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IAF may order 70 basic trainers made by HAL

Written by Thursday, 28 September 2017 08:47

The HTT-40 is currently undergoing a string of elaborate tests at HAL to demonstrate that it is safe for rookie pilots and meets IAF’s exacting standards for trainer planes. Test pilots have wrapped up intensive flight tests but some brutal trials are yet to be conducted, said a second official.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) plans to start the official process within three months for the possible purchase of 70 locally produced basic trainers from state-owned aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), three senior IAF officers said on condition of anonymity.

IAF is set to send a request for proposal (RFP) to HAL for the indigenous Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 (HTT-40) before the end of the year, they added.

“The HTT-40 has entered the final stages of rigourous testing. The air force is optimistic that the trainer will meet its requirements. If all goes well, the RFP will be out by the year-end,” said one of the officials cited above who asked not to be named.

The HTT-40 is currently undergoing a string of elaborate tests at HAL to demonstrate that it is safe for rookie pilots and meets IAF’s exacting standards for trainer planes. Test pilots have wrapped up intensive flight tests but some brutal trials are yet to be conducted, said a second official.

A few days ago, the aircraft successfully completed the six-turn spin (towards the right), recovering from an uncontrolled flight using conventional methods. “The next stage of trials will be critical as it involves testing the HTT-40’s spin behaviour in the left direction, which is far more complicated,” the second official said.

If the remaining tests go smoothly, HAL could begin production by early 2021, said a third official tracking the air force’s modernisation drive. IAF, however, is clear that it does not want a piecemeal delivery of the basic trainers. “We don’t want HAL to deliver the aircraft in ones and twos as that will not meet our training requirements. We would need at least 20 planes to begin training. According to our estimates, it will take HAL around four years to deliver that number,” the third official added.

To facilitate the release of the RFP this year, IAF plans to seek a fresh Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) from the defence acquisition council to pursue the HTT-40 purchase under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 instead of DPP-2008, which currently covers it. “That’s important because under DPP-2008, user trials have to be conducted before the RFP is issued. However, the provisions of DPP-2016 allow the RFP to come before the user trials,” said the second official cited above.

The upcoming RFP may also allow HAL to release around $25 million to upgrade the Honeywell TPE331-12B turboprop engine that powers the basic trainer to extract maximum performance from the aircraft, said the first official. HAL was reluctant to spend on the upgrade unless the order came through.

Rookie pilots in IAF go through a three-stage training involving the Pilatus PC-7 MkII planes, Kiran trainers and finally the Hawk advanced jet trainers before they can fly fighter jets. As the Kirans are approaching the end of their service life, some amount of Stage 2 training is being done on the PC-7.

The defence ministry in July suspended business dealings with Pilatus Aircraft Limited for one year for violation of a pre-contract integrity pact in a ~2,900-crore contract for 75 basic trainers, and also factoring in ongoing Indian investigations against the Swiss plane maker for alleged corruption and irregularities.

The contract included a follow-on purchase of 38 more planes, but the ban means IAF can’t invoke the clause. The order for additional planes could be sourced from HAL, said a fourth IAF official. Experts welcomed IAF’s decision to take the HTT-40 purchase forward. “It’s a big thumps up to indigenisation and the RFP is an indicator that the locally made trainer will meet IAF’s requirements. It is now up to HAL to meet the timelines and provide adequate technical support. It has been found wanting in some of those aspects in the past,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies. Source : ht

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The LROC team will compare the images taken on September 17 with previous ones of the site taken by it to see if the lander is visible. The results of the flyover will be made public after validation, analysis, and review.

Even as Indians pinned their hopes on NASA for getting one more glimpse of the Vikram lander before the lunar night begins, the US space agency has said that the lander may not have been in the field of view of the camera on-board its orbiter.

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been orbiting the moon for 10 years, passed over the Vikram landing site on Tuesday. “The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) acquired images around the targeted landing site, but the exact location of the lander was not known so the lander may not be in the camera field of view,” said Joshua A Handal, public affairs officer, planetary science division, NASA, in an email.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lost contact with the lander of the country’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2, minutes before touchdown on the moon on September 7.

The LROC team will compare the images taken on September 17 with previous ones of the site taken by it to see if the lander is visible. The results of the flyover will be made public after validation, analysis, and review.

Currently, it is the lunar dusk at the site where Vikram was supposed to make a soft-landing on September 7. This means the sun is lower in the horizon with relief features casting long shadows.

“LRO flew over the area of the Vikram landing site on Sept. 17 when the local lunar time was near dusk; large shadows covered much of the area... It [the lander] may be in the shadow...,” Handal said.

Experts agree that the chances of the LRO spotting the lander during the current flyover are small. “It will be difficult to find the lander during the current flyover as the angle of the sun will be low. And, if the lander is close to any relief feature, then the lander will get hidden in its shadow. The LRO will have better chances of getting a good image of the lander during its next flyover,” said Jatan Mehta, a former science officer with TeamIndus, a Bengaluru-based private company that aims to send a lander-rover to the moon.

The NASA orbiter will fly over the landing site again on October 14, which would be close to lunar noon and the lighting conditions would be favourable for getting better images.

“LRO will next fly over the landing site on October 14 when lighting conditions will be more favourable,”Handal said.

By then, any hopes of communicating with the lander would be lost as the lunar night, which begins on September 21, will lead to temperatures in the area plummeting to -180 degree.“Once the lunar night kicks in, there is absolutely no possibility of re-establishing communication. The lander-rover was to conduct all the experiments during the lunar day and is not designed to withstand the low temperatures,” said Mehta.

A flyover of the NASA orbiter above the landing site does not help in re-establishing communication; it helps the scientists in understanding what went wrong.

ISRO had also taken thermal images of the lander just a day after the landing went awry, which have not been released yet.

“Images taken by its own orbiter and that of NASA will help ISRO in reconstructing what happened on September 7. ISRO has the telemetry data, which has information on velocity, altitude, thrust etc till about 2.1 km from the surface of the moon. The orientation of the lander, whether it was slightly damaged or parts were broken, the location and its deviation from the planned path will tell the scientists whether the lander hit the lunar surface at a high velocity, whether it spun out or what happened in the last moments,” said Dr Nirupam Roy, assistant professor of Physics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

The NASA orbiter data will also build on the images from the Chandrayaan 2 orbiter.

“The LRO is also in a polar orbit just like Chandrayaan 2 orbiter, meaning it will be able to see the landing site every 14 days for two or three days depending on the field of view of the camera. The LRO data will prove useful because it will be able to see the landing site closer to noon. The Chandrayaan 2, on the other hand, was launched to reach the landing site at the beginning of the lunar day, meaning every time it goes over the landing site it will either be dawn or dusk when there are longer shadows,” said Roy. Source : ht

 

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Looking to upgrade to the latest Galaxy S9 series? Read on to get a clearer idea.

Samsung recently launched its flagship smartphones, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ in India. There has beeb a lot of buzz around the Galaxy S9 series particularly its camera features. The smartphones also come with incremental upgrades over its predecessors, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. However the question that remains among users is if they should upgrade from their existing Galaxy S8 series to the Galaxy S9.

Other than the new camera features and upgrades under the hood, the Galaxy S9 series doesn’t have much to offer over the Galaxy S8 duo. However, users with the older Galaxy S7 and S6 series can definitely go for this upgrade. Here’s a look at the differences between the two flagship generations for a better idea.

Display, Design

Samsung didn’t make any major changes with the Galaxy S9 duo considering the major redesign the Galaxy S8 series went through last year. One small but important change however is the placement of the fingerprint sensor which is now below the camera lens and not beside it.

The display size on both Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ remain the same with curved AMOLED Infinity Display and 18:9 aspect ratio. The Galaxy S9 features a 5.8-inch display, and the Galaxy S9+ has a bigger 6.2-inch screen.

Processor, RAM and Storage

It’s common knowledge that Samsung is the first to launch its smartphones with the latest Qualcomm processor. The Galaxy S9 series is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor. This variant is however restricted to the US market. Global markets will get the Exynos 9810 processor model which is also the latest in-house chipset.

In comparison, Samsung Galaxy S8 series runs Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 processors under its hood.

While the RAM capacity remains the same, Samsung beefed up the storage on Galaxy S9+ along with microSD support up to 400GB. Galaxy S9 comes with 4GB RAM and two storage options of 64GB and 256GB. The older Galaxy S8 is available with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and microSD support up to 256GB.

The top model gets the same treatment with 6GB RAM plus 64GB and 256GB storage options. Galaxy S8+ has the same RAM capacity but with 64GB and 128GB storage options.

Camera

Samsung prides on the camera features of the Galaxy S9 series. The biggest upgrade here is the dual-camera setup on the Galaxy S9+ which is a combination of 12-megapixel and 13-megapixel sensors. Galaxy S9 sports a single 12-megapixel rear camera. Up front, both smartphones house an 8-megapixel camera for selfies.

The specifics are the same as the Galaxy S8 duo also feature a 12-megapixel rear and 8-megapixel front camera.

However, the cameras on Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ come with dual-aperture mode which switches between f/1.5 and f/2.4 according to the lighting conditions. There’s also a super slo-mo feature which records videos at 960 frames per second. Lastly, the smartphones offer an iPhone X Animoji-like AR emoji feature.

Battery, OS and connectivity

Both the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S9 series have the same battery capacity of 3,000mAh and 3,500mAh. Galaxy S9 and S9+ run the latest Android 8.0 Oreo, while the Galaxy S8 series ship with Android 7.0 Nougat. Samsung is expected to roll out Android 8.0 Oreo for the Galaxy S8 smartphones but the release has been facing delays.

The connectivity options also remain the same with dual-SIM support, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, USB Type-C port and 3.5mm audio jack. The latest Galaxy S9 duo however comes with Gigabit LTE for 5G connectivity.

Price

Samsung Galaxy S9 starts at Rs 57,900 for the base variant with 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage, while the top model with 256GB storage will retail at Rs 65,900. Galaxy S8, on the other hand with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is available at Rs 53,900.

Galaxy S9+ with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage is priced at Rs 64,900, and with 256GB storage the price tag is Rs 72,000. The base model of Galaxy S8+ with 4GB RAM plus 64GB storage is priced at Rs 58,900, and with 6GB RAM plus 64GB storage it is available at Rs 64,900. Source : ht

 

 

 

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Reliance Jio responds to the fake JioCoin apps flooding the Google Play Store.

Reliance Jio on Wednesday cautioned users against downloading any application that claims to offer JioCoin, a new cryptocurrency reportedly in the works.

“Reliance Jio has come across reports in media and other websites about the existence of purported JioCoin Apps on the Internet that are soliciting investments in crypto currencies from people,” said the company in a statement.

“Reliance Jio would like to inform the public and media that there are no such apps offered by the company or its affiliates/ associates. Any such apps using the JioCoin name are fake and people are advised to refrain from dealing with any of them.”

“Reliance Jio takes a serious note of such fraudulent attempts by unscrupulous persons to misguide the public in the name of Jio and reserves the right to take appropriate legal recourse,” it added.

Jio’s statement comes as response to a growing number of fake mobile applications and websites tricking customers into downloading them.

A quick search of “JioCoin” on Google Play Store shows more than a dozen fake applications. Also, there are a number of websites cashing in on the buzz around the JioCoin.

It’s recommended that users should not download such malicious applications as they could inject malware or adware into your phone, ultimately putting your privacy at risk. Source : ht

 

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Hyundai cars get costlier by up to Rs 84,867

Written by Saturday, 16 September 2017 08:51

NEW DELHI: Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) today increased prices of its various models by up to Rs 84,867, following a hike in GST cess rates.

The price hike will range from 2 to 5 per cent and will be effective from September 11, the company said in a statement.

HMIL, which is country's second largest passenger car manufacturer, has hiked the price of 1.4-litre petrol automatic variant of its premium hatchback Elite i20 by Rs 12,547.

Besides, it has raised prices of the newly launched mid-sized sedan Verna by up to 29,090. Similarly, prices of SUV Creta have been hiked ranging between Rs 20,900 and Rs 55,375.

The automaker has also raised prices of its premium sedan Elantra ranging between Rs 50,312 and Rs 75,991. It has also increased the price of its premium SUVTuscon between Rs 64,828 and Rs 84,867.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has also announced a hike in prices of its Jeep and Fiat range of vehicles by up to Rs 6.4 lakh. 

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Google to Introduce Mobile Payment Service in India

Written by Friday, 15 September 2017 06:16

 

Alphabet's Google plans to introduce a localised digital payment service in India as early as next week, technology website TechCrunch reported, citing a report from news site The Ken. The payment service, called Google 'Tez', will offer payment options beyond the existing ones like Google Wallet or Android Pay, the report said.

Tez, meaning fast in Hindi, will include support for the government-backed Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and other consumer payment services including Paytm and MobiKwik, according to the report. Google did not comment on the report, but sent a media invite for the launch of a new product for India on Sept. 18.

Google, Facebook and WhatsApp were in talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to provide UPI-enabled payment on their platforms, the Mint daily had reported in July. The internet giant launched its payment app Android Pay in the United States two years ago.

 

 

 

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WhatsApp Co-Founder Brian Acton to Leave Company

Written by Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:18

 

Brian Acton, co-founder of WhatsApp, now owned by Facebook, will leave the messaging service company to start a new foundation, he said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

Acton spent eight years with WhatsApp, which Facebook bought in 2014 for $19 billion in cash and stock.

A Stanford alumnus, Acton co-founded WhatsApp with Ukrainian immigrant Jan Koum in 2009. The duo worked at Yahoo before starting WhatsApp.

Here's Acton's Facebook post announcing his departure from WhatsApp, and explaining his reasons, in its entirety.

"After 8 years at WhatsApp, I have decided to move on and start a new chapter in my life.

I am very fortunate at my age to have the flexibility to take new risks and focus on what I'm passionate about. I've decided to start a non-profit focused at the intersection of nonprofit, technology and communications. It's something I've thought about for a while, and now it's time to just focus and execute. I'll have more to share in the coming months.

This decision is, of course, a tough one. I'm proud of what our team has accomplished in only a few years, and it's humbling to see that so many people rely on WhatsApp every day.

 

 

 

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Micro-blogging website Twitter is reportedly testing a feature that will simplify the way users post "tweetstorms" — a series of related tweets posted by a user in quick succession.

According to a report on Engadget on Monday, A user has discovered a hidden, experimental "tweetstorm" feature in Twitter's Android app that simplifies the process. "Instead of posting tweets one at a time and replying to them in sequence, you compose everything behind the scenes and share it all at once," the report added.

Hidden inside the Android app is a way to write a "tweetstorm" and see it broken into distinct tweets and then tweet them all at once.

Twitter, however, declined to comment on the feature which is yet to be made available to the public.

Twitter has lifted the 140-character limit for its 328 million-plus users to send direct messages. While Twitter is largely a public experience, direct messages let you have private conversations about the memes and news that unfold on the micro blogging site. The company said last year that it would stop counting photos, videos and GIF animations toward the 140-character limit.

This report comes a day after Twitter started allowing users to share access to multiple accounts via iOS and Android applications without needing to share that account's password.

 

 

 

 

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WhatsApp rolls out two new feature for both Android and iOS users. One of them is the Picture-in-Picture video calling feature and the second one is the text status update. To recall, both the features were earlier available for the beta users, but now WhatsApp has pushed out both the features to stable builds. WhatsApp has been rolling to several new features almost every other day; this is basically because the Facebook-owned messaging platform is aiming towards improving its functionalities.

The new Picture-in-Picture video calling feature allow users to multitask. The feature basically allows the users to make video calls and send messages to friends simultaneously. For instance, if a user is on a video call and also wants to talk to some other friend via message, they can simply resize the video calling screen so they can talk to one friend via video call, and message the other one. After resizing the video call screen will appear at one side of the mobile screen, while the background will be that of the chat box. It is noteworthy, the resized video calling screen can be resized as per requirement and it can also be dragged to any corner of the phone screen.

This is the Picture-in-Picture feature, also known as PiP. Now the text status updates feature. Like we share pictures and videos as status, iOS and Android users will now be able to set a text status as well. It is different from the profile text status. We know that picture and videos on WhatsApp status last's only for 24 hours. The scene will be the same with the new WhatsApp text status as well. So, how does this feature work?

 

 

 

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In collaboration with Reliance Jio, domestic consumer electronics brand Intex Technologies on Friday announced data benefits up to 25GB for its 4G smartphone users.

Under this scheme, all Intex 4G Smartphone users using a Jio connection will get additional 5GB 4G data per recharge, over what they normally get on a recharge of Rs. 309 or above.

"The world's largest end-to-end IP network of Jio and Intex's pan-India mobile distribution network will together be a delight for consumers," said Nidhi Markanday, Director and Business Head, Mobiles, Intex Technologies, in a statement. The offer is limited to a maximum of five recharges.

Late last month, Chinese manufacturer Oppo also partnered with Reliance Jio to offer data benefits to its smartphone customers.

Those customers who purchase an Oppo smartphone and enrol themselves in Jio Prime membership will get additional data benefits.

As per the new offer, buyers of Oppo's F3F3 Plus, and F1 Plus smartphone models can get additional data up to 10GB on every recharge of Rs. 309 or above (making it up to 60GB of additional data). On the other hand, those customers who purchase Oppo F1sA57A37, and A33 models can get additional data up to 7GB on every recharge (making it up to 42GB of additional data). Notably, customers can avail these additional data benefits for a maximum of six Jio recharges.

 

 

 

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