • For speeds greater than five times the speed of sound, M > 5, the flow is said to be hypersonic.
  • The Space Shuttle re-enters the atmosphere at high hypersonic speeds, M ~ 25. Under these conditions, the heated air becomes ionized plasma of gas and the spacecraft must be insulated from the high temperatures.

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Indian Air Force Updates

Exercise Pitch Black 2020

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Exercise Pitch Black 2020

Mains level : NA

Australia has informed India that their premier multilateral air combat training exercise Pitch Black 2020 scheduled in July has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.

All-time generic question seeking ‘match the pairs’ can be asked from the news as such.  Click here for more exercises.

 Ex Pitch Black 2020

  • Exercise Pitch Black is a biennial warfare exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
  • The aim of the exercise is to practice Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) combat, in a simulated war environment.
  • In the last edition of Pitch Black in 2018, the IAF for the first time participated with its Su-30MKI fighters, one C-130 and one C-17 transport aircraft.
  • It provided a unique opportunity for an exchange of knowledge and experience with these nations in a dynamic warfare environment.
  • The next edition of Pitch Black is scheduled in 2022.

India’s defence relation with Australia

  • The defence and strategic engagement with Australia have steadily gone up in recent years especially on the bilateral front with naval cooperation at the forefront.
  • The bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX early last year saw the participation of the largest Australian contingent ever to India with over 1,000 personnel.
  • The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) has been long pending and is expected to be concluded soon as well as a broader maritime cooperation agreement including the Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) to elevate the existing strategic partnership.
  • Australia recently made a pitch for trilateral cooperation among India, Australia and Indonesia to identify new ways that our three countries can collaborate to be the best possible custodians of the Indian Ocean.

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Indian Air Force Updates

[pib] Exercise Indradhanush

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex. Indradhanush

Mains level : Not Much

The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) jointly commenced the fifth edition of Exercise Indradhanush at Air Force Station Hindan.

Ex. Indradhanush

  • It is a joint air force exercise conducted by the Royal Air Force (RAF) of United Kingdom and the Indian Air Force (IAF) being held since 2006.
  • The exercise is tasked to enhance mutual operational understanding between the two air forces via close interaction.
  • The focus of this edition of the exercise is ‘Base Defence and Force Protection’.
  • This theme is of significance considering the recent threats to military establishments from terror elements.

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Indian Air Force Updates

[pib] Ex Eastern Bridge-V

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex Eastern Bridge-V

Mains level : Not Much

  • Indian Air Force is participating in a Bilateral Joint exercise with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO), named Ex Eastern Bridge-V.

Ex Eastern Bridge-V

  • It is a bilateral Joint exercise of Indian Air Force (IAF) with Royal Air Force Oman (RAFO).
  • For the first time, MiG-29 fighter aircraft will be participating in an International Exercise outside India.
  • IAF contingent comprises of MiG-29 and C-17 aircraft. MiG-29 will be exercising with Royal Air Force Oman’s Eurofighter Typhoon, F-16 and Hawk.

Significance

  • The exercise will enhance inter-operability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and will provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.
  • The participation of IAF in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange of experience and operational knowledge.
  • Besides strengthening bilateral relations, it will also provide a good opportunity to the air-warriors to operate in an international environment.

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Indian Air Force Updates

[pib] Exercise Garuda-VI

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Ex Garuda

Exercise Garuda-VI

  • The Indian Air Force is participating in a bilateral exercise between Indian and French Air Force named Exercise ‘Garuda-VI’ France in July ‘19.
  • This is the sixth edition of Exercise Garuda and is being planned in France.
  • The first edition of the Garuda exercise was held in February 2003 in Gwalior.
  • The last exercise, ‘Garuda V’ was held at Air Force Station Jodhpur in Jun 2014.
  • A fleet of Sukhoi 30 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force will engage in dogfights with France’s Rafale multirole aircraft in simulated scenarios as part of the exercise.

Benefits of the exercise

  • This will enhance understanding of interoperability during mutual operations between the two Air Forces and provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s best practices.
  • Participation of IAF in the exercise will also promote professional interaction, exchange experiences and operational knowledge besides strengthening bilateral relations with the French Air Force.
  • It will also provide a good opportunity to the air warriors to operate in an international environment.

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Indian Air Force Updates

IAF gets first Apache Guardian attack helicopter

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Apache Helicopters

Mains level : Modernization of armed forces

  • US aerospace major Boeing has handed over first of the 22 Apache Guardian attack helicopters to the Indian Air Force today.
  • The addition of AH-64E (I) Apache helicopter is a significant step towards modernization of the force’s chopper fleet.

AH-64E Apache

  • The AH-64E Apache is a leading multi-role attack helicopter and is flown by the US Army.
  • The helicopter has been customised to suit the IAF’s future requirements and would have significant capability in mountainous terrain.
  • It has the capability to carry out precision attacks at standoff ranges and operate in hostile airspace with threats from ground.
  • Its ability to transmit and receive the battlefield picture, to and from the weapon systems through data networking makes it a lethal acquisition.

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Indian Air Force Updates

CH47 Chinook heavy-lift Choppers

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CH-47 Chinook

Mains level: Enhancing fleet arsenal of IAF


News

  • IAF has inducted four CH47 Chinook heavy-lift choppers .
  • India has paid close to $ 1.5 billion for 15 of these helicopters which would be also used for deploying troops and machinery at high altitude locations.

CH-47 Chinook

  • The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engined, tandem rotor, heavy-lift helicopter.
  • It is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters.
  • Its name, Chinook, is from the Native American Chinook people of modern-day Washington state.

Salient features of the Chinook

  • A multi-mission heavy-left transport helicopter, Chinook will be used to move troops, artillery, ammunition, barrier materials, supplies and equipment on the battlefield.
  • It is highly maneuverable, which makes it suitable for operating in tough, dense terrain.
  • Its 24X7, all-weather operational capabilities are crucial for India Air Force, which operates in some of the most hostile terrains in the world.
  • Apart from military operations, they can also be used for medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and recovery, fire-fighting and civil development.
  • It is capable of transporting fully-equipped infantry soldiers for specialised operations. It has fully integrated digital cockpit management system.
  • The Chinook has the capacity to carry a maximum payload capacity of 11 tonnes and 45 troops.

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Indian Air Force Updates

[pib] Ex SHINYUU Maitri-2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise SHINYUU Maitri 2018

Mains level:  India-Japan strategic relations


News

Ex SHINYUU Maitri-18

  1. It is a bilateral air exercise of Japanese Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) with Indian Air Force from at A F Station Agra.
  2. The theme of the exercise is joint Mobility/Humanitarian Assistance & Disaster Relief (HADR) on Transport aircraft.
  3. The JASDF C2 aircraft along with aircrew/observers are part of this first air exercise between the two Air Forces.
  4. IAF is participating with An-32 and C-17 aircraft with aircrew & observers.
  5. The focus of the exercise is set for the IAF and JASDF crews to undertake Joint Mobility/ HADR operations.
  6. Display of heavy loading/ off loading are also planned to be practiced during this exercise.

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Indian Air Force Updates

[pib] Ex Cope India 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Cope India

Mains level:  India-US strategic relations


News

Ex Cope India-18

  1. It is the fourth edition in the series of Bilateral Joint exercise held between IAF and USAF, which is conducted in India.
  2. The aim of exercise is to provide operational exposure and undertake mutual exchange of best practices towards enhancing operational capability.
  3. This is the first time, the exercise is being planned at two Air Force bases, Kalaikunda and Panagarh from 03-14 Dec 18.
  4. USAF is participating with F15 C/D and C-130. IAF is participating with the Su-30 MKI, Jaguar, Mirage 2000, C-130J & AWACS aircraft.

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Indian Air Force Updates

India, Japan, U.S. plan joint air exercise

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Cope India Exercise

Mains level: India-US-Japan trilateral strategic relations


News

‘Cope India’ Air Exercise

  1. India, Japan and the U.S. are set to elevate the bilateral ‘Cope India’ air exercise to a trilateral format.
  2. The U.S. had proposed a trilateral air exercise between India, Japan and the U.S.
  3. For this, the Cope India exercise will be elevated to a trilateral level in phases, two official sources independently confirmed on condition of anonymity.
  4. To begin with, it will be a small-level exercise involving transport aircraft in the trilateral format. It will be scaled up in subsequent editions.
  5. The three countries already conduct naval war games under the expanded Malabar naval exercise.

Increased interoperability

  1. Cope India was first conducted in 2004 and has grown in scope with the involvement of fighter aircraft and force multipliers such as Airborne Warning And Control System (AWACS).
  2. However it has been held only intermittently.
  3. The level of interoperability in the exercises is expected to go up with India recently signing the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) with the U.S.

Similar to Malabar Exercise

  1. This elevation of the air exercise is similar to the Malabar naval exercise.
  2. Malabar began in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. and has over time grown in scope and complexity.
  3. In 2015, it was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan.
  4. With increased focus on the Indo-Pacific, the U.S. has been keen on increased engagement in a trilateral format.

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Indian Air Force Updates

HAL gets order for 15 attack helicopters

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Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the LCH

Mains level: The proposal can be seen as a part of ‘Make in India’ initiative in defence sector


Request for proposal (RFP) for the helicopters

  1. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has received a request for proposal (RFP) for 15 limited series light combat helicopters(LCH) from the Air Force and the Army

Particulars and importance of the LCH

  1. The light combat helicopter (LCH) is a 5.5 tonne class multirole attack helicopter developed by HAL, and is intended to play a major role in providing close air support to ground forces
  2. It is the only attack helicopter in the world which can operate at heights of 12,000 feet
  3. At present, four technology demonstrators are under flight testing

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Indian Air Force Updates

IAF initiates step to buy 83 Tejas aircraft

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Prelims level: Particulars of the Mk-1A

Mains level: It can be seen as an example of ‘Make in India’ initiative in defence


News

Request for Information (RFI)

  1. The Indian Air Force (IAF) has issued the Request for Information (RFI) for 83 Tejas light combat aircraft with specific enhancements
  2. The RFI was issued for 83 aircraft, which includes 73 in Mk-1A configuration and 10 trainers in Final Operational Configuration (FOC). With this, the IAF will eventually have 123 Tejas aircraft

What is Tejas Mk-1A?

  1. The Mk-1A, which has 43 improvements over the basic variant and the production of the 1A, is expected in 2019

Another assembly line

  1. HAL is also in the process of setting up another assembly line at a cost of Rs. 130 crore to increase the production rate from eight to 16
  2. The second line would be ready by 2019 when Mk-1A begins production, another official said.

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