Archive for January, 2006
Purchase and maintenance of a helicopter-heavy aviation fleet is certainly an expensive proposition. Brig (Retd) Sher Khan, who disagrees with me and says that this expense is not really required, belongs to a select group of army aviation engineers with good flying experience, most of it test-flying the fixed wing tail-wheel two-seater L-19 (or 0-1 in Army nomenclature). He has also commanded an aviation base repair workshop. In the 1960s and 1970s the sturdy L-19s formed the core of the Army Aviation fleet, doing duties of command and control, reconnaissance, observation, artillery fire control, communications, liaison, medical evacuation etc. It was also the basic trainer aircraft. When US Military Aid-to-Pakistan (MAP) stopped during the September 1965 war, Pakistan Army’s “Aviation Engineering” utilised stocks of spares in the Ordinance Depots to “build” new aircraft.
For a country blessed with many rivers, the unpleasant home truth is that there is impending scarcity of water in Pakistan because of acute shortage of storage capacity. This will become further acute in the near future, a full blown crisis not so far in the distant future. The looming disaster can be overcome in several ways, not the least being, viz (1) conserving the water we have and maximizing its effect (2) eliminating, or at least minimizing wastage and (3) apportioning it judiciously on a need-to-have basis. While there are notwithstanding alternate sources of generating electricity, power from water sources is far cheaper.