Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Admissions, obfuscations in Indian Air Force explanation on Business Standard reports



The IAF has issued a verbose "clarification" that is full of evasions and outright falsehoods

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 31st July 13

Two news reports in Business Standard on Monday and Tuesday have elicited a “clarification” from the Indian Air Force (IAF).

The two articles (July 29, “Indian Air Force at war with Hindustan Aeronautics; wants to import, not build, a trainer”; and July 30, IAF diluted at least 12 benchmarks for trainer aircraft) reported on a letter from Indian Air Force (IAF) chief, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, to Defence Minister AK Antony, requesting that a contract for 106 trainer aircraft be awarded to Swiss company, Pilatus. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), which is currently developing the trainer, should be stripped of the contract, says Browne.

The news reports are based on documents available with Business Standard.

They report Browne’s unprecedented assault on HAL, which he has accused of misrepresenting the cost of their trainer --- called the Hindustan Turbo Trainer–40 (HTT-40) --- and of being incapable of delivering it on time to the IAF.

Browne has written to Antony that the HTT-40 would cost Rs 43.59 crore apiece at 2011 prices and, after factoring in forex escalation and inflation, would cost Rs 59.31 crore in 2018 and Rs 64.77 crore in 2020.

The IAF chief contrasts this with the cost of the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II, which he claims costs just Rs 30 crore apiece.

That figure of Rs 30 crore is incorrect. The cost of the PC-7 Mark II is derived from the IAF’s contract for 75 PC-7 Mark II trainers, signed on May 24, 2012 for Swiss Franc 557 million (Rs 3,606 crore). The contract specifies that each trainer would cost Swiss Francs 6.09 million. Since payment is linked to delivery, the cost of each PC-7 Mark II is touching Rs 40 crore today.

The news reports also reveal that at least 12 changes were made to performance benchmarks for the basic trainer the month after it was decided to buy 75 out of the IAF’s overall requirement of 181 trainers from the global market, while HAL developed the remaining 106.

Surprisingly, the performance benchmarks that were imposed on HAL (in a March 2009 document called the Preliminary Staff Qualitative Requirements, or PSQR) were exceptionally stringent. These were subsequently diluted, the month after it was decided to buy abroad, and issued in Oct 2009 in a document called the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR).

In a happy coincidence, the diluted ASQR allowed the PC-7 Mark II to qualify (it did not meet the PSQR requirement, which had been imposed on HAL). Without that dilution, Pilatus would have had to field the PC-21, a costlier trainer that would have been unlikely to be the lowest bidder. Making the PC-7 Mark II technically compliant by lowering the specifications brought a low-cost trainer into contention.

Meanwhile the other trainers that qualified --- the Korean Aerospace KT-1; and the American Hawker-Beechcraft T-6C Texan-II --- were qualitatively better (meeting the PSQR requirements), but also more expensive. The PC-7 Mark II won the contract as the cheapest trainer that met the (lowered) specifications.

Comments were sought from the IAF before each news report, but it chose to remain silent. Today, the IAF has responded with a lengthy “clarification”.

The IAF’s first response is that the stringent benchmarks in the PSQR that was imposed on HAL in Mar 2009 were only “Desirable” parameters for the trainer, not “Essential” parameters. In lengthy citations of the Defence Procurement Policy, the IAF tries to suggest that there was no dilution of QRs, only a legitimate paring of “Desirable” parameters.

This is not a valid argument. The PSQR, of which Business Standard has a copy, does not differentiate between “Essential” and “Desirable” parameters. All parameters are listed together, with no differentiation.

HAL officials, speaking anonymously, confirm that, until the parameters were diluted in the ASQR issued in Oct 2009, the HTT-40 was being built to meet all the parameters in the PSQR.

The IAF also suggests that no rules were broken, since the PSQR was revised downwards along with the ASQR, after benchmarks were lowered in Oct 2009. “The amended ‘PSQR’ after ratification by (the MoD) on 01 December 2009 were issued to HAL… Therefore, as on date, PSQR and ASQR are similar.

That neatly sidesteps the essential point of the news report --- which was that performance benchmarks were irregularly lowered when it came to a global buy. The PSQR was lowered, as was the ASQR. It matters little that they are similar today. In that respect, the IAF confirms a key point made by Business Standard.

The IAF seeks to validate the selection of the PC-7 Mark II by stating, “It needs to be noted that the (tender) for BTA received maximum responses generating the largest competition in aircraft procurement in recent history, wherein M/s Pilatus was one of the three vendors who met all ASQR and… emerged as the L1 (lowest bid) vendor on the basis of their commercial offer.”

This evades the point that lowered benchmarks appear to have allowed the PC-7 Mark II to meet the specifications, introducing a low-cost aircraft into the contest.

The deal was held up for almost a year after the Korean defence minister wrote personally to Antony requesting him to intercede. An internal MoD investigation eventually gave a go-ahead.

The IAF also suggests that the compromise made in crucial safety specifications, by removing the need for a “zero-zero” ejection seat (which allows the pilot to bail out even while the aircraft is stationary on the ground) was done because “retaining the ASQR of 0-0 ejection seat would have narrowed the competition to only two vendors.” Lowering the specifications “ensured that more than seven vendors remained in the competition.”

On the one hand, this argument accepts that specifications in even “Essential” parameters were lowered. However, the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) nowhere states that important safety compromises can be made to generate competition. And the fact is that the PC-7 Mark II does not have a “zero-zero” ejection seat.

The IAF also tries to justify its dilution of multiple criteria reported by Business Standard by responding that “both the ASQR and current PSQR” do not stipulate requirements for parameters like cockpit pressurization; external vision criteria; in-flight simulation (for simulating failures); take off within 1000 metres; and maximum speed of 450 kmph.

That the ASQR and current PSQR have identical benchmarks does not exonerate the improper dilution of benchmarks in the “current PSQR” after taking a decision to buy the basic trainer from the global market.

In other respects --- as evident from the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II webpage on the internet --- the IAF “clarification” contains outright falsehoods. It claims that “the maximum speed of the PC-7 Mk Il is 555 kmph and not 448 kmph as falsely stated in the news article.”

In fact, as is well known, the maximum speed of an aircraft is calculated in level flight at sea level and the Pilatus website (http://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/#46) states that this is 448 kmph.

The IAF “clarification” admits that the IAF chief gave out false figures in his letter to the RM, since the current exchange rate was not factored in. The IAF now says the PC-7 Mark II would cost Rs 38.3 crore. And it now says the HTT-40 would be 25 per cent more expensive than the PC-7 Mark II.

Browne’s letter to Antony had stated, “As per the contract, the unit price of PC-7 Mk II is INR 30 Cr for the mean delivery year of 2014. The aircraft would be supplied at the same cost up to 2017 under the “Option Clause”. Hence the HTT-40 will be more expensive to the IAF when compared with the PC-7 Mk II by over 89% from 2018 onwards.”

“It is unprecedented for a service chief to present incorrect figures to the Raksha Mantri,” says a senior MoD official anonymously. “And what makes this doubly damning is that the air chief is using incorrect figures to make a case for a foreign vendor.”

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Shukla,

You have also used obfuscation to suit your ends in this article.

IAF's clarification also reveals one damning revelation: that HAL wants to surrender 30% of the 50% work share in developing FGFA with Sukhoi. IAF has clearly stated that HAL is focussing on non-strategic projects like developing BTA rather than focussing on strategic projects like developing FGFA which are far more important to the air force.

We have all seen the crashes that happen with unsettling frequency - resulting in loosing precious lives of pilots and depleting IAF fleet levels. From decades, many analysts have been stressing on the need of inducting a basic trainer aircraft immediately. Now that IAF is poised to induct trainer aircraft, pseudo-strategists like yourself are trying to play monkey tricks disregarding the impact it will have on operational readiness and pilot safety.

You need to throw that calculation sheet out of the window and stop jumping on the cost figures. This aircraft is in service with numerous air forces (around 24) and does its job well. The cost figures are not out of place when it comes to comparison with forgien operators.

So stop your smear campaign, ask HAL to focus on FGFA rather than on trainer aircraft, and get on with life

Dhuva

Jayesh said...

Imagine Honda diluting its standards of the Honda City car to that of the Ambassador car. That is what we are doing. We want a Honda City car but with Ambassador car standards. And we will go all out to justify it even by murdering all your opponents. Jai Hind Ambassador Car.

rustom said...

Why HAL cannot sell its plane to other vendors...is it because it has no Plane to sell only brochures..
HAL has become dangerous to National security now. It under the pretext of scaring upright people into succumbing to blackmail of tainting them as corrupt in their peak wont only chanelise for dangerous products to be implemented in the defense but will stop any professional worth his salt from taking a right decission. HAL is using BOFORS ghost to armtwist the defense in adapting its dangerously unsafe goods...Unfortunately if the chief address the nation putting the facts straight, then the same MoD under one pretext or other would deem him giving up national security....
The whole nation sees thru this plot...it wont be far away when men in uniform decide to just walk away home instead of flying an imaginary plane to train young pilots..At least that way when war hist india..they wont be blamed for not doing their task

rustom said...

Also as MoD talks of wrong figures being given and thus Violation..then Arrest all the RMs, and those in MoD and HAL/DRDO, Cochin shipyard, Mazgaon Docks etc for cost escalations due to exchange rates fluctuating due to hurdles created by bureaucrats
..Also if the Raffaelle deal gets more expensive as 2 years ago the dollar was floating at 53....and now touching 60...the RM and those in MoD should be put behind bars under the same logic.....If the deal has not come through due to france not having faith in HAL's ppp..Piss poor performance...then the HAL's chief should be behind bars for wasting tax payers money, the MoD guys for not making HAL adhere to benchmarks and a suit for criminal negligence should be filed by the IAF for denying the IAF trainers for more than 2 decades and another for manslaughter as HAL's plane and parts are a major cause for accidents..and a 3rd for aiding and abetting dilution of national security by supplying dangerous parts,wasting monies collected for national security under the guise of indegenisation and trying to create a situation wherein it will not deliver trainers and not let the IAF train young pilots so that the IAF becomes weak by using false ghosts like the BOFORS and agencies to propagate their lies

Rahul said...

I mean no disrespect to our war fighters but present ACM Mr.Browne is the same person who had said "Will it ok to navy if Cost Guard asks to have submarines", this was while speaking at AF day in relation to turf war with Army which was looking have attack-helicopters.

I was astonished to death how a working ACM was comparing equipment needs of an offensive tactical force to mostly surveillance force.......I wonder to this day who he thought could fool with his remark?

- said...

Mr Shukla, one question, how many changes in the "initial requirement" do you predict if HAL makes the planes ?

Anonymous said...

What bull crap is this!! IAF is a fighting force always ready to face any emergency!!! HPT-32 has killed many pilots and engine stalling problem could never be solved.HTT-35 program got cancelled abruptly!!! when HAL will complete its prototype,obtain flight worthiness certification and hand it over to IAF!!! do we have the time? Airchief has done the right thing,he is free to buy what his pilots wants. The track record of pilatus is superior to HPT-32 and is used world wide by many air forces for training rookie pilots. Do not try to scuttle!!!

stryker said...

Well done ajai !.
Two excellent articles and this riposte to the IAF's statement is an outstanding example of what investigative defence journalism should be doing in this country.
You will be called a HAL chamcha etc etc by IAF supporters and i daresay a very slippery floor will greet you next time u visit Vayu Bhavan ( that is if u ever get an invite) !! But dont lose hope.
Keep the CAS in your sights (send him a calculator on his next birthday)and let the public know what games air marshals play with the babus in the MOD whilst daily our pilots have narrow brushes with death in their flying coffins.
Tallyho !

Anonymous said...

it is shameful on ur part to name ACM Browne for this..
in any case ur article is utterly wrong..
u need to follow trishul-trident to get clarifications on ur article..
ur article is devoid on sense.

mathew dallas said...

Absolute blogging! keep it up Ajay! Fearless, Forthright and Fantastic. Thanks.

victor raj said...

If a person got involved in one corruption activity, then all the contracts he involved should be taken under scanner. So whichever contracts Tyagi has overseen should be scanned.

Anonymous said...

The Pilatus is a fine trainer, and is several decades more advanced than the HPT-32 was, which BTW, didn't have ejection seats, had side-by-side seating which is extremely suboptimal, had a maximum speed of about 280 kmph, consumed aviation gasoline (100LL) which is very hard to come by, and killed quite a few instructors and students.

And a better glide ratio is not a desirable trait in all circumstances. Large glide ratios indicate big wing areas, and they aren't that conducive to teaching maneuvering flight which is what air forces want to do.

On top of that, HAL has proved to be a very poor partner for the IAF. What is their track record of product delivery? What happened to the Sitara? How many problems did the ALH have?

The lack of a basic trainer is debilitating for any air force. Can you imagine how laughable it is for an air force - one of the largest in the world at that - to not have airplanes to teach its future pilots?

I wouldn't be surprised if the ACM got fed up with HAL and the mandarins at the MoD and decided to do something patriotic. I'll believe this until it's proven that he or anyone else in the IAF has received improper benefits from this purchase.

Anonymous said...

Rustom, please talk sense and not make these absurd posts filled with bad english and rants against everyone and anyone- HAL, DRDO, MOD, the sun, moon, stars etc.
Please treat the topic seriously so we may engage you in a constructive dialogue, right now one struggles to make head or tail of your comments.

Anonymous said...

Same case... with arjun mk II... and T-90 S... imports keep... IAF... IA... pockets clinging... caught... hand in... cookie jar...

Anonymous said...

Prima facie, this issue seems like a fraud perpetrated by IAF chief. On part of MoD, it seems like a case of dereliction of duty. Both, in case of national security, should be deemed as crimes against Nation and should be treated as Treason.

Vivek Khanna said...

Great job Ajai! Thank you for posting and keeping the pressure on the armed forces.

This corrupt attitude is taking away billions from the country (God only knows how much is going to the dhotiwalas Swiss accounts). They say that a fool and his money are easily parted. The IAF chief has certainly harmed Indian industry by his callous attitude towards local efforts. Contrast this with China and Israel - both strong military powers that use a high percentage of local products.

This attitude towards Indian products is exemplified by the purchase of 1000s of T-90s and no purchases of the T-90 beater - the one and only Arjun! The LCA is ready and has been tested with bombs and missiles and also has displayed its ability to operate in all weather conditions. In the past decade not one LCA has been lost while maybe a 100-150 Mig-21s have crashed in that period with the loss of a similar number of pilots.

This is a result of the lack of moral values in our country. Corruption is rampant. All political parties are corrupt and have stolen 100s of billions of dollars from the nation. No Indian product or weapon will ever stand a chance against imports with this attitude.

Vivek

Anonymous said...

The swiss banks dont declare the asset of the account holders and that is why they won the contract and only way to beat that is ask HAL to open a factory in carribean island and assemble something imported from brazil or some american company and sell it IAF. The carrabeans are doing better than the swiss and thus have a better chance.
Jokes apart HAL is also responsible for sloppiness as P-51 Mustang was desiegned , built and tested in 19 months.They then decided to change the engine to merlin engine of the spitfire and a great plane was born which changed the course of the war.HAL cannot do that now evan after 70 years when the technology is openly available for basic trainer. The IJT is going at snail's pace and I wont be surprised that IAF choses some imported plane as wrong choice of the engine AL 55 slowed everything down. I would have gone with honeywell F 124 or F 125 without afterburner.If HAL is serious then quickly get IOC 2 for LCA Mk1 and build LCA MK 2 as one of the prototypes was not built and start simultaneously LCA MK 3 the twin engined plane with engines separated and in between is weapons bay and have stealth skin with multiple sensors and good range.The trainer building is very easy and HAL did not have vision to desiegn one.The great shunk works team use to target the technology 10 years before and desiegned some of the best planes.There is total disconnect between the HAL and IAF as they seem not to communicate what they would need in years to come. The IAF lower the requirements of the imports and dont make comment like three legged zebra or cheetah.

TIMBAKTOO

Anonymous said...

It is now out in the open. The grounding of HPT-32s (instead of fixing the straight forward fuel feed problem), the frantic haste in processing the case for buying basic trainers from abroad, the farcical manner of flight evaluation at Jamnagar, the blatant ignoring of 4th line maintenance costs (not submitted by Pilatus)to ensure 'L-1' for the Swiss trainer and rejection of valid arguments from the Koreans only points to an amazing plan.

The IAF were TOLD to buy the Pilatus as the deal was already done via agents from a south east Asian country. The HTT-40 project was an inconvenience and could be bad mouthed at will.

Would the IB care to investigate now or will this be after the national elections ?

Anonymous said...

'....obfuscations in Indian Air Force explanation on Business Standard reports' - more applicable to the writings of Colonle Ajain Shukla than the Indian Air Force!

Mazo said...

Despite all the accusations and insinuations of impropriety there is one inescapable fact -

The Pilatus PC-7 Mark 2 is available to train IAF pilots Today, the HAL HTT-40 is not going to be available till 2017.

So on hand we have a fully functional and available aircraft with a long aviation record from a credible manufacturer - Pilatus and on the other we have an aircraft that is not even in the prototype stage, is built by a manufacturer who has a spotty aviation record and whose earlier aircraft failed miserably leading to deaths of more than one IAF pilot.

You don't have to be Air Chief Marshal to make the safe bet. And as Air Chief Marshal, his primary responsibility is to keep the IAF fighting fit - not promote a domestic military industrial complex. His secondary duty is to safeguard and advocate for his pilots by getting them the best and safest equipment, not pandering to patriotic chauvinism at the cost of his pilot's lives.

Pilatus won the contract because of one very simple reason - HAL messed up with its inability to produce a decent or safe basic trainer in the first place in the HPT-32. You cannot "select" something that never exists beyond paper drawings - like the HTT-40.

In an effort to produce a "scoop" and perhaps in a misguided attempt to carry the torch for HAL,this article like the one before is hardly persuasive and ignores real world necessitates about time and safety. Indian products at all costs is not "patriotism", it is merely ignorance.

Pakistani said...

Why waste money on foreign or desi planes for pilot training. The flying carpet & flying brooms would serve the purpose.

Rahul said...

Few questions i would like to ask.

1. Why IAF kept mum on future replacement for HPT-32 fleet until situation became dire?

2. Why HTT-35 proposal was shut down, when it was nothing but replacement for HPT-32 fleet?

Abhiman said...

Exposing the IAF's corruption is unprecedented in Indian journalism !

Please keep up the great work Col Shukla !

Anonymous said...

HAL is simply incompetent to even assemble planes. All the gods in india need to bless Rafale project. HPT-32 was a mess, so many crashes, bad integration of engine. A BTA worse tha. WW 2 planes ! Please stop critizing IAF, tell us one good reason why HAL should exist and have monopoly on Indian aviation.

Anonymous said...

Shukla jumps to air force bashing from Infantry bashing....

Scuttle biting teeth ... one by one...

That is defense journalism... bingo

Anonymous said...

HAL is a wholly-owned MoD entity,which cannot undertake any R & D project aimed at producing an indigenous weapon system or sub-system without receiving authorisation from the MoD.

What this means is that HAL’s management has neither the financial nor managerial autonomy to develop even a single product that is not required by any Indian end-user.


Therefore, when HAL took up the task of developing the HTT-35 BTT, it was only after being instructed by the MoD to do so at the IAF’s behest.

For it was a fairly well-known fact since the early 1980s that the HAL-developed piston-engined ab-initio primary HPT-32 ‘Deepak’ was not what the IAF wanted and HAL consequently had been mandated to develop the HTT-34 turboprop trainer with side-by-side seating, and a flying prototype was indeed built.


The IAF then changed its mind and asked HAL via the MoD to develop a tandem-seat BTT (probably after watching the advent of Pilatus PC-7As and PC-9As, and Embraer/ShortsTucanos since the mid-1980s), to which HAL responded with the HTT-35.

What happened next is that sometime in 1995, HAL was instructed by the MoD at the IAF’s behest that this project was not a priority and was told to cease all further R & D activity, probably due to India’s reduced defence spending-levels in the period 1989-1999 (the so-called ‘lost decade’) as a result of the 1990 financial crisis

Maneesh Joshi said...

Part I of my reply.

Sir,

An excellent post with some caveats.

I wish to link this disclosure with your earlier opinion of inducting the Tejas Mk 1 in numbers instead of waiting for the under-development Mk IIs - take what has been tested thoroughly NOW and future developments can be followed side by side.

To me, this seems exactly what the IAF is doing for the PC-7 - plugging for an existent, proven BTA without waiting for HAL to deliver a more advanced one. So, how can you castigate the IAF for following your own advice albeit on a different platform? Such flip-flops on your part make you vulnerable to being cast as a Janus.

As regards the ASQRs and the PSQRs stuff. The higher QRs would have been meet by more expensive types. Would the govt be willing to pay for them? One gets what one pays for. Most probably, the govt was unwilling to pay for the Texans/PC-21s/KT-1s and this was conveyed to the IAF. What to do then? Obviously try to get a cheaper alternative. May not be what is actually needed, but then, beggars (as all the Armed Forces of India are) cannot be choosers.

Why be so paranoid that the IAF is always the bogey? What if, the govt had told the IAF - "Sorry, boys, we have money for scams but not for your toys. So, get something cheaper than the Texans et al. If that means lowering the QRs, you have to do it and also face the music when the media opens fire" or words to that effect. The IAF says" Fine, we will do that and also face the flak. At least, it will save lives that are being lost in MiG-21UM/Type 69s. Because...it is OUR blood that is being shed, not that of Rahul or Varun or the other upstarts" or words to that effect.

Maneesh Joshi said...

Part II of my reply

Another strange thing. "HAL officials, speaking anonymously, confirm that, until the parameters were diluted in the ASQR issued in Oct 2009, the HTT-40 was being built to meet all the parameters in the PSQR".

So, the HAL had pledged to meet the more stringent PSQR with the HTT-40. Ipso facto, it can also meet the lowered ASQR (allegedly done to favour Pilatus) too. So what prevents it from going ahead with the HTT development (150 crores internal plus some generous doles from the govt) and then challenge the PC-7 to a fly-off, mano-a-mano.

Tell the govt " Hold the BTA purchase for a year. Let the IAF fly the existing 14 plus the 30 for 2014 = 44 for a year. We will deliver an HTT on 02 Aug 2014 for a fly-off challenge with the PC-7. If we win, we will leverage Pilatus' expertise to improve. If they win, we will help them produce it at 25% of the price and then, market it the world over". This is competition, this is innovative thinking. But unfortunately, these two terms are Greek and Latin for Indian defence PSUs.

Instead of whipping the IAF, why don't you ask the govt for a reply to the lowered QRs? The babus would be chiddi-chup on this.

Sir, young me, the flower of this nation, are dying due to aged trainers. The IAF is doing its best to stem the bloodshed even by lowering standards for replacements. And here, you are raking mud over the service.

I don't expect you to kiss the butt of the Services even if you are a veteran. But I do expect you to be sensible, fair, even-minded and pragmatic. And not Janus.

Anonymous said...

people who ask what the HLL did for the past seventy years should answer the question.

Whty did IAF -MOD rejected the earlier IAF proposal to build the HTT-35 in the early nineties.

The IAF after keeping a conspirational silence for a decade gave the PSQR for HTT-40 only in MArch -2009.

By oct-2009 they determined HLL cannot do it and floated a diluted tender. If this is not scam , what is scam.

HAL has already developed long-forgotten HTT-35 advanced turboprop trainer, in a full-scale mock-up, which was designed and fabricated in-house by HAL in the late 1980s and rolled out in the early 1990s
within four years a four-year effort.

The objective at that time was to team up with a global avionics supplier (most probably THALES) and co-design the semi-glass tandem cockpits and offer the aircraft for evaluation by the IAF by 1998.

However, after 1994 the HTT-35 vanished, no one knows what happened to this full-scale mock-up, or on why did the MoD or IAF HQ develop a coordinated ‘memory loss’ on the need to series-produce the HTT-35 almost a decade ago!


For it was realised as far back as 1998 that the induction of fourth-generation combat aircraft such as the Su-30MKI, and the impending induction of Rafale medium multi-role combat aircraft (M-MRCA), Tejas Mk2 MRCA and the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) would force the IAF sooner than later into undertaking a critical revision of its flying training practices that included primary/basic flying training, advanced flying training, and lead-in fighter training (LIFT).

Despite this, the HTT-35 BTT was scrapped, and instead of calling for the development of the HJT-36 as a swept-wing advanced jet trainer, the IAF in its all-knowing wisdom wrongly decided 14 years ago to have the HJT-36 as an intermediate jet trainer (IJT), a decision it is now regretting and that perhaps explains why the IAF has, since 2008, been maintaining sustained silence over HAL’s inability to develop the HJT-36.

Abhiman said...

Col. Shukla, one more important thing has come to light:

Why is the IAF sooo keen on the Russian PAK-FA, despite knowing that apart from dollars, India has nothing else to contribute in it ?

The much touted twin-seat was hailed as HAL's contribution in the PAK-FA. But when India quietly agreed to purchase the Russian PAK-FA on an "as is" basis, there were no eye-brows raised over the quantum of HAL's so-called "workshare" (which was very low anyway).

Besides, our Times of India, Indian Express etc. did not bother to even question this serious downgrade !!!

Arey baba, when HAL did not even get the part of the twin-seat modification, its so-called "work-share" goes out of the window ! It is merely license-producing the PAK-FA -- something that its already been doing for the MiGs and Sukhois.

I request you to write a similar hard-hitting column on this, Col. Shukla.

Anonymous said...

Nothing surprising about the Air Chief making up stories - he has to justify his actions !! What is saddening is that an Air Chief can lower the requirement of his Force to benefit a company and the ultimate benefactors. Maybe he also wants some retirement benefits similar to that of his predecessor !! A shame for the uniform and the rank.

subdriver said...

I wouldn't go so far as to address the allegations and counter allegations or clarifications for sheer want of authentic information. However given HAL's track record so far and the total lack of accountability of the DPSUs whether in time, cost or quality and with the backing of MoD(DP), one of whose Jt Secy is dedicated to pursuig HAL's case, the IAF is certainly trading on some influential toes - I would give the benfit of doubt to the IAF anyday - combat capability and readiness cannot be compromised by the service. Dilution of QRs has been done time and again at the behest of DRDO and DPSUs for various equipment because they couldn't come up to speed so I wonder what the brouhaha is all about.