Friday, September 23, 2016

India Finally Confirms Rafale Deal

Neelam Mathews and Chris Pocock
Sept 23 2016

French Defence Minister Yves Le Drian (left) signed the inter-governmental agreement on the Rafale with Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.

More than four years after the Dassault Rafale was chosen for its Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) requirement, India has signed an inter-governmental agreement with France worth €7.87 billion for 36 aircraft. The deal was inked in Delhi today by the defense ministers of both countries. It specifies details of the contract, including timelines. However, the support, logistics and 50 percent offsets package will be signed in a few months, a senior MoD official told AIN.
While the agreement has an option clause for 18 more Rafales, it is unclear whether more of the French jets will eventually be manufactured or assembled in the country, under the terms of the “Make In India” policy. The original MMRCA requirement envisioned a total of 126 aircraft, of which only the first 18 would be produced in France. But negotiations stalled on the terms and conditions for licensed production.
In the past year, rival Western combat aircraft manufacturers have expressed their willingness to consider Indian production of the F-16, F/A-18, Gripen or Typhoon. “A long-term solution to the depleting force structure, preferably from indigenous sources, needs to be taken on the highest priority,” said Ankur Gupta, vice president A&D at Ernst & Young India.
Commenting on the agreement, Dassault chairman and CEO Eric Trappier said that his company “will endeavor to ensure ambitious industrial cooperation” under the “Make in India” policy. But an analyst not willing to be identified told AIN: “Shifting production to India will not create jobs for the French, which is a sensitive issue there. Besides, the cost of the Rafale is exorbitant.” The analyst noted that F-16s are in Pakistan’s inventory and the F/A-18 “had massive test failures during trials of the MMRCA. It will be difficult to convince the Indian Air Force to accept them.”
Alternatively, India could likely order more Sukhoi Su-30s to fill its immediate requirement for at least 90 fighters. Simultaneously, India has also speeded negotiations with Russia on the delayed project for the joint development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). Each country plans to invest $4 billion in theFGFA. 

Monday, September 12, 2016

HAL stacks up helicopter orders

ROTORHUBrss feed

HAL stacks up helicopter orders

12th September 2016 - 10:20by Neelam Mathews in Delhi 
HAL stacks up helicopter orders
The recent technical flight of the Bangalore-built Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) on 6 September could result in Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) winning an order for nearly 200 additional units from the military. This is in addition to a current order for 187 LUHs.
An Indian Army official told Shephard, ‘We expect this project to move fast as ... Read more... ShephardMedia

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Guest Column- Fact Check- Standard Screening vs. Pre-Check Screening

By Brian Holland 
President of Point Security Inc., a certified small business with over twenty-five years of experience providing sales and service of security screening equipment throughout the United States and the Caribbean. He enjoys educating individuals on ways they can better secure their facility. 

Have you ever wondered why some people at the airport seem to breeze through security checkpoints while you are stuck in a lengthy and aggravating line? Chances are they have TSA (Transportation Security Administration's) pre-check: an option available to fliers so they don't have to stand in regular airport security lines. Having TSA pre-check means that you have already gone through extensive security assurance with regulated personnel prior to flying and simply don't have to do it again, in as great of detail when arriving at the airport.

What is a pre-check?

TSA pre-check:

-          You will never wait more than 5 minutes to go through security
-          3+ million members have taken advantage of this option
-          180+ airports and 16 airlines have TSA Pre-check
-          Completely expedited method of travel

With TSA Pre-check, you no longer will be asked to remove your shoes, take out your laptop, take off your belt, or remove your jacket. All you are required to do is walk through an x-ray machine and be on your way.  The hassle of going through security is almost totally eliminated. This is a great time-saving option for those who are frequent fliers or for those who tend to continuously run late, not leaving much time to catch their flight.

How Can I Get Pre-Check?

1.     Apply online: all you have to do is schedule an appointment at one of the offered enrollment centers
2.     Get a background check: during your appointment, you will be required to submit a background check along with fingerprinting
3.     Add your KTN (Known Traveler Number) when booking your flight ticket reservation and breeze through security

Standard Screening Procedures

Screening can sometimes be a hassle, but it must be done. These security measures are in place so that fellow passengers and aircraft personnel can be reassured that every single flier has gone through security and that they are nonhazardous and risk-free.

With advancements in technology, it is now the norm for individuals to have to walk through an x-ray machine and get a metal detector screening over their body. This can be a lengthy process because:

- Everyone must remove their shoes, belts, jackets, earrings, and wallets
- Remove laptops from cases and place in bins
- Remove all liquids and gels and place them in a bin to prepare them for screening
- If metal is detected, flier must remove the item and go back through security, slowing everyone down

There is standard protocol that every airport around the world must adhere to in order to verify that fliers are eligible to fly without any harmful weapons or prohibited items. If you are above the age of 75, you are not required to remove your shoes or jacket when going through security checkpoints. This also applies when traveling with children that are under the age of two, although they are still required to go through screening.

Some prohibited items that both Pre-check and standard fliers cannot fly with due to the fact that they are highly flammable are:

-          Aerosols
-          Dynamite
-          Chlorine for swimming pools/spas
-          E-Cigarettes
-          fireworks
-          Spray paint
-          Torch lighters

The penalties for traveling with and getting caught with prohibited items are very hefty, even if they were accidentally packed. Prior to setting out to the airport, double check that your carry-on item and your checked baggage does not contain any of the forbidden items.

 What To Know About Screening Technology

At almost all airports across the globe, TSA uses millimeter wave (AIT) advanced imaging technology as well as walk-through metal detectors. These methods are highly effective and pose no harm or pain to passengers. Those who do not feel comfortable going through the detectors have the option to get a pat down know as physical screening.

Is AIT safe for my health?

The answer is yes. These advanced imaging machines meet national health and safety regulations and use non-ionizing radio-frequency energy which pose no harmful health consequences to individuals. This form of security assurance is also completely private and images are eliminated right after the passenger has left the imaging station.

Fact: As of 2007, full-body scanners began replacing metal detectors making going through security quicker and more efficient.

Whether you have Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check, or simply a boarding pass, always be sure to leave adequate time when you know that you have a flight to catch. Always account for delays and unexpected occurrences as they can slow the security process down substantially, leaving you stressed and irritated. A great way to make your airport experience easy is to check in before arriving at the airport so you can go straight to security and not have to meet with an agent at the airport to print off your boarding pass. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Air Astana maintains #PaxEx focus as it fine-tunes growth strategy

St Petersburg, Russia – May 11, 2016. P4-KBC Air Astana Airbus A320 airplane, closeup view. Airplane rides on the runway after arrival at Pulkovo airport in St Petersburg, Russia

Devaluation of oil-rich Kazakhstan’s currency, tenge, twice in two years following a crash in oil prices has led national carrier Air Astana to focus its expansion on neighboring countries such as China and the Ukraine, and less on the saturated domestic market. But even as it fine-tunes its growth strategy, the carrier is eager to retain its solid #PaxEx credentials.
President and CEO Peter Foster, who has been with the airline for 11 years, told RGN in a recent interview that he is accustomed to fluctuations in oil prices and will not be deterred by the downturn.
While Air Astana’s “cost base has never been lower”, Foster acknowledged that the short-term challenge is to manage recession. “We face a revenue challenge.” This is because Kazakhstan’s population of 17 million people is catered to by multiple airlines, which are targeting the same market with cutthroat fares, and in turn threatening yields.------Read more on RunwayGirlNetwork 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

AIESL to Score?

Neelam Mathews
Aug  8 2016

Aerospacediary is hearing a buzz that is getting louder.  Is one of India's most successful airlines about to sign an MRO deal with Air India?
Just goes to show political will is a strong contender!
Either ways, if AIESL gets two dozen aircraft , it will be a coup.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Indian Tanker Deal May Still Be Concluded

 - August 3, 2016, 8:35 AM

An artist's impression of an Indian Air Force A330MRTT refueling two Mirage 2000 fighters. (Airbus D&S)

India has withdrawn the tender for a new air refueling tanker, more than three years after choosing the Airbus A330 MRTT  in preference to the Ilyushin Il-78 following a second round of bidding. This latest example of indecision on major defense projects, following the saga of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program, is creating concern in the international defense industry that India is chronically indecisive. However, AIN has learned from a senior Indian Ministry of Defence official that the A330MRTTprocurement may still be concluded, on an intergovernmental basis between Spain and India.
Though there has been no official confirmation, Indian media reported that the high price of the MRTT is the reason behind the nation's failing to conclude a contract. However, the vendor has not been given the cause for the pullout. “The cost of the MRTT has increased following depreciation of the rupee in the past three years,” said the senior MoD official.
A retired Indian Air Force (IAF) officer commented to AIN: “This is ludicrous. The MoD is making inconsistent statements. The A330 MRTT was chosen after considering the total cost of the platform plus the life cycle costs. Yes, it is more expensive to acquire than the Il-78, but much more efficient. So what changed?”
An IAF engineer said the six IL-78s already in service in the IAF are suffering from maintenance issues related to unavailability or delays in acquiring spares. “Sometimes there are structural issues and at other times, problems with the Israeli pods that keeps the fleet grounded.” He said that at the recent Red Flag Exercise in the U.S, only one of the two IL-78s sent by the IAF performed. AIN could not confirm this. “The MRTT is urgent because we need to enhance our capability,” IAF chief of staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha told AIN in April.

A finance ministry official said it did not make financial sense to have a mix of models in the fleet as the cost for setting up a maintenance facility for the A330s “would be enormous.” This was refuted by a retired IAFofficial who said that maintenance facilities already exist in India for the airframe as Airbus has a large commercial presence here. “This is utter lack of understanding,” he said.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Kazakhstan Seeks Attention With Multi-Billion-Dollar Expo Build

Pix Neelam Mathews

Former Soviet nation and US designer push energy-efficient innovations

Energy sustainability is a key focus for EXPO 2017 (center) and high-profile upgrade of Kazakh capital of Astana.
Photo: Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill

July 19, 2016

AT THE EXPO 2017 SITE IN ASTANA, KAZAKHSTAN—Even with a highly depreciated currency and an economy battered by the oil price slump, the former  Soviet nation of Kazakhstan is ramping up completion of EXPO 2017 and its surroundings in the capital of Astana—a futuristic megaproject estimated to cost between $3 and $5 billion that will showcase global energy efficiency but also promote the Central Asian nation's push to modernize and raise its worldwide profile.
The first international exhibition to be held in Central Asia and in a former CIS country, "Future Energy" will host 3 million visitors between June and September of next year and create what its Chicago-based designer Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill (AS+GG), said will make Astana “the first Third Industrial Revolution city where energy consumed by the Expo community will be provided from renewable sources.” Buildings will generate their own power that will be distributed by a smart grid. 
Participants tell ENR that despite archaic construction rules and the unforeseen oil-sector crash since EXPO 2017 was awarded to Kazakhstan in 2012 and work started in 2014, national pride and an iron administration led by its government-owned company are pushing forward.  
Akhmetzhan Yessimov, chairman of JSC National Company that is running EXPO 2017, confirmed in June to the Paris-based intergovernmental group that supervises international exhibitions, that construction will be done by year-end.
Yessimov was appointed last August in the wake of an alleged corruption scandal involving EXPO 2017 managers who have since been arrested, terminated or have left, say local news reports. He had been mayor of Almaty, a Kazakh city that lost the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing in July 2015 by just four votes. Almaty now is vieing for the 2026 Games, set for award in 2019. Officials had claimed last year that 80% of venues would be completed in 2017.
AS+GG won the design for EXPO 2017 and Astana against 49 competitors. “The design was chosenfor its uniqueness and it could also relate to the architecture of Astana’s contemporary buildings,” Alisher Pirmetov, the exhibition's first deputy, told ENR. Flashy glass and metal buildings dot Astana’s surrealist skyline.“The urban design for Expo City was determined by site specific indicators such as weather conditions, cultural context and land accessibility.” Astana is the second coldest capital city after Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Split into two phases, the 430-acre project with 62 dedicated to EXPO 2017 will feature 97 pavilions; a residential development; and related retail, cultural, educational and civic facilities.
A subsequent phase of development will see the buildings converted into an office, research and financial center, a pet project of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Pirmetov said the concept was being worked on and other such centers “are being studied.” He added,that the start of Phase 2 would depend on “interest from investors.”
The centerpiece of EXPO 2017 is the iconic 8-story-high, 80 meter-dia globe with a transformative skin and geothermal reserves underneath. Its design includes high-performance glazing that will maximize solar heat gain in winter while providing shading in summer. Energy piles will reduce exposed thermal mass that will provide temperature modulation within the buildings during both summer and winter, said AS+GG. Turkey's Sembol Group is the main project contractor. The metallic structure contains 12,000 tons of steel.
“The sphere by itself is an innovation," said Serdar Güçar, regional vice president and managing director, at Hill International, the project's program manager. "The façade made in Italy is unique as it is not smooth, but curved. He says the sphere includes solar photovoltaic panels. "The way glass parts attach to the surface of the structure is part of the design,” he said.
Challenges were many, with each piece of glass weighing 800 kg, requiring use of 80kg cranes.Building regulations, old Soviet approaches later combined with more modern western codes, sometimes created issues.
Other key contractors include Swiss-based Mabetex Group, a Russian company and two Kazakh contractors, YDA Group and SAES Sredazenergostroy.
All have signed up Kazakh subcontractors as part of the government's effort to provide jobs to locals, which includes convicts. The labor force totaled 5,000 at construction peak, also including migrant workers from neighboring countries. Pirmetov acknowledged workmanship of the kind that was required for the sphere could not be done locally “because of the scale and pressure.”
Every project has its own vagaries and “that’s what project management is all about,” said Güçar. “Coordination becomes an issue with inefficiencies created by different contractors for different buildings.” About 254 local companies are at work on the construction site.
Graft has also hurt. In June, EXPO 2017's former chairman was found guilty of embezzling millions of dollars in project funds and sentenced to 14 years in prison. The project's former construction department chief will spend two years behind bars, found guilty of abuse of power and embezzlement.