While the world is cancelling a host of leading shows, India has gone ahead with unmatched conviction and is organising Aero India 2021 with not even a fraction of change or an effect out of COVID-19.

Issue: Aero India 2021 Special By Jayant Baranwal, Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

This issue of Naval Forces is a Special Issue for Aero India 2021 thus the lead article appropriately gives an overview of a ‘Decade of Maritime Air Power’ in which the author explains that it has undergone a historic transition in the decade gone by. There has been fundamental shift in the philosophy of maritime patrol, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare processes and carrier borne fighter operations. Prospects of strengthening anti-submarine rotary wing fleet and increasing surveillance in the Indian Ocean by addition of more long range and Medium Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft, utility and multi-role helicopters, drones and commissioning of the first indigenous aircraft carrier are very encouraging. The author then examines these fundamental shifts in concept and philosophies and concludes that India is well on the way to being a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region in the changing security challenges and construct.

In his annual Navy Day-2020 press conference, CNS, Admiral Karambir Singh said that, “our operations shall revolve around two active Carrier Battle Groups (CBG), necessitating a force level of three Carriers”. In an article on the subject of Carrier Battle Groups (CBG), the author attempts to explain the rationale of the Navy Chief’s statement. The role of the CBG being to threaten or strike hostile elements with air power, carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and land marines if required. The operational importance of aircraft carriers in the projection of maritime power in the Indian Ocean Region cannot be denied. A potent CBG is required - one on West Coast and one on East Coast which will provide immense leverage to guard India’s maritime interests.

Then there is an article for the selection of Multi Role Carrier Borne Fighter (MRCBF). In January 2017, the Navy issued a Request for Information (RFI) for 57 MRCBF. The RFI laid out that the “The MRCBF are intended as day and night capable, all weather multi-role deck based combat aircraft”. The article gives you an insight into the front runner fighters for India’s present and future aircraft carriers.

In this issue, there is also an article is on the implications of modernisation where the author propounds that history is replete with examples of how every military ‘modernisation’ was rendered obsolete by counters/anti that sprouted. Examples abound of ‘modern’ militaries biting the dust in the face of superior leadership, doctrines, tactics, brains, deceit, peculiarities of terrain, or even simple luck. It is a de-novo approach to modernisation and capacity building, and worth a read.

There are other articles like on aerial platforms as hunter of submarines; rotary wing UAVs for the Navy; stealth submarine project and so on which give you readers an insight of all the happenings in the Navy.

We as usual wind up this issue with the News Digest and Flag Postings. I hope that you discerning readers will enjoy reading this special issue. If you are in Bengaluru do meet us at Aero India 2021, Hall-E, Stall: E-4.6.