Body Of MiG-29 Commander Nishant Singh Found 11 Days After Crash

Body Of MiG-29 Commander Nishant Singh Found 11 Days After Crash

The body of Commander Nishant Singh was found 11 days after the crash of his MiG-29. However, this was not an isolated incident as the MiG jets have an abysmal safety record, famously earning it the name ‘flying coffin’.

Crux of the Matter

Commander Nishant Singh
Body of missing MiG-29 pilot Commander Nishant Singh was recently recovered near the crash area. Commander Singh had been missing since 26 November after his MiG-29K plane crashed into Arabian Sea. DNA test is awaited to confirm the identity.

The other pilot on board was rescued. The jet had taken off from INS Vikramaditya.

CAG Warned
Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) 2016 report had listed several defects in the jets:

  • Engine (RD MK-33 engine) defects.
  • ‘Fly-by-wire system’ faults.
  • Airframe flaws and several others.

Brief History Of MiG’s In India

  • MiG jets are produced by Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG.
  • India first used MiG-21 in the 1965 Indo-Pak war.
  • India also used in the 1999 Kargil war.
  • Criticism as MiG-21 jets are still operated in India, having 113 MiG-21 operational jets as of 2019.
  • Several ‘Total Technical Life’ extensions have been done, which are cited as causes for poor system and crashes.

MiG The ‘Flying Coffin’
MiG jets are also called “flying coffins” in India. Between 1971 and 2012:

  • 482 out of total of 872 MiG aircraft crashed (55% crash rate).
  • 171 Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots died in those crashes.
  • 39 civilians died in those crashes.

Note: Crashes included are of accidents, not combats.

Other Crashes

  • ~7 IAF jets (including MiGs) reportedly crashed per year during 2014-18 period.
  • Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was flying MiG-21 Bison which was shot down by Pakistani F-16.

India is the last country in the world with a serious airforce to still fly the MiG 21s. The poor young man (Commander Abhinandan) who flew the aircraft against an F-16 didn’t stand a chance… [He] is now a prisoner of war and it is a national shame that in 2019 we are still flying these planes.

Pushpinder Singh, Founding Editor, Vayu Aerospace And Defence Review

Replacements

  • Reportedly, India has a plan to “phase out” MiG-21 and MiG-27 by 2024.
  • To be replaced by Tejas and Rafale aircraft.
  • Tejas criticized for being inducted into IAF in 2016 – after 33 years in development.
Curiopedia
  • HF-24 Marut was the first indigenously built Indian Military Aircraft. The HF designation in HF-24 Marut stands for Hindustan-Fighter. While the name Marut means ‘Spirit of the Tempest’.
  • INS Vikramaditya was originally a Soviet Union Carrier. It served as Admiral Gorshkov in Russian Navy. India bought it for $2.35 billion and was inducted on 14 June 2014.
  • The HAL Tejas came from the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) programme, which began in the 1980s to replace India’s aging MiG-21 fighters. Later, the LCA was officially named “Tejas”, meaning “Radiance” by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

88th Indian Air Force Day: Acts Of Bravery

88th Indian Air Force Day: Acts Of Bravery

As the Indian Air Force celebrates its glorious 88 years of service on 8th October 2020 (Indian Air Force Day), let us look at its notable achievements in times of emergency.

Crux of the Matter

88th Indian Air Force Day
The Indian Air Force was established on 8 October 1932. Initially, it was established as an auxiliary air force of Britain. The word ‘Royal’ was removed from the IAF in 1950, after which it officially became the ‘Indian Air Force’.

Let us look at some acts of bravery of the Indian Air Force.

1971 War

  • December 1971: Pakistan launched airstrikes on India amidst the independence movement in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) after which war was declared.
  • The IAF played a key role in assisting the army at both the West and East ends of the war.
  • It reportedly destroyed more than 20 tanks at the West end alone and destroyed 94 PAF aircraft in the war which ended in 13 days (3 to 16 December).
  • It also aided through raids on industries, with the raid on Attock Oil Refinery most notable as it caused “extensive damage” to Pakistan’s oil supply.

Kargil War

  • IAF launched Operation ‘Safed Sagar’ during the 1999 Kargil war which played a key role in delivering a victory for India. It proved notable as the IAF also aided in demolishing Pakistani ground structures at high altitudes in Kargil.
  • IAF reportedly flew 10-11 strike missions per day.
  • It demolished several defence complexes in Batalik sub-sector – one of the most important strategic locations in the war.
  • It also notably destroyed Pakistani camps around the Tiger Hill located at 5,307 m altitude, which allowed the Army to capture the strategically vital point.

Balakot Airstrikes
Balakot airstrike is the most recent example of notable IAF achievements. It was done after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide bombing of which the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) took responsibility.

  • 26 February, 2019: IAF launched airstrikes at JeM camp in Balakot (Pakistan).
  • 12 Mirage-2000 fighter jets were used to drop bombs weighing 1,000 kg which caused “complete destruction” of the terrorist camps.
  • Pakistan Air Force jets reportedly chased the IAF jets on their way back, but all of them reached back safely.

Biju Patnaik And Curious Indonesian Case
Former Odisha CM Biju Patnaik, the father of current Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, was an IAF pilot. He later founded the Kalinga airlines which merged into IAF in 1953. Notably, Biju Patnaik assisted Indonesia, which gained independence in 1945 from Netherlands. However, Netherlands invaded again in 1947.

On PM Nehru’s request, Biju and his wife Gyana Devi flew one of their planes to Indonesia in July 1947 even amidst Dutch threat of attacking the planes. They ferried back Indonesian PM Sutan Sjahrir and Vice President Mohammad Hatta to India, both of whom were key in drawing World pressure on the Dutch who eventually withdrew from Indonesia.

If you want to read about the formation of the Indian Air Force, go check this out: 88th Indian Air Force Day

Curiopedia
  • Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is the only woman to be part of the Kargil War, making her the first woman IAF officer to go to war (also listed as “first woman to fly in a combat zone”). The 2020 Bollywood film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is inspired by her life.
  • Marshal of the air force is a five-star rank and the term for the most senior rank in many air forces. The rank has been conferred by the President of India on one occasion in history, to Arjan Singh. In 2002, Singh became the first and so far, only five-star rank officer of the IAF.
  • A dogfight is an aerial battle between fighter aircraft conducted at close range. Dogfighting first occurred in Mexico in 1913, shortly after the invention of the airplane.
  • Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who, during the 2019 India–Pakistan standoff, was held captive in Pakistan for 60 hours after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight. Pakistan decided on 28 February 2019 to release him as a “gesture of peace” and he returned to India on 1 March 2019. Varthaman was conferred the Vir Chakra gallantry award in August 2019.

88th Indian Air Force Day

88th Indian Air Force Day

As the Indian Air Force celebrates its glorious 88 years of service on 8th October 2020 (Indian Air Force Day), let us look at the story behind its formation.

Crux of the Matter

88th Indian Air Force Day
The Indian Air Force was established on 8 October 1932. Initially, it was established as an auxiliary air force of Britain. As of 2017, IAF was the 4th largest Air Force in the world with around 139,576 personnel.

The recently integrated Rafale jets would feature in the 2020 Air Force parade at Hindon air base in Ghaziabad, which is the largest air base in Asia.

Formation And WW 2 Contribution
The IAF was initially formed as an auxiliary of the Royal Air Force of Britain with the name ‘Royal Indian Air Force’. The IAF played an important role in the World War 2, with its pilot KK Majumdar being rated as “one of the 12 best pilots of the Allied Air Forces”. 823 Officers and Airmen of the IAF died between 1st Sept 1939 and 31st Dec 1947 (Stats also include casualties of the 1947-48 Jammu-Kashmir operations).

In 1950, the prefix ‘Royal’ was removed and the forces became the IAF. On 1 April, 1954, Air Marshal Subroto Mukherjee became the first Indian Chief of Air Staff.

To know Indian Air Force’s valorous acts over the years, check this story: 88th Indian Air Force Day: Acts Of Bravery

Curiopedia
  • Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena is the only woman to be part of the Kargil War, making her the first woman IAF officer to go to war (also listed as “first woman to fly in a combat zone”). The 2020 Bollywood film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl is inspired by her life.
  • Marshal of the air force is a five-star rank and the term for the most senior rank in many air forces. The rank has been conferred by the President of India on one occasion in history, to Arjan Singh. In 2002, Singh became the first and so far, only five-star rank officer of the IAF.
  • A dogfight is an aerial battle between fighter aircraft conducted at close range. Dogfighting first occurred in Mexico in 1913, shortly after the invention of the airplane.
  • Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman is an Indian Air Force fighter pilot who, during the 2019 India–Pakistan standoff, was held captive in Pakistan for 60 hours after his aircraft was shot down in an aerial dogfight. Pakistan decided on 28 February 2019 to release him as a “gesture of peace” and he returned to India on 1 March 2019. Varthaman was conferred the Vir Chakra gallantry award in August 2019.

History Of Rafale

History Of Rafale

After negotiations spanning over decades, the Rafale jets finally arrived in India, providing a boost to Indian Air Force’s capabilities.

Crux of the Matter

Timeline
On 29 July2020, the first batch of Rafale jets arrived at Ambala in Haryana state.

  • 1999: The Indian Air Force (IAF) demanded an upgrade in defensive capabilities after the Kargil war.
  • 2001: 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) were demanded by the IAF. The NDA Government issued the RFI (Request for Information) in the same year.
  • 2007: The UPA Government cleared the request for 126 MMRCA. 6 companies were issued the RFP (Request for Proposal) in the same year, demanding 126 MMRCA.
  • 2011: Dassault Aviation for Rafale was selected for exclusive negotiations.
  • 2012: Dassault Aviation for Rafale won the contract, and also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Reliance Group to partner in defence sector and to facilitate the Rafale deal. Dassault agreed to help Reliance to set up ₹1,500 crore factory in Bangalore to produce wings for jets created by HAL in India.
  • 2015: The BJP Govt withdrew the tender of 126 jets.
  • 2016: India and France agreed on a €7.87 billion deal for 36 jets in “flyaway condition”.
  • 2020: 5 jets arrive in India, with all 36 jets to be present in India by 2022.

Problems In 2012 Negotiations

  • 18 Rafale jets were to be obtained in “fly away condition” – 108 to be developed by HAL using transfer of technology
  • Warranty: India wanted warranty of jets produced by HAL from Dassault, which was initially declined.
  • Dassault envisaged 30 million man-hours to produce 108 Rafale jets in India. However, HAL estimated the man-hours as 2.7 times of the Dassault proposal.

Offset Clause And Reliance
The Deal was agreed with an offset clause, meaning that 50% of the total budget would be invested in India by Dassault. Consequently, Dassault agreed with Reliance to form Dassault-Reliance Aerospace (DRA), done after their 2012 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The key components for the jets would be made in India by DRA. In its 2018 statement, Reliance stated that it will get 25% of the offset, with the remaining to be shared between Thales, Saffran, MBDA, etc.

Curiopedia
  • The Rim Fire was a massive wildfire that started in a remote canyon in Stanislaus National Forest, in California. The fire was caused by a hunter’s illegal fire that got out of control, and it was named for its proximity to the Rim of the World vista point, a scenic overlook on Highway 120 leading up to Yosemite.
  • The first evidence of wildfires is rhyniophytoid plant fossils preserved as charcoal, discovered in the Welsh Borders, dating to the Silurian period (about 420 million years ago). Smoldering surface fires started to occur sometime before the Early Devonian period 405 million years ago.
  • A controlled or prescribed burn is a fire set intentionally for purposes of forest management, farming, prairie restoration or greenhouse gas abatement. A controlled burn may also refer to the intentional burning of slash and fuels through burn piles.

Bipin Rawat's Watch Continues, Now as Chief of Defence Staff

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) has been announced. As expected, Bipin Rawat, the Army Chief that retires this year, was named for the Herculian post of CDS. He will serve as the joint-man of the armed forces until the age of 65.

Crux of the Matter
  • Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day Speech, announced that the post of Chief of Defence Staff will be created.
  • Bipin Rawat, who was retiring on 31st December as the Army Chief, was appointed as India’s first Chief of Defence Staff. Rawat, who is 61, will be able to serve as incumbent until the age of 65 as per the amendment that the retiring age of CDS would be 65 years.
  • Bipin Rawat will be 4-star General, who will lead the Generals of the tri-services in joint operations, logistics, procurement, and strategy development.
  • He will also head the newly developed Cyber and Space Departments of the tri-services.
  • CDS Rawat who has commanded the Gorkha Regiment and has been active on LAC also has acquired a gamut of experience through partaking in missions against Pakistan and China. His progressive mindset has developed the Indian Army technologically, mentally, and strategically.
Curiopedia

Bipin Rawat was commissioned into the 5th battalion of 11 Gorkha Rifles on 16 December 1978, the same unit as his father. He has lots of experience in high altitude warfare and spent ten years conducting Counter-insurgency operations. During his career span of 37 years, he has been awarded for gallantry and distinguished service with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Yudh Seva Medal, Sena Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal and the COAS Commendation on two occasions and the Army Commander’s Commendation. More Info