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Saturday, 19 March 2016

From Today's Papers - 19 Mar 2016

IAF displays air prowess at Pokhran
Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

Pokhran (Rajasthan), March 18
Amid a dwindling fleet of fighter jets, the Indian Air force today came up with its most potent display of prowess in waging a war from air.

The IAF displayed its preparedness in tackling threats besides showcasing its arsenal, including its indigenous helicopters and fighters jets, during “Iron fist 2016” at the Pokhran firing range, 100 km from the Pakistan border, in western Rajasthan.

A total of 181 aircraft from the IAF stable carried out a four-hour-long firepower display, which was witnessed by President Pranab Mukerjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Along with the integration of India-made beyond visual range (BVR) missile, the air-to-air “Aastra” mounted on the Russian-origin Sukhoi-30 MKI. The indigenous Akash surface-to-air missile was also fired live for the first time.

“The IAF is transforming itself into a formidable force with multi-spectrum capability to deter a conflict,” said Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.

The Light Combat Aircraft, “Tejas”, which uses a US-made GE 404 engine was the “showstopper”.

The LCA, nearing its final operational clearance, first fired a BVR missile, the “R 73 E”, and then dropped a laser-guided bomb, the Griffen. The LCA is produced by Ministry of Defence-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). IAF spokesperson Wing Commander Rochelle D’ Silva said both targets were engaged successfully by Tejas.

Also, the Light Combat Helicopter, produced by HAL, which is now testing the IAF and Army arsenal, fired a 70mm rocket. A total of 179 of the LCH are on order — 114 for the Army aviation and 65 for the IAF — and these, will form the attack helicopter fleet, moving in air in tandem with tanks on the ground.

The twin-engine machine, that uses a French-origin engine, the Turbomeca, has been approved for flying after extensive high-altitude and hot-weather trials.

The IAF today has a fleet of 33 fighter squadrons, the lowest in a decade.
Defence Ministry to tie up with IITs to encourage innovation
Dehradun, March 18
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today expressed concern at the migration of highly qualified youths to foreign countries after taking higher education in the country.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of _the three-day Cognizance-2016, a technical annual fest at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), _Roorkee, today.

The Defence Ministry in this regard has set the ball rolling for collaboration with IITs, NITs, IISc and other top institutions to work out a research and development paradigm that will include both “innovation and production” for the sector.

He said the Defence Research Development Organisation (DSDO) and premier educational colleges like IITs should collaborate and provide better research avenues to students, which would help the country achieve its target as envisaged by ‘Make in India’.

Parrikar said the defence sector was majorly dependent on imports but if IITians had any concept or were willing to work in this sector, under the Make in India channel, we would support them fully in making them entrepreneurs.

Parrikar went down memory lane and even recalled his days of entrepreneurship. “After finishing college, we started our own venture and later decided to enter politics. But, innovation is something the campus environment promotes and if you have great ideas then this programme fits in right there,” he said.

The 60-year-old politician graduated in 1978 and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by his alma mater for his achievements in 2001.

Referring to 168-year-old IIT, Roorkee, as the pride of India which made Roorkee an educational hub, Parrikar said such institutions had been contributing to the country in many ways.

IIT Roorkee Director Pradeepta Banerjee said more than 3,000 educational institutions were taking part in the fest.

Prof Ashok Misra, chairman, Board of Governors, IIT; Padma Vibhushan awardee Anil Kakodkar; T Suvarna Raju, CMD, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited(HAL); RK Shrawat, CMD, Mazagaon Dockyard Limited; Air Marshal PV Athawale (retd) and Colonel Ajai Shukla (retd) among others were present on the occasion.

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