Posted by- Neelam Mathews
Nov 23, 2011
Mid-life upgradation of the fleet is a continuous process and is undertaken to retain the combat relevance of the aircraft, said Defense minister A.K Antony.
Contracts have been signed with RAC MiG Russia for upgrade of the MiG-29 aircraft, with Spets Techno Export, Ukraine, for upgrade of the AN-32 aircraft and with Thales, France, along with HAL, India, for upgrade of the Mirage 2000 aircraft. These contracts are under implementation.
There is no proposal before the government to buy Mirage 2000 V aircraft, said Antony.
There have been initial delays in modernization, program of Mazagon Docks Limited (MDL). However, the delay in Modernization has not contributed directly to the delay in ongoing warship construction projects.
According to the Minister of State for Defense MM Pallam Raju, the major reasons for delay are-.
(i) MDL could not pursue creation of Modular Shop, Cradle Shop, Wet Basin and Stores primarily because of non-availability of land, want of permission from Mumbai Port-Trust and lack of adequate funds in the initial stage.
(ii) The Goliath Crane which was tendered out in June, 2005 and August, 2006 was re-tendered again for the third time in January, 2007 due to non-availability of qualified contractors who could meet the prequalification requirement. The contract was signed on 6th August, 2009.
(iii) The tender for the Wet Basin was issued in August, 2006. However, the single qualified bid could not be accepted due to high price. It was retendered again in June, 2007 and subsequently contract was placed only in August, 2008.
(iv) Building and ancillary works were tendered in December, 2006 but the single bid received did not meet the qualification criteria. Subsequently, it was re-tendered and the Letter of Acceptance was placed in June, 2009.
Stealth frigate (Project-17) and Destroyers (P-15A) projects are running behind schedule due to delay in supply of high quality steel for warships, delay in finalization and delivery of major weapons, sensors and propulsion system through indigenous/foreign sources. Two out of three Stealth frigates have been delivered and the third Stealth frigate is scheduled to be delivered in the current financial year. All efforts and remedial measures have been taken to expedite early delivery of system/equipment in respect of Destroyers (P-15A) projects.
There are no cost over runs due to delay in completion of projects and hence no loss to Government.
Construction projects at other Government Shipyards that are running behind schedule are :
(i) Hindustan Shipyard Ltd: Construction of 53K DWT Bulk Carrier, Inshore Patrol Vessels, Bollard Pull Tug are running behind schedule due to design issues, receipt of material and productivity on account of aging infrastructure.
(ii) Goa Shipyard Ltd: There is a delay in construction of Naval Offshore Patrol Vessels (NOPV) primarily due to failure on the part of nominated indigenous supplier to deliver the gearboxes. The gearboxes have been ordered from an OEM and the first gearbox is scheduled to be delivered by early December 2011, which will enable delivery of first NOPV by November, 2012 followed by balance three NOPVs at an interval of 6 months thereafter.
Manufacturing of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has started manufacturing of Sukhoi-30 MKI fighters in the country. The Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) was concluded on 4th October 2000, between the Governments of Russian Federation and Republic of India for transfer of License and Technical Documentation to India, for production of 140 SU-30 MKI Aircraft, its Engines and Aggregates. The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) accorded its approval for the Project on 18/12/2000 and the Government sanction was issued in January 2001. As per the sanction, the production capacity envisaged was 12 aircraft per year.
The government has asked the HAL to speed up their manufacturing of Su-30 MKI fighters. As per the CCS sanction dated 18/12/2000, the project was to commence from the year 2004-05 and be completed by 2017-18. However, in June 2005, Air Headquarters requested HAL, to explore the feasibility of compressing the delivery program by three years. Accordingly, HAL submitted a Proposal which envisaged compressed delivery of 140 aircraft within 2014-15. CCS accorded its approval for the compressed delivery program on 31/03/2006. As per the revised sanction, the Production capacity envisaged Was 16 aircraft per year.
Subsequent to CCS Sanctions, contracts were concluded with IAF for supply of 140 8U-30 MIG aircraft by 2014-15. Further contract for supply of additional 40 SU-30 MKI aircraft was concluded with IAF for completion within 2014-15, along with earlier order of 140 aircraft. Out of the total 180 aircraft, 99 aircraft have been delivered till 2010-11.
The steps taken by HAL for timely manufacturing of such fighters include:
· Commissioning of additional tooling jigs & fixtures in manufacturing and assembly Shops.
· Increased Outsourcing.
· Development of alternate vendors.
· Improvements in manufacturing processes & Operations in order to reduce cycle time.
· Effective monitoring and timely actions through Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).
· Recruitment/Redeployment of manpower in critical work Centers.
On Air-to-Air Refuellers- MRTT
Indian Air Force is processing a case for procurement of six Air to Air Refuellers from the global market, says Antony. The Defense Procurement Procedure envisages a timeline of about two and a half years from the date of issue-of RFP to conclusion of contract in such multi-vendor cases. The delivery schedule is expected to be between 36 to 51 months from the date of signing the contract, he added.