Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Russian firm offers to reduce operational cost and accident rate in IAF

A leading Russian manufacturer is ready to share with India sophisticated technology for building flight simulators to train military pilots. Their use would help to reduce operational cost and the accident rate in the Indian Air Force.

“We are willing to set up a joint venture in India to produce full flight and other simulators,” said Dmitry Tretyakov, CEO of the Transas group, which produces navigation systems (marine and aviation) and training simulators. The IAF is the fourth-largest in the world, yet it is just beginning to use full flight simulators, which have long become a must in civil aviation. The same is true for Russia, with which the IAF has sourced four-fifths of its aircraft. Transas helps to fill the gap.

The company has supplied helicopter simulators for several pilot training centres in Russia. It has built a full motion simulator complex for Venezuela to operate Mikoyan Mi-17 military transport helicopters it recently purchased from Russia.

India has a large fleet of Mikoyan helicopters, and four years ago, signed a new contract to buy 80 Mi-17IV helicopters.

Aviation simulators help to slash cost on pilot training and save aircraft and lives. “If India had motion-based pilot training simulators it wouldn't have had such a high rate of accidents with its MiG-21 fighters,” said Mr. Tretyakov.The IAF has lost about 300 MiG-21 interceptor planes — around a third of the entire fleet — over the past four decades, many of which were caused by pilot error. New contracts for the purchase of Russia-built warplanes, such as MiG-29K jets, to be deployed on the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, include the supply of simulators. The Transas offer will enable India to join an elite countries capable of manufacturing top-notch full motion flight simulators.

The Transas chief says India's computer programming strength makes it an ideal partner for building flight simulators, as software is a critical component of such trainers. “We are aware that once India musters the simulator-building technology they won't need us anymore, but our partnership will be a force-multiplier for both sides.”

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