When you pull your suitcase off the baggage carousel, you cannot see those who took care of it. They sort out a tremendous amount of bags and packs every day.
They drive tugs or pushback tractors, performing aircraft towings, and push-backs thanks to a tow bar. They load bulk cargo, and passenger baggage thanks to belt loaders, and they load ULD (Unit Load Device) pallets as well.
Maybe you wonder who these people are. Let us listen to one of these ramp agents also called “Fleet service clerks“; “Fleet service agents“; or “Baggage handlers“.
The Indian Air Force Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) should be a European fighter jet. India shortlisted the Eurofighter Typhoon and the French Rafale for a $12 billion fighter jet deal. 126 fighter aircraft are to be ordered! As controversial rumours have spread for months through the Internet and the Indian channels, nobody could be certain of the sort of decision that could be made. For instance, remember this idea of purchasing two different combat aircraft that was issued a few months ago. Then, the news came right out of the blue yesterday April 28, 2011. Indeed the American, Russian, and Swedish jetfighters have been discarded.
According to the video hereafter,
The high-flying American campaign to win the $10 billion multirole combat aircraft tender has crashed.
The Indian Defence Ministry confirmed that the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the latest F-16IN were out of the race. Neither of these U.S. fighters would have met the Indian Air Force’s technical requirements during the trials that were also submitted to the JAS-39 Gripen; the MiG-35; the Rafale; and the Typhoon.
One may wonder why the Gripen was not selected in this competition. Well, this excellent aircraft is not equipped with any arrestor hook, and that is probably why it has not been kept in the race for this tender.
It is important to notice that the Rafale purchase is a rather expensive option. However, it should also be noted that, in spite of the modest political clout of France in India, as well as its price tag – $90 million – the Dassault Rafale remains in the final competition. A transfer-of-technology amendment might be added to the contract.
As the Super Hornet and the Super Viper have been rejected, this is a deep disapointment for Lockheed Martin; McDonnell Douglas; Boeing; General Dynamics; as well as a real watershed in the geopolitical approach in Asia.
The Indian DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation) is getting through a major crisis – following a nose-wheel landing performed by an Indian pilot last January, investigators have found out a string of fraudulent grade sheets since late 2010.
Twenty-nine pilots have been arrested, and twelve other pilots have been held under arrest. However, the vast majority of the Indian pilots – around 8,000 – are deemed to be genuine pilots i.e. officially certified.