IAF says that the state-run defence firm has not been able to adhere to delivery targets of important defence projects, resulting in a suboptimal condition of both Mirage 2000 and Jaguar fighter fleets
New Delhi: At a time when Mirage 2000 and Jaguar fighter fleets need upgrades, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) recent track record of production delays has had serious implications on the Indian Air Force (IAF), the defence force has informed the government. The IAF said that the state-run defence firm has not been able to adhere to delivery targets of important defence projects, resulting in a suboptimal condition of both the fleets.
The IAF had already pointed out delays by HAL in programmes such as the Sukhoi 30s, Mirage 2000s Jaguars and the Light Combat Aircraft. Air force operations were also held up at Siachen Glacier, one of the world’s highest battlegrounds, earlier this month as HAL did not produce enough rotor blades critical for its light helicopters, the Cheetah and Cheetal choppers.
Mirage production delayed three times since 2011
In last year’s review of HAL, the IAF said that the series upgrade of 47 Mirage 2000 fighters signed in July 2011 has already seen delays in production three times. HAL should have delivered 21 upgraded jets but have only sent six, as per the schedule. Sources have reportedly said that one more jet has been delivered since the review.
While HAL says the unavailability of kits from France has resulted in the delays, the IAF argues that the contract was signed over seven years ago.
Additionally, the IAF has also highlighted the six-year delay in upgrading the Jaguar fleet to the DARIN III standard. In December 2009, the contract to upgrade 61 Jaguar fighters was signed, with the understanding that they would all be ready in December 2017. Not a single jet has been delivered to the Air Force yet since HAL has been struggling to integrate new radar on the jets.