By Group Captain Kapil Bhargava (Retd)
In early 1954, Indian Air Force defined its Operational Requirements (OR) anticipating that its adversaries would most likely be China and Pakistan. Intelligence information with Air HQ identified the probability of Pakistan being supplied with fighter aircraft from the US, China and Russia. India would need not only to procure aircraft to meet any threat, but also ensure that long-term air defence needs would be met by large-scale design and manufacture in India.
An elite team was picked to study, test and recommend new aircraft and weapons systems that would fulfil the operational requirements of the next 10-15 years. The team was headed by Air Cdre PC Lal, with members Gp Capt H Moolgavkar, Squadron Leaders Roshan Lal Suri (test pilot), Suranjan Das (test pilot), Srinivasan (Sigs), UK Nair (Armt), K Sarwate (Elec) and Fit. Lt. Jacob Chakko (Tech Eng).
Following IAF’s purchase of hundreds of Ouragans from France, world markets realised that India was a big buyer. She had the necessary foreign exchange reserves, and would not allow her Independence to be compromised by letting the big powers to dictate to her. European countries by then had a healthy respect for the Indian point of view as put out by PM Nehru. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to sell aircraft, guns, ships, tanks and a whole heap of military hardware to India. After all, such sales would boost their own countries’ economic well-being.
Continue reading Why IAF went for the Gnat?
On Friday 21 November, 2008 Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), will be holding a nostalgic celebration for the Golden Jubilee of arrival of the Gnat in Bangalore.
It will begin with a session at HAL’s Dr Ghatage Convention Centre where hopefully some old timers will talk about the aircraft. This will be followed by a lunch hosted by HAL.
In the evening there will be a dinner for guests with wives by invitation.
All pilots and engineers involved with the Gnat in IAF, its manufacture in HAL or designing of Ajeet, would be welcome. If you are willing and able to attend, please plan accordingly. Please also spread the word around, especially to those who do not use computers.
HAL has expressed its inability to help with travel, accommodation or transport. If you wish to attend, please come back to this site in a few days where you can fill up the form for joining the celebrations. You may also need to help with the registration of friends who do not use computers.