Coming Soon
It's been a while, but as they say, better late than never. We finally made some time to redesign our blog and soon we will have our own independent website. The blog helped us reach a huge audience and generate a lot of interest in this area. As a result, the format and (utility) of the blog seems overwhelmed, hence the transittion to the dedicated site. The URL for the new site and content will be disclosed soon. Till then, enjoy the blog and continue to contribute to our posts.
Airing new opportunities
The biannual Aero India 2005 exhibition and air show starting on February 9 will probably go down in Indian aviation history as a landmark for a number of reasons. Exhibition space is over-subscribed in spite of additional space having been created in anticipation. American defence and aviation industry giants (who had declined to go to the prestigious Paris air show 18 months ago) will be present, bringing their top-of-the-line aircraft and equipment like the F-15 multi-role combat aircraft that has proved itself in numerous wars.

The US National Intelligence Council has recently pointed out the ongoing changes due to the rise of China and India (soon to be the world’s second and third largest economies in Purchasing Power Parity terms) and the challenges and opportunities this would imply. And hence the imperatives of deeper engagement with the West. One of the signs of the shift from West to East is the greater salience of defence exhibitions and aviation industry shows in Asia, from Singapore to Dubai and Islamabad, where Bangalore stands out well into the sky, because there is a growing market for civil and military aviation systems.

No wonder the US government has already approved export licence to India of systems like the Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter, capable of delivering two tons of payload to our posts at 20,000-ft in Siachen. Companies like Boeing incidentally are extensively involved in designing and producing systems that go to provide network-centric warfare capabilities with tremendous opportunities for collaboration with India with its unmatched strength in information technology. Similarly Northrop hopes to market its E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft in India and the Indian Navy could vastly extend its early warning reach at a fraction of the costs of the aircraft carrier-MiG 29K system.

At the same time, our civil aviation sector is expanding rapidly. Passenger air traffic is expected to grow annually at 20 per cent to reach 50 million by 2010. Both private and public sector airlines are into aircraft acquisition with a vengeance and are likely to buy or lease nearly 300 airliners in the next five years at an estimated cost of around Rs 45,000 crore. At least Rs 40,000 crore would be needed for infrastructure, which is already a weak spot. In other words, investments in civil aviation would average Rs 17,000 crore per year! A bulk of this would have to come from abroad with foreign investment in civil aviation having been raised to 49 per cent. This would also open up a huge market for spares and product support for decades to come.

Our interests clearly demand that all this investment should include maximum manufacturing (not to talk of design and development) capacity being established in the country. With only two aviation majors Boeing and Airbus in the business, our leverages are obviously enormous.

Concurrently Indian Air Force needs nearly 150 combat aircraft urgently (not to talk of modernisation in other areas). Costs have shot up for a variety of reasons and each new aircraft manufactured even in the country would cost nearly Rs 200 crore to replace what had cost a couple of crores two decades ago. Similarly the Army and the Navy require a lot of aviation assets to remain a modern fighting force. It would be short-sighted to simply seek technology transfer for production of the contracted number of aircraft and not press for off-sets production and export of sub-systems, components and assemblies. The inevitable high costs of defence would then be partially ameliorated by boosting industrial growth in the country.

The question that arises is: who is looking at the total (civil and military) aviation landscape for the future in India? Traditional approach guided more by turf than a broader vision, with each owner of a segment of the total picture unconscious, unwilling or incapable of thinking of a coordinated and integrated ‘‘national’’ approach has to change. This requires a holistic approach, and since it involves complex areas, high costs, more than 18 departments and agencies of the Central Government (besides state governments, the private and public sector etc), this task is best carried out under the NSC (National Security Council).

At the same time, the establishment of a National Aeronautics Commission is long overdue. The shear scale of investments in the civil and military aviation and aeronautics demands that we set up at the earliest at least a national committee to synergise various aspects of needs, tasks and resources to leverage national aviation/aeronautics development at a faster rate in every aspect. This in turn would also enhance opportunities for employment in the country, especially for an expanding professional workforce, with long-term benefits for development.


Posted by Jehangir Unwalla @ 7:45 AM


The global defense industry is constantly shaping how borders are protected, wars are fought, terrorists are tracked and caught, and global security maintained. We aim to track news, policy, military exercises and strategic affairs between the world's largest democracies - India and the United States.

Given the vast interest and passion we have in this field, we decided to launch this blog to give visitors the ability to track these developments, exchange ideas and link to other sources of Information. Our primary sources and links can be found on the main page. Some of the pieces published herein our ours, otherwise it is reproduced from other sources (news, think-tanks or publications) to provide our readers the ability to interact and respond. The link to the original source can always be found under the article. Articles and op-ed pieces written by us include thoughts and opinions that are ours, not those of any government or political party. Last but not least, this blog is not-for-profit, nor is it financially supported by any corporation, entity or organization. It is purely to be used for informational purposes and not commercial and/or profit motives.

Thank you, Nik Khanna & Jango Unwalla

About The Blog
This blog focuses on current issues concerning defense and national security for the world's largest democracy - India. It is updated regularly providing readers with in-depth information on technology transfer, acquisitions, counter-terrorism, security and military collaboration and strategic dialogue between India and the United States. The site includes links to top defense policy & research institutes, think-tanks, military sites and research organizations.
Cooperative Cope Thunder
Nikhil and Jehangir wrote an exhaustive article about the Cooperative Cope Thunder joint event. Their article was publihed in Vayu magazine. Click on the link below to read the in-depth article with amazing pictures courtesy of mark Farmer at
Guard members are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
If you're looking for a way to serve your community and country while maintaining your full-time civilian career, the National Guard is for you. Click below to learn more about the proud history of the Army National Guard.
Copyright © USIndiadefense, 2006.
All Rights Reserved