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Building the LCA Tejas Mark 2 prototype could take longer than expected.

As per a recent report by Janes Intel, India’s Tejas MkII program has hit a roadblock despite receiving clearance from the Indian Ministry of Defense’s (MOD) Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). This is because one of the conditions set by the MOD was that GE would have to provide a transfer of technology (ToT) for its GE F414 engine to the program, after which the funds would be released.

LCA Tejas Mark 2 is constrained by problems with engine choices. The government is delaying the release of funds for prototype development. The GE response to the TOT condition is anticipated by the HAL project team. But unfortunately, no interest has been shown in it by the United States.

Tejas Mark 2 is been approved for manufacturing : GOI(Opens in a new browser tab)

This delay in the release of funds, which has now stretched beyond a year, could have significant repercussions for the program’s timeline. The program is now facing the possibility of further delays in the rollout of the prototype and the first flight.

Given the complexity of modern fighter aircraft, engine technology is a crucial element that cannot be compromised. Therefore, it is crucial for the Indian MOD to provide the necessary funds for the program, so that the ToT can be obtained from GE, and the Tejas MkII can progress as planned. The success of this program is essential for India’s defense preparedness and technological advancements in the field of aerospace.

India plans to build HAL Tejas fighter jet manufacturing line in Egypt.(Opens in a new browser tab)

HAL plans to roll out a prototype by September 2025, exactly 36 months from the CCS clearance, and the first flight is scheduled for 2026.

There are plans for three additional prototypes of the LCA Mk-2 fighter, which will be rolled out with an eight-month gap between each. The project team announced that four prototypes would be used for complete flight testing and weapon testing, with testing concluding by the end of 2027 so that production could begin in 2028.

However, according to sources familiar with recent developments, the timeline for the LCA Mk2 aircraft entering production is likely to be pushed further to 2030 onwards. Two years is too short of a duration to complete both flight testing and weapon testing, as the first two years may be required solely to obtain initial flight certification for the aircraft. Even with basic weapons clearance, weapon testing will take two or more years.

By 2028, India’s AMCA fifth-generation fighter jet prototype may fly.(Opens in a new browser tab)

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is aware of unrealistic production timelines often given by ADA/DRDO officials. Consequently, the IAF is considering purchasing 50 more Tejas Mk1A aircraft that will extend the production line until at least 2030.

The IAF has identified the LCA Mk2 as a crucial component that will eventually fill a critical gap in the fighter squadrons of the Indian Air Force as the MiG-29, Mirage 2000, and Jaguar fleets retire over the next decade.

Asia

Singapore Airlines emergency landing after severe turbulence

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 Aircraft lands at Singapore Changi Airport (Incident aircraft not pictured)

One passenger passed on, while dozens of passengers were injured when a Singapore Airlines Boeing B777-300ER aircraft experienced severe turbulence while en route to Singapore from London Heathrow Airport. The aircraft diverted to Bangkok, and landed at 3:45pm Local time on 21 May 2024 

The flight landed with 211 Passengers and 11 Crew members at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport. According to the Airport Director Kittipong Kittikachorn at a news conference, there were 7 passengers who suffered serious injuries, while a number of other passengers suffered injuries of varying seriousness.

It was also confirmed that the passenger who passed on was a 73 year old British Man. In a statement from Singapore Airlines ‘ As of 0505 hours Singapore Time on 22 May 2024, 79 passengers and 6 crew members from SQ321 remain in Bangkok’. In another statement, it was reported that a relief flight with 143 passengers and crew members arrived in Singapore at 0505 hours Singapore time on 22 May 2024.

According to aircraft tracking site FlightRadar24, the 16 Year Old Boeing B777-300ER aircraft descended sharply from 37,000 feet to 31,000 feet in a short time. It was also further reported by FlightRadar24 that the descent was commanded by Autopilot, instead of being caused by turbulence.

Shortly afterwards, the pilot declared an emergency by squeaking 7700 on the transponder, indicating an emergency situation onboard the aircraft. The Boeing 777 aircraft then diverted to Bangkok, instead of continuing on its planned journey to Singapore. 

In view of this incident, Singapore Airlines mentioned in a statement that they are working with the relevant authorities on the investigation into this incident.

The National Transportation Safety Board, a US Government investigative agency for civil aviation incidents, is sending an accredited representative and 4 technical advisors to support the investigation by Singapore’s Transport Safety Investigation Bureau (TSIB). TSIB mentioned in a statement that it ‘is in touch with its Thai counterparts and will be deploying investigators to Bangkok’. 

Boeing, the manufacturer of the Boeing B777 aircraft mentioned in a statement that they are in contact with Singapore Airlines regarding the ill-fated flight, and ‘stand ready to support them’. 

This situation is developing, more details will be added when they become available. 

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Aerospace

Comac is set to fly to five Southeast Asian countries for a C919 and ARJ21 demonstration tour

Comac Eyes Saudi Arabian Market to Challenge Western Aircraft Giants

Following the successful debut of the COMAC aircraft at the Singapore Airshow 2024, the company has secured new branding rights for its products in the Southeast Asian aviation market. According to sources, the airline is directing its aircraft displays to Malaysia.

A static display and demonstration flight featuring the China-manufactured commercial aircraft C919 and ARJ21 were held on Wednesday at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Malaysia’s Selangor state.

The event showcased the brand-new C919 and ARJ21 aircraft, both quietly competing in the narrow-body segment market and slightly challenging the Boeing 737 and A320 family aircraft. The ARJ is tailored for regional airports with shorter routes.

C919 and ARJ21’s five-country tour.

This event concluded the C919 and ARJ21’s five-country Southeast Asian demonstration flight tour, which included visits to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

COMAC is actively seeking an international market alongside China. Currently, the company has amassed over 1100 aircraft orders for the COMAC C919 aircraft.

Throughout the demonstration flights and static displays, the aircraft manufacturer Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, Ltd. (COMAC) conducted a series of product promotion activities targeting potential customers.

Furthermore, the company aims to expand its airline network in these countries by obtaining regular licenses from their respective national aerospace authorities.

The purpose of the tour was to evaluate the aircraft’s adaptability to various airports and routes in the five countries, assess the ground service equipment’s suitability, test special flight procedures’ feasibility, and highlight the economic viability of these routes. COMAC stated that demonstration flights would lay the groundwork for future market development in Southeast Asia.

ARJ21 can carry 97 seats and C919- 192 seats.

The ARJ21 regional aircraft is designed to accommodate 78-97 passengers with a flight range of 2,225-3,700 kilometers. Meanwhile, the C919 jetliner offers a layout for 158-192 seats and a range of 4,075-5,555 kilometers, as per the company’s specifications.

The C919 completed its maiden commercial flight on May 28, 2023. Since then, China Eastern Airlines, its inaugural customer, has received five C919 aircraft, operating round-trip flights on Shanghai-Beijing and Shanghai-Chengdu routes. COMAC reports that it has safely transported over 140,000 passengers to date.

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Aerospace

Air India’s first A350 will be showcased at Wings India 2024. Hyderabad

Air India's first A350 will be showcased at Wings India 2024. Hyderabad

Wings India 2024, is a collaborative effort of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). It is anticipated to emerge as the largest civil aviation event in Asia, encompassing commercial, general, and business aviation.

Major companies to participate at Wings India

Scheduled to take place from January 18 to 21, 2024, in Hyderabad, Wings India 2024 is gearing up with active participation from leading entities such as Airbus, Boeing, HAL, Air India, GMR Aero, and Indigo..

The event is set to be a comprehensive showcase in the Civil Aviation Industry calendar, featuring the Inaugural Ceremony, Global Ministerial Conference, Global CEOs’ Forum, B2B/B2G Meetings, Awards Ceremony, Cultural Evening, and Business Networking Dinner. The program also includes an Exhibition, Chalets, Demonstration Flights, Static displays, Media Conferences, One-to-One Business Meetings, and more.

Wings India 2024 will exhibit a range of aerospace products, including Air Balloons, Business Aircraft, Cargo Aircraft, Commercial Aircraft, Helicopters, Motor Gliders, and Regional Aircraft.

Aligned with the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister to fulfill the common man’s flying aspirations and building on the success of the previous edition, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India, Airport Authority of India (AAI), and FICCI are jointly organizing ‘WINGS INDIA 2024’ from January 18 to 21, 2024, at Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad, India.

Air India A350 to be displayed at Wings India

Air India’s recently acquired A350, which arrived on December 23, is set to be featured at Wings India 2024. This aircraft, initially presented at the same event last year for marketing purposes to the TATA company, will now be showcased with a new livery. The display will also include Boeing’s popular 737 MAX aircraft featuring Air India’s new branding.

In a recent communication to employees, it was announced that Air India will present two of its new planes at the Hyderabad WINGS festival in January.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, in collaboration with FICCI, hosts the bi-annual WINGS India Aviation Show, a significant aviation event in Hyderabad.

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