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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Futuristic Technologies at DARPA - Regina Dugan at TED [Video]

TED, the other day, released this talk given by then DARPA Director, Regina Dugan. She spoke about some futuristic scientific research programmes & technology developments being overseen by DARPA. Very interesting.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

India’s Nuclear history - initial years [collection of of documents]

A fine collection of documents have been made public recently by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses [IDSA]. These papers give one a rare & unique insight into the thinking, thought processes, challenges & other aspects of any ambitious venture that India had to overcome in the early years of its Nuclear programme. A treasure trove, particularly for a historian specialising in the history of Nuclear Science, & anybody with interest in India's programme, in general.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 - Free Download copy

Microsoft Press has published a new book title, 'Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012', coinciding with the launch of the latest version of the software, expected to be made widely available from April 1, this year. Costing nearly $15 USD [~Rs. 750 INR], the book can be purchased from the O'Reilly Store. A book about a Microsoft product being published by Microsoft itself - an endorsement of its pedigree can't get bigger than this, can it?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Innovations in Military Operations [Indian Air Force]

This article appeared in the latest issue of 'Bulletin', a newsletter published by the Bengaluru [formerly Bangalore] branch of the Institute of Defence Scientists & Technologists [IDST]. URLs not part of the original text.

Innovations cleverly adopted during military operations make a difference between winning a war and losing it! Indian Air Force demonstrated it during the 1971 war. IAF converted 10 of its Antonov An-12 transports into 'bombers' with specially designed bomb crates to carry 6,000lb of bombs that could be delivered using the conveyer belt in the cargo cabin. Over a 15-day period, the bombers successfully attacked ammunition and supply dumps; damaged military installations; bombed an ordnance factory and a railway marshalling yard; and destroyed a gas plant and an airfield. The bombers emerged safe and victorious after crippling the adversary's war machinery though they had been sprayed with anti-aircraft shells. The pay-off from this clever adaptation was, indeed, remarkable.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ukrainian hardware on India's Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircrafts

The document, below, lists out the numerous hardware sub-systems for the Indian Air Force's [IAF] Russian-origin Sukhoi Su-30 MKI aircraft that must/could be sourced from Ukraine. Such a situation arose as a result of the fallout of breakup of erstwhile Soviet Union that endowed the newly created Ukraine with a robust military industrial infrastructure within its territory that was setup during the Soviet period.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Indian Air Force Calendar 2012 [Download]

This beauty arrived on Thursday, sometime in the late morning/afternoon. Could easily have been the best thing that happened to me this month, had it not been for a brief visit from my cousin's family. Pole position snatched by them. Still, this calendar very easily comes a close second.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Low-cost 3G Internet plan from Airtel [Save Money on Data transfer]

Airtel, at my place, charges Rs. 750 INR [~$ 15 USD]1 for 4 GB of data transfer over the 3G network, using my handset, that I must use up in 1 month. This comes out to around Rs. 187.5 [~$3.76] per GB. Yesterday, instead of going to the quasi-official 'Airtel Relationship Centre' to recharge my pre-paid account balance, I dropped in by this hole-in-the-wall kind of outlet on the way for my nightly run. In addition to my voice call recharge, I also asked to recharge my Internet account balance. There, the attendant suggested me this wonderful data plan that has brought down my 3G tariff rate to just around Rs. 83 [~$ 1.67] per GB, a 125% reduction in my monthly Internet bill!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Indian Navy's Kilo-Class Submarine, INS Sindhuvijay [Photographs] [UPDATED: 2012.07.23]

The Indian Navy operates a fleet of 10 Kilo-class diesel-powered submarines of Russian-origin. In India they're are referred to as the Sindhughosh-class submarines. The first such submarine, also named INS Sindhughosh, was inducted into the Indian Navy's fleet in the mid-1980s, while the last Kilo-Class, INS Sindhushastra, began its service with the Navy in 2000. In the meanwhile, these submarines were also put through a refit & upgrade programme that was carried out at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Russia, with one submarine, INS Sindhukirti, currently undergoing a much-delayed refit at India's own Hindustan Shipyard Ltd.

This hi-res photograph shows the Navy's INS Sindhuvijay [S62] placed on the dry dock at the Russian shipyard during its refit process.

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Indian Air Force in Wars - Air Commodore Jasjit Singh, Indian Air force [IAF]

This extensive & detailed write-up appeared in the Air Power Review Journal published by UK's Centre for Air Power Studies. Reproducing it here for the sake of ease of access & readability.

This article is a review of the part played by the Indian Air Force (IAF) in, and the background to, conflicts across the sub-continent (mainly post-independence). It is written from an Indian viewpoint. The early history of the IAF started with its formation in 1932 and continued through to its contribution to the Second World War supporting Slim's 14th Army. On Indian independence the Air Force was restructured and supported land operations in the aftermath. Lack of an accurate intelligence picture preceding the Sino-Indian War 1962 led to significant logistics problems for the Indian Army and subsequently to a large proportion of IAF effort being directed to air transport at the cost of the deployment of combat air power. The War for Kashmir 1965 saw the use of Mystere and Vampire aircraft in anti-armour and ­ infantry sorties, with air superiority being sought by dominating the skies rather than attacking airfields. India and Pakistan again went to war in 1971 with India initially operating to limited objectives set prior to the opening of hostilities. The IAF flew more combat sorties compared to their opponents but both air forces lost similar numbers of aircraft. In 1999, in Kashmir, the IAF provided high-altitude helicopter and tactical airlift logistics and communication support, with Canberra, Mig and Mirage providing recce and close air support. The IAF is modernising with 40% of its combat force being 4th generation aircraft and has set its sights on becoming a strategic force.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

India's Upgraded MiG-29 Aircraft, the MiG-29UPG - first video

This, AFAIK, is the first video to have emerged, showing the upgraded MiG-29 fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force [IAF], now christened MiG-29UPG, in flight. This clip, released yesterday, was shot at the MAKS 2011 airshow held last year in Russia, where the aircraft was displayed.

Flight testing the Rafale - UK Test pilot's perspective

Dassault Rafale Fighter Aircraft - Winner of India's Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft [MMRCA] acquisition program
The recent decision to pick the French-built Rafale 'Omni-role' fighter aircraft as the winner of India's long-running Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft [MMRCA] competition is a potential game-changer as far as pilot-role & data handling, relevant to the mission at hand is concerned. This wonderful account of a flight undertaken by a British test pilot, clearly illustrates the aircraft's strong points & unique capabilities as well as the underlying design considerations of some of the system.

Monday, March 05, 2012

T-50 PAK-FA fighter aircraft in Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters [CG imagery]

This computer-generated image of the Indo-Russian fifth generation fighter aircraft, the T-50 PAK-FA was created as part of a new installment of the Jane's Combat Simulations series. Named JASF: Jane's Advanced Strike Fighters, the multi-platform flight simulation game is set for a release worldwide, this month.
Click on the thumbnail to view a larger-sized image
Whats with the dhin-chaak camo on the aircrafts? You get the physics as close to the real thing, but apply a decal, that would make it an easy target for a half-blind conscript manning an ack-ack from beyond the range of the ack-ack itself. Not very smart.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Indian Air Force recruitment poster - Sukhoi Su-30 MKI formation [Kickassery unlimited]

This ad poster seeking recruitment into the Indian Air Force appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Digit magazine. I would occasionally Google the interwebs in search of an online copy of this. Not to be found anywhere. Shot this with my Xperia Active handset's camera. Didn't manage to click it any better.

Click on the picture to view the larger-sized image

India Air Force [IAF] Recruitment Poster - A Pair of Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters flying in formation

If an online version of this exists, do share the link here.

Indian Air Force Official Website

Indian Air Force Recruitment Website

Indian Air Force on Wikipedia


Related: Sukhoi Su-30 MK-1/K aircraft variants flown by the Indian Air Force [photographs]

Indian Air Force flies into US & UK in their Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters [Wallpaper-material Hi-Res]

Indian Air Force Sukhoi Su-30 MKI wallpapers

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Indian understanding of China [collection of writings]

Found this collection of writings today. This person subscribed to my YouTube account & I got a notification, informing me so, along with the URL of the subscriber. Listed on his profile page was a link to this body of writings - Across The Himalayan Gap - An Indian Quest for Understanding China.

Having just learnt about it, managed to casually browse through it. The writings cover a broad aspect of China - social, cultural, historical, political, as well as personal experiences.

Would be an interesting undertaking to read it.

credit: Shiv Kumar Batalavi


Related: India moves resolution supporting People's Republic of China's admission into the United Nations [U.N.]

China's stealth aircraft Chengdu J-20: What are they saying

Friday, March 02, 2012

Indian Air Force Jaguar Fighter Aircraft Performing Mid-Air Refueling

Indian Air Force [IAF] Jaguar Fighter Aircraft perform Mid-Air Refuelling using its In-Flight Refuelling [IFR] probe
A small collection of pictures showing the Indian Air Force's [IAF] SEPECAT Jaguar fighter aircraft perform aerial refueling. These photographs were taken in 2004, when the IAF were on their way to the United States to take part in the Cope Thunder 2004 military exercise.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

India's indigenous Nuclear Technology & International sanctions

"I found that whereas sanctions slowed progress in nuclear energy, they made India self-sufficient and world leaders in fast reactor technologies. While much of the world’s approach to India has been to limit its access to nuclear technology, it may well be that today we limit ourselves by not having access to India’s nuclear technology developments. Such technical views should help to advice the diplomatic efforts with India."
This quote acknowledging the advancements made by India, in its indigenous programmes to develop technologies for harnessing Nuclear Energy for civilian needs, has been attributed to Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker, PhD. He was the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. He made this observation  while testifying before an U.S. Senate Committee in 20081.

I came across this quote while going through the presentation slides used by Dr. Anil Kakodar, then Chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, while delivering a lecture at the Indian Academy of Science. Titled, 'Evolving Indian Nuclear Programme: Rationale and Perspectives', it puts in context development & adoption of Nuclear energy by India, including its Fast Breeder Reactor programme, against the backdrop of India's burgeoning energy requirement.
Especially interesting is the projection made in the following slide. As seen, it estimates that if India were to begin setting up Light Water Reactors [LWR] capable of generating up to 40 GWe of electricity by the end of this decade, its spent fuel could then be reprocessed & reused for energy generation in the indigenously developed Fast Breeder Reactors [FBR].
If done within the timeframe stated, then by 2050, India would have a miniscule amount of energy deficit. What little remains could then, perhaps, be fulfilled using alternate sources of energy. Polluting Hydrocarbon consumption, while showing marginal increase [expected when one factors in increasing population], would mostly be restricted to use in transport vehicles [slide 5]. However, any delays in implementing the construction, would widen the 2050 deficit, forcing India to additionally import coal to meet its energy requirements, that would further exacerbate the environmental situation.
On the other hand, a hypothetical scenario, that sees India totally shunning import of such Nuclear Reactors [LWR], as are the kinds India seeks to import & install, & whose setting up activists are opposing, would raise India's coal import requirement to an unsustainable level [below].
India's successes in developing the necessary Nuclear Technology for the civilian domain despite, or rather due to, the International sanctions, in place since 1974, can be credited in great parts to the visionary endeavours of Dr. Homi J. Bhabha. It, perhaps, helped that he enjoyed the confidence of & unrestricted access to then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in the early years of the programme. Making full use of the free hand given to him by the Prime minister, he went about putting in place an organisational infrastructure in the country that could competently carry out the necessary work & effort needed to realise India's goals of ensuring energy security through self-sufficiency. Towards this goals, it was he who put forth the idea of circumventing India's scarcity of Uranium [fissile or even non-fissile isotopes], by breeding it from Thorium, abundantly available in the country. Thus, India today is one of the leading countries working towards the development of a sustainable & economical nuclear Reactor running on the Thorium cycle.
1 - Dr. Hecker was in the news last year for reporting about his visit to North Korea where he discovered that the North Koreans had built a new & advanced Uranium enrichment facility at its Yongbyon Nuclear Complex - North Korea's Yongbyon Nuclear Complex: A Report by Siegfried S. Hecker
Related: Understanding Nuclear Energy and Technology [suggested weekend reading]