BIG: India Details Make-In-India Fighter Plans


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Trial of nuclear capable Agni-IV missile likely today

A user associate trial of nuclear capable Agni-IV missile is likely to be conducted from a defence base off Odisha coast on Monday. The missile would be test fired from the Abdul Kalam Island test facility. Defence sources said the trial is aimed at revalidating new technologies incorporated in Agni-IV system and checking the readiness of armed forces to launch the missile on its own.While the navigational warning (Navarea warning) has been issued for mariners for the scheduled test, the mission team is working meticulously to achieve success with high accuracy, sources said. Though earlier it was apprehended that the test may be deferred due to logistic issues and late movement of tracking ships, from the issuance of navigational warning, it seems the issues have been sorted out. Defence sources said the intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) would be fired in full operational configuration from a mobile launcher positioned in the launching complex-IV of the test facility. This indigenously developed surface-to-surface nuclear capable missile is the most advanced long-range ballistic missile capable of being launched within minutes from a self-contained road mobile launcher. Having a strike range of around 4,000 km, the two-stage solid propelled missile is 20 metre tall and weighs around 17 tonnes. Compared to the Pershing missile of the US in terms of technology, Agni-IV has many cutting-edge technologies which can meet global standards. The missile can be fired from locations deeper in the Indian hinterland, making it very difficult for the enemy to track and destroy it. The missile also possesses a submarine launch capability. This is sixth test of the missile and second user associate launch. On December 26, India had successfully launched its longest range Agni-V missile which drew attention of many nations including China.

Fractional calculus helps control systems hit their mark

Fractional calculus helps control systems hit their mark

If you’ve ever searched for ways to curb your car’s gas-guzzling appetite, you’ve probably heard that running on cruise control can help reduce your trips to the pump. How? Cars, it turns out, are much better than people at following what control systems experts call a setpoint—in this case, a set speed across varying terrain. Calling upon a branch of mathematics known as fractional calculus, a team of researchers has developed a new setpoint-tracking strategy that can improve the response time and stability of automated systems—and not just those found in your car.

One popular method for tracking setpoints is to use what’s known as a setpoint filter. A setpoint filter helps solve the problem of under- or overshooting a far-away target. Blast furnaces, for example, have to go from to precisely thirteen hundred degrees to infuse iron with carbon to make steel. Some temperature controllers may overshoot as they quickly try to reach that temperature. Adding a setpoint filter smooths the path to make sure the furnace reaches the target temperature without going over. The problem, of course, is that it takes longer to get there. That’s where fractional calculus comes in.

Compared with classical (or integer-order) calculus, which forms the mathematical basis of most , fractional calculus is better equipped to handle the time-dependent effects observed in real-world processes. These include the memory-like behavior of electrical circuits and chemical reactions in batteries. By recasting the design of a setpoint filter as a problem, researchers created a filter that could not only suppress overshooting but also minimize the of a virtual controller

Fractional calculus helps control systems hit their mark

A side-by-side comparison showed that their fractional filter outperformed an integer-order filter, tracking the complex path of a given setpoint more closely.

One drawback of this fractional design is that it’s difficult to incorporate into existing automated systems, unlike integer-order filters, which are generally plug-and-play. But as the world of automation becomes increasingly complex, fractional may ultimately set the new standard for controlling everything from robotics and self-driving cars to medical devices.

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Preparing for air traffic control via satellite

ESA recently completed its first flight trials using satellites to help bring Europe closer to its goal of modernising air traffic control.

The trials are part of the public–private partnership between ESA and UK satellite operator Inmarsat to deliver high-capacity secure digital data links via satellite for air–ground communications for cockpit crews over European airspace under ESA’s Iris Precursor programme.

By 2019, Iris Precursor will provide air–ground communications for initial ‘4D’ flight path control, pinpointing an aircraft in four dimensions: latitude, longitude, altitude and time. This will enable precise tracking of flights and more efficient management of traffic.

An aircraft from the Netherlands Aerospace Centre carried a prototype Iris terminal connected to Inmarsat’s next-generation SwiftBroadband-Safety satellite service as it took off from Amsterdam.

During four flights to different destinations in Europe, the connection between the aircraft and ground networks was tested extensively and air traffic control messages were exchanged. The connection was maintained even when the aircraft switched satellite beams.

Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat’s Vice President of Aviation Safety and Operational Services, said: “As air traffic volume continues to increase, the digitisation of the cockpit is one of the ways to alleviate current congestion on traditional radio frequencies and optimise European airspace.

“Using the power and security of satellite connectivity through Iris clearly changes the game in comparison to the ground technology in use today.”

These flight trials complement a separate test flight by Airbus with Inmarsat and other partners in March this year, providing initial 4D flight path control and data link communication exchanges between the pilot and air traffic control.

At the end of next year, Inmarsat plans a second phase of flight trials to validate the Iris technology.

The next step is to use Iris on commercial flights in a real air traffic management environment.

“ESA’s Iris programme is forging ahead as part of Europe’s long-term goal to modernise air traffic control. A stepped approach and good collaboration between public and private partners is bringing excellent results,” commented Magali Vaissiere, Director of Telecommunications and Integrated Applications at ESA.

Iris is part ESA’s collaboration with the Single European Sky effort of the European Commission, Eurocontrol, airport operators, air navigation providers and aerospace companies in a push to boost efficiency, capacity and performance of air traffic management worldwide.




New Delhi: Indian Navy’s contingent during the 66th Republic Day Celebration at Rajpath in New Delhi on Monday. (File Photo)
The Indian Navy is set to open the doors soon for increased role of women on its rolls but has made it clear that there will be no combat positions yet.

The move comes on the heels of the government announcing last week its decision to induct women as fighter pilots in the Indian Air Force.

The navy will also challenge a recent order of the Delhi High Court which had reprimanded it over the issue of permanent commission for women in the force.

“Except where an aircraft is required to be stationed on the ship overnight, like aircraft carrier, rest of flying areas will be open to the women,” Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today said after his closed-door address at the ongoing Naval Commanders’ Conference here.

He said an announcement is likely to be made to this effect in the next few days.

The navy has mooted a proposal to the Defence Ministry for induction of women as pilots for its fleet of maritime reconnaissance aircraft.

Parrikar stressed that one should not confuse the decision of the navy to open its doors for women with the recent order of the Delhi High Court.

In a major relief for women naval officers, the Delhi High Court had on September 4 allowed a batch of petitions seeking permanent commission for them in the force, saying “sexist bias and service bias” would not be allowed to block progress of women.

The court, while granting their plea, said the “women are here to stay” and since they “work shoulder-to-shoulder” with their male counterparts, it would “frown upon any endeavour to restrain the progress of women”.

Parrikar said that in 2008, the navy had opened its doors in Short Service Commission (SSC) for granting permanent commission to women along with men.

He said that permanent commission for SSC was not an option for men also prior to 2008.

“There is no gender bias…It was equal to both men and women. In 2008, the navy granted SSC to be changed to permanent commission to women in three streams — education, law and naval constructions. The other areas have some logistics and infrastructure problems as those are executive branches.

“And therefore the HC order has 2-3 issues for which we are approaching the Supreme Court because we want to give almost equal status to women in all areas wherever possible, subject to training limitations and logistics and infrastructure capabilities. So we will be approaching the apex court because that judgement is based on the pre-assumption that there was a gender bias, which is not there,” he said.


Boeing chairman James McNerney said on Friday that his company will be happy to make its fighter jet F/A-18 Super Hornet in India if the Indian Air Force (IAF) were to buy it.

McNerney, who met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, believes this to be the best government he has seen in India in 35 years. Enthused, he wants Boeing, the defence and aerospace giant that earned $91 billion in revenues last year, to play a part in taking Indian manufacturing to global standards.

The IAF has a depleted fleet and is looking for a twin-engine fighter aircraft as well as a single-engine one. The F/A-18 is a twin-engine, supersonic, multi-role and all-weather fighter.

“…it is obvious to me there is active interest in more fighters… however it shapes up, Boeing will have a fighter that can meet the requirement. What is different is our commitment to indigenise the manufacture of this fighter,” McNerney, on a quick visit to the country, said in an exclusive interview to HT.

Boeing’s proposal, he said, would involve both a state-of-the-art fighter as well as transfer of a significant amount of the production system to India, which will have a broad-based effect, not just in defence but also in other industries.

Asked if the Boeing chairman was inclined to make the F/A-18 in India, McNerney said: “I think whichever system we offer, Make in India will be an important part of it. If F/A-18 were our offer, a significant Make in India part of the proposal will be there.”

McNerney, basking in the orders just placed by India for two of its helicopter models, Chinook, which is used for heavy lifting, and Apache, an attack aircraft, said Boeing would increasingly use partnerships around the world to make and design in other countries. “In India I see the single biggest opportunity to do that.”

He likes the change in the way the Indian government and bureaucracy respond. “I think what makes Prime Minister Modi special is that he is both a visionary and has his feet firmly on the ground… He understands how hard it is to do the little things as well as how important it is to do the big things.”

McNerney cited the dialogue on the offset obligation as a fine example of the change in the bureaucracy’s approach.
“They have listened to people like us, and made some improvements. There is a dialogue. There never used to be dialogue, there used to be take-it-or-leave-it.”

080329-N-0640K-101 PACIFIC OCEAN (March 29, 2008) An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the "Fighting Redcocks" of Striker Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is conducting composite training unit exercise preparing for an upcoming deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer S. Kimball (Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (March 29, 2008) An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Fighting Redcocks” of Striker Fighter Squadron (VFA) 22, lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is conducting composite training unit exercise preparing for an upcoming deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jennifer S. Kimball (Released)