In Memory of India’s War Hero Arjan Singh

September 18, 2017: Today India bid its final adieu to the nation’s oldest serving soldier Marshal Arjan Singh, with full state honors. Died at the age of 98, Singh was a military legend, whose illustrious career spoke volumes about his bravery and contribution to the Indian Air Force. Singh was the only Air Force officer to be promoted to five-star rank and was a vital figure in making IAF the fourth biggest in the world.

Born to a military family, on April 15, 1919, Singh joined Indian Air Force in 1938 at the young age of 19; and at the age of just 44, he took over as the chief of a young IAF in 1964. A year later, after taking up the charge as IAF Chief, Singh valiantly led the young air force team in the 1965 Indo-Pak war. His profound knowledge about air force was visible in the 1965 war and proved beneficial for the IAF to regain its stature after the 1962 debacle. Y B Chavan, the then Defence Minister wrote, “Air Marshal Arjan Singh is a jewel of a person, quite efficient and firm; unexcitable but a very able leader.”

In his career spanning over three decades and after that as well, Arjan Singh won many awards and accolades. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his contributions in the 1965 Indo-Pak War. He was the first Indian pilot to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) by the Supreme Allied Commander of South East Asia. In addition to this, West Bengal’s Air Force base at Panagarh was renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh in honor of him. Another highlight of his flying career was that he was leading the fly-past over the Red Fort on the morning of August 15, 1947, when India got independence.

Singh retired in 1969 and went on to accept the Ambassadorship of Switzerland. Later, he became Indian High Commissioner in Kenya in 1974. He has also served as India’s Ambassador to the Vatican and became Lieutenant Governor of Delhi after returning to India.

In his last three years, Arjan Singh’s health started to give up, but his zest for life and service to the nation did not stop. A dynamic personality, an excellent leader, and a man of courage, Arjan Singh in every way was and will remain India’s legendary ‘War Hero’.

Air Force Marshal Arjan Singh- 15 April 1919- 16 September 2017

Sources: Economic Times, News18

India and War- IAF’s miserable story of hopelessness

In the age of rising patriotism and nationalism in India; the army has been the holiest cows of all. Any criticism to the Indian Army is considered as a misconduct of highest order by a certain section of the society.

THE ROAR

Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat on his recent interview to ANI boasted about how India was ready for two and a half wars referring to Pakistan, China and internal conflicts. If we were to look at it, India has the third largest army in the world, on the accounts of military expenditure India ranks five with a budget of 56 billion dollars. India is currently the largest buyer of arms according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). So statistically it checks out and Bipin Rawat is absolutely justified with his ‘Let it rip’ attitude. But, there is always a flip side to the coin.

THE REALITY

In the recent months, India has seen an outrageous amount of air crashes. In the first week of July itself the country saw, Kiren Rijiju narrowly escape a potential chopper crash, an MIG-23 crash in Rajasthan and one more incident of a chopper going out of the radar that later was found to have crashed with no survivors.

If the modern day warfare were to depend upon a country’s strength in air-warfare, India would probably score a big fat zero. Indian Air Forces current squadron strength is 32 as opposed to the sanctioned number of 42 squadrons. Amongst that 32 squadrons of combat aircraft, most are past their use-by date and have not been retired just because the IAF will run out of options.

THE FLYING COFFIN

With a treacherously alarming rate of air accidents, India has lost 11 major jets in the past year itself and nobody seems to care and talk about it. While the government remained busy pushing its ‘Make in India’ initiative with Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which by the way CAG found 53 shortcomings in, the IAF continued to overwork its old faulty Russian through intensive training. Dubbed as the ‘Flying Coffin’ for their tendency of operational malfunction mid-air India lost numerous pilots and lost half of its MIG fleet through minor or major accidents.

THE BIG WALLET

India recently brought MIG-29’s worth Rs 10,000, an aircraft that has a serviceability of 15%, which means that the jet can reach to the place if called upon only 15 times out of hundred. No wonder that the CAG called the expenditure avoidable.

Indian government’s flawed purchases, out-dated technology, scams and not to mention utter disregard for human life comes out as shocking if not as disturbing considering the turbulent times.

Can Bipin Rawat defend India on ‘Two and a Half Fronts’? It’s very unlikely that he can defend us from one.

Sources: Scroll, Indian Express

 

First Rafale squadron to be based in Hasimara, West Bengal

India is going to base its first squadron of nuclear arms capable Rafale jets in Hasimara airbase in West Bengal. The decision comes from the overall policy to gradually built nuclear as well as conventional deterrence against China.

IAF has finalised plans for its 18 Rafales which will be arriving around November 2019 be stationed in the eastern half of the country with Sukhoi-30MKI fighters operating from Tezpur and Chabau in Assam which serves as a strategic location against China.

The news comes at a time when India has successfully been conducting nuclear capable Agni-IV and Agni-V ballistic missiles which have the range of 1500 kilometres.

This will be the first squadron of fighters that India will receive from France and according to the $ 7.8 billion deal inked between the two countries, India will receive a full of 36 fighters till mid-2022.

Custom made with 14 India specific requirements; including the capability of cold start and 75 per cent availability under all times performance based logistics, Rafale made by Dassault bags quite a punch with its ability to carry 9.3 tonne of weapons and simultaneously perform both air defence and ground strike missions.

The Sarsawa base in Uttar Pradesh, among other places is being considered for the second Rafale squadron.

Currently the Hasimara base has Mig-27s which the government plans to retire over the next two to three years and replace them with the new jets. Dassault Aviation which is the maker of the Rafales, has already sent a team on inspection to review the maintenance and the infrastructure required.

News Source: Times of IndiaSwarajya 

Image Source: Getty Images

Former Air Chief Arrested For His Alleged Role in VVIP Chopper Scam

Former Airforce Chief SP Tyagi was arrested by the CBI on December 9, 2016 in relation to his alleged role in the VVIP Chopper Scam. His connection with the case is based on the irregularities in the deal, which was worth Rs 3700 crore. Gautam Khaitan, a Delhi-based lawyer and SP Tyagi’s cousin, Julie Tyagi, were also arrested by the CBI. They were arrested on the charges of accepting illegal gratification for exercising influence through corrupt and illegal means during the deal.

According to Firstpost, the Indian Air Force had requested for helicopters that could fly higher altitudes. However, after investigations, it was discovered that the helicopters could reach only 4,572 feet and not 6000 m. This scam is considered the second biggest after the Bofors Scam in India.

The Former Air Marshall was repeatedly questioned about his role since he allegedly helped Augusta-Westland to win the contract and purchased 12 helicopters from the company. The Defence Ministry has alleged that the UPA Government and the Congress Party knew about the choppers in 2012 and did not say anything since only three more choppers were left to be delivered.

 

Sources: DNA India, Tribune India, First Post, The Indian Express

Defence Ministry slammed by CAG over ‘avoidable expenditure’ on MiG-29

According to a report by Hindustan Times, The Comptroller Auditor General has slammed the central government for incurring “an avoidable expenditure” of Rs 9.97 crore on India’s mainstream naval fighter MiG-29K due to defects in engine, airframe and serviceability issues, leading to very low adaptability of the aircraft.

It would have been the least of the problems for the government if only CAG would have stopped by saying that the aircraft is riddled with problems, but it went on to explain that the maritime fighters’ battle readiness was at an unimpressive 15.93% to 37.63% for the single sitter and around 21-47% for the twin-seat trainer.

The CAG also added to its statement that the MiG-29K were being technically accepted despite having anomalies relating to airframe.

In another report tabled at the parliament, the auditor has revealed how India had invested almost Rs 19 crore on Boeing C-17 Globemaster but failed to utilize them adequately. 

The MiG aircraft has earned epithets like “widow-maker” and “flying coffin” right from the time it became the backbone of the Indian Air Force.

India has lost half of its MiG combat fleet (872 aircrafts) in accidents, killing 171 pilots, 39 civilians and eight persons from other services

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Massive search underway as IAF AN-32 aircraft goes missing

An Antonov An-32 or “Sutlej” dubbed by the Indian Air force, a twin engine medium tactical aircraft carrying 29 people on board went missing in the Bay of Bengal on Friday while making its way back to Port Blair from Chennai. The aircraft which was on its routine courier-run took off from Chennai at 8:30am in the morning and lost contact with the land 16 minutes after take-off at 23,000ft altitude.

Rescue operations are currently underway where four navy ships, four coast guard ships and two Dornier aircrafts have been deployed for search operations 200 nautical miles east of Chennai.

It has been confirmed by officials that 1 Coast Guard, 11 navy personnel, 3 IAF pilots, however interestingly D K Sharma were aboard the aircraft, Navy PRO, did not confirm the number of personnel missing.

The last update on this mishap came from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who told the press that all efforts were being made to trace the missing aircraft.

It is reported that the aircraft lost contact with the Secondary Service Radar after a rapid decline in altitude which probably was due to the bad weather conditions.

The history of Antonov aircraft’s is not very good as data shows that since March ’86 it has been involved in 10 crashes killing around 81 people and it is also heart breaking to note that in the last five years nearly 30 military aircraft’s have crashed 3 of which are Antonovs.

Source:
IAF An-32 aircraft missing LIVE: IAF deploys 17 ships for search and rescue operations

http://www.ibtimes.com/indian-air-force-plane-missing-live-updates-antonov-32-plane-went-missing-after-rapid-2393940

Sharif reviews the development in Pathankot attacks

Islamabad: The dire attacks that targeted Pathankot severely, had raised serious doubts on Pakistan’s involvement in it. This prompted Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif to hold a meeting on Pathankot with high level security officials in Islamabad, today.

The high officials who attended the meeting in Islamabad today were army chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar. They echoed Pakistan’s commitment to cooperate with India to “completely eradicate” terrorism.

Prime Minister  Narendra Modi had initially asked Nawaz Sharif  to seek intervention in the issue. He also urged him to take stringent and urgent actions on those who had planned and executed the whole attack. However, on January 5 Sharif assured him that Pakistan would not step back in punishing the perpetrators involved in the Pathankot attacks.

According to one of the sources that gave details to Hindustan Times said that “There has been serious discussion in the meeting regarding the leads provided by India over the Pathankot attacks. Our PM has handed over the details provided by New Delhi to the Intelligence Bureau Chief”.

“India has provided us with evidence which includes intercepts of mobile phone calls made by the attackers to their handlers and family in Pakistan.” he said. Later   he also mentioned that the evidence also showed arms and ammunitions which the terrorists carried were made in Pakistan.

The attacks which targeted the Indian Air Force (IAF) base in Pathankot killed 7 security personnels at the beginning of this year on January 2.

 

Source: India today: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/pathankotattack-pak-pm-nawaz-sharif-holds-high-level-meeting/1/565722.html