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Saturday, April 07, 2012

Indian Light Combat Helicopter [LCH] TD-2 [Photographs]

Group Captain Hari Nair, Test pilot at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] has just shared these bunch of photographs of the second prototype of India's indigenous Light Combat Helicopter [LCH], Technology Demonstrator 2 [TD-2] that is currently under development. Once developed, it would see service with the Indian Air Force [IAF], but more importantly with the Indian Army [IA] in its Army Aviation Corps.
Click on the image to view the larger-sized picture

Famous Indian Scientists [Weekend Reading]

While looking around for my previous post, I learnt that one of the people I mentioned had authored a book about few of the outstanding women Scientists in India. Lilavati's Daughters: The Women Scientists of India is a collection of essays of 100 such Indian Scientists that has been compiled and edited by renowned Physicist Dr. Rohini Godbole along with Ram Ramaswamy. While some of the essays are first person account, the others are in third person. A fine collection of writings.

Indian participation at CERN's particle accelerator facilities [Large Hadron Collider]

The presentation slides, below, give an account of India's on-going engagement & participation in the numerous test facilities being run by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as the CERN. The agency is most famous for constructing & running the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] whose expanse stretches between France & Switzerland.
India, currently holds an observer status at the LHC experiment facility, alongside Russia, Israel, Japan, United States of America & Turkey, & has been contributing both hardware & manpower expertise towards conduct of the experiments.
While the Large Hadron Collider [LHC] experiment initiated by CERN is primarily a European-lead venture, it is to be followed by an even larger particle accelerator facility, the International Liner Collider [ILC] that would be built with a more global participation. Construction work on the ILC is expected to begin in 2020. One of those in the 10-member International Detector Advisory Group that would decide the nature & specifications of the new accelerator is Physicist Dr. Rohini Godbole, a Professor at the Indian Institute of Science [IISc] in Bengaluru [formerly Bangalore]. Nature magazine recently carried an interview with her that covered a wide range of topics, including interesting anecdotes,
"Q . The story about a Japanese scientist bowing to you at the Frankfurt airport is widely known. What was that all about?
A . Oh, this happened very early on in my career when I was returning from a conference in Poland. I had presented a paper on short-lived 'charmed' particles containing charm quarks, which I had co-authored with D. P. Roy of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.
When one is young, one tends to be beset with fundamental doubts: "Am I cut out for this career? Do I have what it takes?" The airport incident, along with similar ones, boosted my confidence. Thanks to such informal recognition, I continued in research."
While reading the full interview would require you to register for free with Nature, the interviewer has herself uploaded a copy of it on her website.
The Large Hadron Collider facility has been constructed with the primary aim of detecting the presence of the Higgs Boson - a sub-atomic particle that has been theorised to impart mass to objects. As evident from the name, the Higgs Boson is a type of a sub-atomic particle called Boson, named in honour of Indian Physicist Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose who first propounded the theory proposing the existence of a type of particle [Boson] that obey the Bose Einstein Condensate [BEC] theory, in the 1920s. It was only in 1995 was such a condensate actually produced, thus proving the theory put forth by Dr. Bose in the 1920s. For providing the proof of BEC, Physicists Dr. Eric Cornell & Dr. Carl Edwin Wieman were awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in the year 2001.
Dr. Satyendra Nath Bose
A wonderful book written about the life of Dr. S.N. Bose - Satyendra Nath Bose
The search for the Higgs Boson was narrowed down recently when a team lead by Scientist of Indian origin, Dr. A. Kotwal put forth the result of his experiment that proposes a new narrower band of energy range at which the Higgs Boson is most likely to be detected.
"Based on the new W boson mass, Kotwal's team has calculated that the Higgs boson mass is roughly 90 GeV, or billion electron volts, with a precision of 30 percent.
"The best way to think of this is to present the upper limit on the Higgs boson mass with 95 percent probability, which means that there is only one 1 in 20 chance of the Higgs being heavier than this upper limit," Kotwal said. The new upper limit is 145 GeV."
Interesting times.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, T-50 PAK-FA design & testing: Updates

The latest issue of Air International magazine has a fine article detailing the testing, development & future roadmap of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA], the T-50 PAK-FA, a Russian venture with Indian involvement. Written by the much respected Piotr Butowski, its filled with important nuggets of information. Paraphrasing the critical ones here.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Vikrant-class Aircraft Carrier under construction in India [Photographs]

Some new photographs of India's first indigenously designed & built Aircraft Carrier, of the Vikrant-class, currently under construction at the Cochin Shipyard Limited, in Kerala. The ship was successfully floated on water for the first time1 in December, last year & work on it continues. It currently weighs around 14,000 tonnes. On completion, it is expected to weigh around 40,000 tonnes, making it the heaviest ship built in India, till now.

Click on the pictures to view higher-resolution images

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Power Generation & Engineering Conference + Exhibition, New Delhi [19-21 April]


Found this in the mailbox today [the physical kind], meaning it could have arrived anytime in the past week. Its an "invitation" to attend a conference cum exhibition being organised for/by the Electric Power Generation industry. The event has been divided into 3 parts,

Friday, March 30, 2012

INS Darshak, Indian Navy Vessel at the South African Navy Festival [Photographs]

The South African Navy festival took place in the town of Simsonstown from the 16th of March to the 18th of March this year. Joining the celebrations was the Indian Navy's Hydrographic survey Ship, the INS Darshak. The vessel has been designed & built within the country at the Goa Shipyard Limited. Perhaps, it was in the neighbourhood, performing surveys for countries like Seychelles & Maldives & other adjoining countries, as stipulated in bi-lateral agreements signed. A Naval version of dropping by your friend's place for a few minutes to say hello, when you're in his neighbourhood on some other business, perhaps.
These are some pictures of the ship, when it arrived in South Africa for the event.

Chetak Helicopters of the Indian Navy in South Africa during IBSAMAR Naval Exercises [Photographs]

The Air wing of the Indian Navy, currently, operates a fleet of around 65 Chetak Helicopters. The Chetak is a variant of the French Aérospatiale Alouette III helicopter that is manufactured in India under license by the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL]. These helicopters are flown by the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force & the Coast Guard. Of the 85-odd Chetaks operated by the Navy since 1961, HAL has manufactured 82 of them in country while 3 were bought directly from France. These choppers are primarily used for Search And Rescue [SAR] missions, along with a secondary role in Anti-Submarine Warfare [ASW] & Electronic Intelligence [ELINT] gathering.


A Naval variant of India's indigenously developed Helicopter, the Dhruv, is being developed to eventually replace this vintage flying machine. Around 120 of them have been planned for manufacturing & induction into the Navy's air wing.

The Chetak Helicopters seen here in these photographs, below, were in South Africa in 2010 to take part in the second edition of the IBSAMAR multi-national Naval Exercises, along with the Navies of Brazil & South Africa. Indian Navy warships that took part in this exercise included,

  • Delhi-Class Guided Missile Destroyer, INS Mysore
  • Talwar-class Frigate, INS Tabar
  • Godavari-class Guided-Missile Frigate, INS Ganga
  • Aditya-Class Replenishment & Repair Ship, INS Aditya.

Click on the images to view a larger-sized version

Indian Navy Warships in South Africa [Photographs]

In the month of May in 2008, Navies of India, South Africa & Brazil got together in the South African coastal town of Simsonstown, to take part what was to be the the first of a continuing series of biennial tri-nation Naval Engagement, known as the India-Brazil-South Africa Maritime [IBSAMAR] exercise. The purpose of this exercise is to improve co-operation, inter-operability & understanding of each other's operations, besides learning & benefitting from the other's experiences.

This Naval exercise is part of a broader aim to enhance co-operation & engagement between the three countries that display a fair degree of parity in socio-economic affairs, and are expected to traverse a congruent trajectory of high economic growth in the future. In effect, becoming comparable players capable of exerting substantial influence on the global stage, subject to them staying on course of the trajectory predicted presently.

Indian Navy Warship, INS Mumbai, in South Africa for the IBSAMAR exercise

India was represented by the Navy's two indigenously designed & built Warships, the Delhi-class guided-missile destroyer, INS Mumbai, built at the country's Mazagon Dock Limited shipyard. The other Indian warship that took part was the Kora-class Corvette, INS Karmuk, built at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers shipyard in West Bengal.

These are some of the pictures showing the two Naval warships photographed during the engagements. Wallpaper material, even if in non-widescreen aspect ratio, they are.

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!