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IAF strengthening VIP fleet with new Embraers and AW 101s

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by brahmos_ii, Jan 8, 2013.

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  1. brahmos_ii

    brahmos_ii Major SENIOR MEMBER

    Oct 19, 2012
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    IAF’s Delhi-based Communication Squadron, which has just got the first lot of three VIP role helicopters, already has four Embraer 135s. The newer aircraft, being acquired from Brazil, will have some security features similar to those in the three Boeing Business Jets (BBJs) acquired in 2009 but not the same ones.
    Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne told India Strategic in an interview recently that the duties of IAF’s VIP unit, designated Air Headquarters Communication Squadron, had increased manifold and that the case to acquire the Embraers was now being processed.

    The timeline for the Embraers’ acquisition is not available.

    Besides VIPs and ministers, the Embraer aircraft is also used for Chiefs of Staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force.

    The aircraft can be configured for presidential of prime minister’s use if the number of officials required on board is small. Otherwise, they use the BBJ, which is equipped with an office and a bedroom for the President and the Prime Minister in a separate enclosure.

    The BBJs also have some specific hi-tech protection equipment as on the US President’s Air Force One which the US Government agreed to share on the condition that their technology would not be shown or disclosed to any other country or entity. India signed the EEUM (Enhanced End User Monitoring) agreement in this regard stipulating the BBJs’ safekeeping in well-guarded areas to prevent unauthorized access.

    Aircraft meant for VVIPs in any case are secured by Special Protection Group (SPG) commandos in addition to IAF personnel.

    Notably, the Communication Squadron already has four Embraer 135s, while DRDO is acquiring a couple of Embraer 145s for hosting indigenous surveillance and electronic warfare systems. Two of these aircraft are under tests.

    BSF also has one Embrarer 135.

    The idea of commonality in platforms is to ensure easy maintenance and service support.

    As for the helicopters, IAF has been using the Soviet vintage Mi-8s so far. But with the advent of the new AW 101 helicopters from the Italian-British Agusta Westland, the old machines would gradually be phased out.

    The company ferried three AW 101s in chartered Russian AN 124 heavy lift aircraft – designed to carry oversized cargo – to New Delhi in the second half of December 2012. Their flight trials should begin within the first half of January under the supervision of the SPG which looks after the security of the Prime Minister and other VVIPs.

    After some trial runs, as per the laid down procedures, the first flight of the helicopter with either the President or the Prime Minister on board would be undertaken shortly.

    IAF has ordered eight AW 101s in VIP configuration and four more for support and cargo. All of them should be delivered by or before September 2013.

    It may be noted that whenever aircraft or helicopters for the President’s or Prime Minister’s use are acquired, the requirements are vetted by the Prime Minister’s Office and the SPG in detail.

    For the VIP helicopter for instance, when its requirement was first considered some 10 years ago, there was only one helicopter – a Eurocopter EC 145 interestingly – that was thought fit as it could fly up to 18,000 feet. SPG also wanted the shell to be strengthened, which would have added weight to the machine and made it difficult to operate.

    In 2003, the then National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, in any case felt that the choice should be widened, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) asked the Defence Ministry and IAF to reframe the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQRs) by reducing the height requirement.

    The Russian Kamov was disqualified on technical grounds, leaving Sikorsky S 92 Super Hawk and AW 101 in the fray. The latter won on both technical and financial merit, and an agreement was signed in February 2010 for Euro 560 million ($827 million) for 12 helicopters inclusive of training.

    ncidentally, the same AW 101, with three engines, was also selected by the US Government for the President in a competitive bid, though President Obama shelved the proposal citing fund shortage. There was also political opposition to the idea of buying a foreign-made helicopter, and the US President continues to use the older, reliable Sikorsky helicopters maintained by US Marines.

    CEO Giuseppe Orsi of Italy’s Finmeccanica group, which holds the majority stake in Agusta Westland, told India Strategic during the Farnborough Air Show in July 2012 that the company was training a small group of Indian pilots, engineers and technicians as part of the agreement at the Agusta Westland facility. This core group would then train other pilots and maintenance staff as required in India itself.

    Eight to 10 pilots of the Communication Squadron, who were sent to Britain, are also returning home after finishing their simulator, ground and flight training. These officers will act as instructors and train more pilots in India itself for these machines.

    IAF strengthening VIP fleet with new Embraers and AW 101s | idrw.org
  2. Manmohan Yadav

    Manmohan Yadav Brigadier STAR MEMBER

    Jul 1, 2011
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    What about the Fighter Jets Fleet ???
  3. Sancho

    Sancho Lt. Colonel IDF NewBie

    May 3, 2011
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    Different numbers, different requirements, therefor more complicated. Fighter deals include 50 to 100 fighters, has operational, industrial and often even political requirements, while these VIP aircraft deals are mainly done based on security and reliability.
  4. smestarz

    smestarz Lt. Colonel REGISTERED

    Jun 11, 2011
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    Had anyone posted this?

    Chopper deal: Three key decision makers enjoy Constitutional immunity

    New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee, Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo and West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan - the three key decision makers who were involved in finalising the deal AgustaWestland 101 helicopter deal - enjoy Constitutional immunity.

    The UPA government's factsheet on the AgustaWestland helicopter deal can bring embarrassment for the Congress as it categorically states that the tender was finalised in 2005 - a time when President Pranab was the defence minister, Air Chief Marshal SP Tyagi was India Air Force Chief, Wanchoo headed the SPG while Narayanan was the National Security Advisor.

    But the CBI seeking to question President Pranab and the two governors seems highly unlikely as they enjoy Constitutional immunity. Apart from the President, two other key decision makers continue to enjoy high office. Wanchoo is now the Governor of Goa while Narayanan is the Governor of West Bengal. Both of them by virtue of being governors enjoy immunity under the Constitution.

    Constitutional expert and senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, however, said that while the three have immunity, they can be questioned. "The President can't be prosecuted while he is in office but he can be questioned and the whole matter can be investigated," Bhushan said.

    Meanwhile, Congress MP Sandeep Dikshit said the need for questioning will arise only after an investigation report is out. "The then Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee holds a Constitutional position. The need for questioning arises only after the probe report is out," Dikshit said.

    The Congress in its factsheet has also put the blame on NDA. The Congress has alleged that in 2003, the then National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra wrote to the then defence secretary that the existing rules were unfair as it allowed only single bidding and that the qualifying height of the choppers should be reduced from 18,000 feet to at least 14,000 feet.

    The factsheet says in the initial tender, only Eurocopter was found eligible. In 2003, Brajesh Mishra met the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, urging him to change the norms to include more bidders. Altitude requirements were brought down from 6,000 to 4,500 metres after that meeting.

    Later Brajesh Mishra wrote to the Air Chief Marshal suggesting consultations with the defence secretary. After the UPA came to power, the factsheet says IAF, SPG, NSA and Defence Ministry held consultations and changes in requirements were incorporated.

    After the new tender, three companies responded, out of which AgustaWestland was selected. The Cabinet Committee on Security cleared the deal on January 18, 2010.

    Surprisingly BJP leader Jaswant Singh, a member of the then Vajpayee cabinet, seemed to be endorse Brajesh Mishra's act. But an alarmed BJP, which wants to take on the Congress in the Budget Session was quick to distance itself from Jaswant Singh's comments.

    Big questions:

    - Who all were the key decision makers of the helicopter deal?

    - How many key players received kickbacks from chopper company?

    - Does the money trail stop with the middlemen and Tyagis?

    - Was the decision to change tender norms purely a professional decision?

    - Is there equal accountability of all those who ratified the chopper tender?

    - Can the President and governors be questioned if not prosecuted?

    - Will the CBI question President Pranab and governors Wanchoo and Narayanan?
  5. sam2012

    sam2012 Captain FULL MEMBER

    Feb 27, 2013
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    Good keep up

    Strenghening of VIP fleet with Embrazers & Agusta westland chopper is a battle winning factor in future two front war against China & pakistani

    Keep on ignoring the depleting strength of fighter squadron which will not play any role in conflict

    Embrazers & Agusta choppers with our babus carrying mic will defnitely kill PLAAF & PAF pilots with their speech & false promises

    WAY TO GO :facepalm:
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