vsunder wrote:Kurt Tank and the HF-24:
Kurt Tank and the HF-24
Aircraft engines were constant weakness that did the planes HF-24 and even LCA.
And even more interesting is the constant search for engines from cheaters.
As for the act of Jumbo's son selling those medals for money, the lesser said the better.
Panagarh airbase renamed after former IAF chief Arjan Singh
In a first, Panagarh airbase was today renamed as Air Force Station Arjan Singh after the former Indian Air Force chief.
On the occasion of 97th birthday of Arjan Singh, Marshal of the Indian Air Force, Air Marshal C. Hari Kumar, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Air Command, renamed the airbase at a simple ceremony here.
“It is a proud moment for the Indian Air Force and the state of West Bengal. He is an icon and a role model. We have to work hard to ensure that the name is suitably looked after in terms of capability and performance,” Kumar told reporters.
“It is for the first time that we have taken a conscious decision to rename an airbase after an individual.”
Panagarh, approximately 150 kms from Kolkata, is located in Burdwan district. The airbase in Panagarh was constructed in 1944 during the Second World War.
Coincidentally, around the same time in eastern theatre, a young Commanding Officer of No. 1 Squadron, then Squadron Leader Arjan Singh, was leading the ‘Tiger’ squadron in saving Imphal Valley against the marauding Japanese forces.
His leadership and daring exploits earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), which was pinned on him by Lord Mountbatten in Imphal during the operations.
Air Force Station, Panagarh, post the Second World War, played a significant role in the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan.
Singh was the IAF chief from August 1964-69. He was the first Indian Air Chief to be elevated to the rank of Air Chief Marshal on January 16, 1966.
In recognition of his lifelong services, the government conferred the rank of the “Marshal of the Indian Air Force” on Arjan Singh on January 28, 2002 making him the first and the only ‘Five Star’ rank officer with the Indian Air Force.
The “number plating” or decommissioning of No.18 Squadron by the IAF this week would have touched a sentimental cord among both serving as well as retired officers as this is the only squadron to have been awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), the nation’s highest gallantry award.
The squadron known as the “Defenders of Kashmir” has a strong bond with this region. Not only did the PVC recipient, Flying Officer Nirmaljit Singh Sekhon, belong to Punjab, but the outfit had played a key role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
Nicknamed Flying Bullets, it flew into sunset on April 15, exactly 51 years after it took to the skies in the spring of 1965. “The squadron had received the President’s Standards in November 2015 for services rendered by it. It was scheduled to be number plated last year itself, but the event was postponed,” an IAF spokesperson said.
Number plating a squadron implies that its aircraft are either decommissioned or allocated to other units for operational or technical reasons and it no longer remains a flying establishment. As has happened in the past, a number plated squadron can be re-raised again later with new aircraft. There are no such plans to resurrect No. 18 Squadron as of now. This has also brought focus on the IAF’s depleting squadron strength, though a few outfits operating old aircraft like the Mig-21 and MiG-23 have been re-equipped with Su-30-MKI.
Raised with Gnat aircraft, the squadron first saw action in 1971, operating out of Srinagar airbase with the mandate to defend the Kashmir Valley. The squadron undertook combat air patrol, carried out cross-border raids and also flew escort missions on attack operations. On December 14, 1971, Flying Officer Sekhon, who hailed from Ludhiana, took on six Pakistani Sabre aircraft that had attacked Srinagar, shooting two of them. He was killed in aerial combat, for which he was posthumously decorated with the PVC. The Gnals were later replaced by HAL Ajeets. In May 1989, when the squadron was based at Hindon, it was re-equipped with the Soviet MiG 27s. Its role changed from air defence to ground attack and it was relocated to Hasimara in the east.
Some IAF officers, including veterans, are of the view that Air Headquarters could have considered re-equipping this squadron with newer aircraft so that the IAF’s legacy of gallantry could have continued uninterrupted
A search party found the wreckage of Fg Off Sekhon’s Gnat in a gorge, a few miles from the airfield. His squadron mates counted 37 bullet holes in the recovered parts of the wreckage. The location was Badgam — coincidentally, almost exactly where, in November 1947, India’s first Param Vir Chakra recipient, Major Som Nath Sharma, had fallen in defence of the Valley.
The Foxbat that buzzed Pakistan 20 years ago
3 April 2017 RAKESH KRISHNAN SIMHA
On a secret mission in 1997 a MiG-25 entered Pakistani airspace subsonically at around 65,000 ft and photographed strategic installations near Islamabad. It then turned back towards India with the pilot accelerating up to Mach 2 and dropping a large sonic boom as he exited Pakistani airspace.
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The MiG-25 was Russia’s secret weapon against American bombers. Source: Dmitry A. Mottl / wikipedia
In May 1997 a MiG-25R aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) flew deep into Pakistani airspace on a reconnaissance mission, photographed sensitive defence sites and broke the sound barrier, sending a powerful sonic boom over Islamabad. Before the Pakistanis could figure out what had hit them or scramble their fighter aircraft, the intruding MiG-25 – codenamed Foxbat by NATO – was back in Indian airspace.
Details of the missions are classified, so it remains a mystery why the Indian pilot chose to reveal his presence over a heavily populated area of Pakistan. Some sources like Spyflight, a website dedicated to reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft, have speculated that the MiG-25 pilot wanted to show that the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) was India’s bunny.
“The aircraft entered Pakistani airspace subsonically (below the speed of sound) at around 65,000 ft and was undetected,” says Spyflight. “Then having overflown and photographed strategic installations near the capital, Islamabad, the aircraft turned back towards India. Perhaps to rub the Pakistanis’ noses in it, the Foxbat pilot decided to accelerate up to Mach 2 and dropped a large sonic boom as he exited Pakistani airspace. A number of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) F-16As were scrambled, but had insufficient time to make an effective intercept.”
India denied the incident but Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Gohar Ayub Khan, believed that the Foxbat photographed strategic installations near Islamabad. Air Power International says the Pakistan government considered the breaking of the sound barrier as deliberate: to make the point that the PAF had no aircraft in its inventory which could come close to the cruising height of the MiG-25.
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Flying at speeds approaching Mach 3 – 3700 kph – at altitudes ranging from 65,000 to 90,000 ft, the MiG-25s flew faster and higher than anything the enemy had. Flying at the edge of space, the aircraft was virtually undetectable to Pakistan’s radar network. Only the sonic boom and the fact that it was flying at an unusually low level allowed a Pakistani forward operating base to trace the Foxbat and scramble a couple of F-16As from Sargodha air base.
But chasing the Foxbat was pointless. Sources in the PAF told Air Power International there was no need to intercept an aircraft flying at 65,000 feet as the F-16 could climb to an altitude of only 50,000 feet.
Peering across the border
For a 25 year period that stretched from 1981 to 2006, eight MiG-25s of the Trisonics squadron based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, flew unchallenged over Pakistan (and sometimes Tibet), taking countless high definition photographs and radar images of the situation on the ground. Plus, they recorded electronic emissions from Pakistani and Chinese military communication networks. On an average they flew 10-15 missions a month.
The MiG-25 was Russia’s secret weapon against American bombers and therefore was not supplied to even its closest Warsaw Pact allies. However, the defection of the traitor Viktor Belenko in 1976 compromised secrecy and it became available for export. Aviation expert Shiv Aroor quotes former IAF Chief Idris Latif: “I was shocked and delighted to learn that the Soviets were actually offering MiG-25 Foxbats to us in 1980. I phoned up Mrs (Indira) Gandhi and she told me to go ahead and make a decision….The Foxbat was the best in the world and it was made available to us.”
Tough as nails
Although the photographs taken by the Trisonics remain classified, legendary aviation author Yefim Gordon offers a glimpse into the secretive world of these high-performance jets.
The Foxbat R has no defensive armament but relies on its Mach 3 speed and its high operating ceiling to escape any attacker. In 'MiG-25 Foxbat, MiG-31 Foxhound: Russia's Defensive Front Line' Gordon writes: “The MiG-25RB (reconnaissance/strike version) and its versions were popular with their crews due to their exceptional performance: high speed, excellent picture quality, the ability to reconnoitre large areas in a single sortie and low vulnerability to enemy fire.”
The Foxbat spy plane could detect parked aircraft, trains, ships and visualise the condition of bridges and similar structures. The IAF often flew special missions for the Indian Army when it sought intelligence on Pakistani armoured assets. The picture generated by the radar was developed on the ground in a specially equipped van. According to former IAF Wing Commander Alok Chauhan, “These aircraft can map a country the size of Pakistan in a single-digit number of missions….”
7 interesting facts about the MiG-25
The aircraft could stand out in all kinds of weather and never needed cosseting in an air-conditioned hangar. The MiG-25 was extremely easy to maintain and service, demanding less specialised equipment and manpower than similar western aircraft.
Gordon adds: “Arguably the most impressive thing about the MiG-25 was that its extraordinary performance was obtained in a relatively conventional aircraft, one which was simple and cheap enough to be produced in very large numbers and to be exported. Interestingly, the only confirmed Iraqi air-to-air kill of the 1991 Gulf War was scored by a MiG-25, which downed a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet, and MiG-25 reconnaissance aircraft can still operate with impunity over many parts of the world.”
The MiG-25 holds 29 world records, among including the altitude record in an aircraft using jet engines. On August 21, 1977, Russian test pilot Alexander Fedotov climbed to an altitude of 123,523 ft above the Earth.
Flying into the sunset
With India acquiring high resolution remote sensing satellites with the capability to read even the licence plate of a parked army truck, there was no longer a need for reconnaissance aircraft to overfly enemy territory. The MiG-25R began to look like a Cold War weapon.
The other reason was the issue of spare parts from Russia. IAF officers report that the Russians had closed down the plants that made Foxbat parts. They had even got rid of the blueprints. (This isn’t as negligent as it sounds; the Americans destroyed the blueprints of their top secret SR-71 spy plane.) The IAF was, therefore, forced to rely on made in India parts, which carried potential risks in such a high-performance aircraft.
The magnificent Trisonics are gone but hopefully one day the IAF will release the stories of the daredevil missions conducted in these powerful MiGs and the brave men who flew them over Islamabad and Tibet.
while retreating from India, the British destroyed vast numbers of aircraft and defence supplies that legally belonged to India. Leading defence analyst Bharat Karnad informs that the Walchandnagar Aircraft Company (the precursor to Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd) was contracted to build the B-24 Liberator bombers in Bangalore. Most of these aircraft were shipped back to Britain after the war.
But a significant number, which could have constituted an embryonic bomber component of the IAF, was deemed “surplus to the need” and deliberately destroyed by the departing British at the Maintenance Command in Kanpur by hoisting these aircraft, one by one, up by their tails to a considerable height and dropping them nose down on the hard ground.
surinder wrote:But a significant number, which could have constituted an embryonic bomber component of the IAF, was deemed “surplus to the need” and deliberately destroyed by the departing British at the Maintenance Command in Kanpur by hoisting these aircraft, one by one, up by their tails to a considerable height and dropping them nose down on the hard ground.
surinder wrote:Vsunder, funny and interesting post. I looked at the maps. Looks like you lived in Kanpur, either as a kid or as a student. You don't have to answer it.
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