23 August :Despite scorching heat and average tarmac temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius during flying hours, IAF technicians ensured a very high availability of aircraft for all exercise related requirements, during exercise Red Flag at Air Force base, Nevada, USA. The exercise concludes its operations on 23 Aug 08.
During extreme heat conditions there is a tendency of the flying machines to develop snags such as leaks in hydraulic systems, engine oil, gear box etc. The performance of avionics system also becomes erratic as integrated circuits develop problems in extreme heat conditions. However due to proper planning and hard work of IAF technicians, aircraft serviceability was kept high at all times.IAF technicians worked on the tarmac with usual motivation baring extreme heat and dehydrating conditions. Even touching the hot metal surface of the aircraft without proper protection is near impossible.
Appreciating the IAF technicians Col. Corey, Maintenance Commander of USAF base Nellis said "IAF has maintained amazing serviceability rate in a sustained manner during the entire exercise. This is because of in-depth planning, knowledge and focused approach of the maintainers." Wg Cdr JD Kapoor, Senior Engineering Officer of 20 Sqn said that IAF technical practices and systems are comprehensive and well defined and meticulous adherence to these have ensured high tarmac availability that allowed aircrews to perform their missions. He further added "Intelligence and out of the box thinking of the technicians of the unit has earned us praise from all quarters".
The IAF software experts from Bangalore based Software Development Institute (SDI,AF) indigenously developed software patches to make Su30MKI avionics compatible with NATO operational philosophy. This wholly indigenous effort has saved valuable foreign exchange to the Indian exchequer. Wg Cdr JS Gavankar, Software Engineer from SDI presently with the contingent at AF base Nellis explained "The SDI software has made the Su30MKI platform more versatile and compatible with other Air Forces”, the avionics software developed by SDI has reduced the cockpit workload and has assisted in increasing the Pilots situational awareness multifold" said Wg Cdr J Singh, Flt Cdr 20 Sqn.