Monday, March 19, 2012

On Basic Trainers and AJTs, Upgradation of submarines, Technical Problems in Guns?

AK Antony defense minister in parliament today

Neelam Mathews
March 19, 2012

On Basic Trainers and AJTs

Following the grounding of HPT-32 aircraft due to flight safety concerns and shifting of basic flying training to Kiran Mk-I/IA aircraft, the syllabus for basic flying training has been reduced, keeping the available resources in mind. However, flying hours have been increased in other stages of flying to ensure wholesome training, said AK Antony defense minister in parliament today.

“A proposal is being progressed for the procurement of 75 Basic Trainer Aircraft from Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland….….The delivery of the basic trainer aircraft from M/s Pilatus Aircraft Limited, Switzerland is scheduled to commence 15 months from signing of the contract.

“There has been no delay in acquiring Advanced Jet Trainers (AJTs). The Hawk-132 Advanced Jet Trainer has been selected for the Indian Air Force. A total of 106 Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft are being inducted into the Indian Air Force.

 Upgradation of submarines

The existing submarine fleet is being constantly upgraded with modern weapons and sensors which has ensured that the underwater combat capacity of the country remains at the desired levels.

Six Scorpene submarines are being constructed under Project-75 at M/s Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai under Transfer of Technology (ToT) from M/s DCNS, France.

Government approval for construction of the six submarines at M/s MDL under Project-75 was accorded in September, 2005 at a total cost of Rs.18,798crore. The contract was signed in October, 2005. The Government approval for revision in cost of the project to Rs.23,562crore was accorded in February, 2010, along with revision in delivery schedule.

The original delivery schedule of the first submarine was December, 2012 and remaining submarines were to be delivered with a gap of one year each. Consequent to the approval of Government for revision is cost and delivery schedule, the delivery schedule of the first submarine has been revised to June, 2015 and that of the last (6th) submarine to September, 2018. The delay in construction of Scorpene submarines is attributable to initial teething problems in absorption of new technology, delay in augmentation of Industrial Infrastructure at MDL and delay in procurement of MPM items by MDL due to their high cost as compared to the earlier indicated cost. Most of the teething problems have been resolved and various plans have been put in place to minimize delays.

As part of the TOT for the six submarines under construction at MDL, Mumbai, a Technical Data Package has been provided by the Collaborator. This will enable attainment of significant indigenous competence in submarine construction, especially in the field of hull fabrication, outfitting, system integration etc. by the end of the program.

Technical Problems in Guns?

There are no technical problems reported in existing gun system of the Army, says Antony. “However, due to vintage and exploitation of the guns, mechanical problems of routine nature do come up from time to time. These are rectified by the repair/maintenance agencies either in situ or at the workshops established for this purpose.”

The government had secured the right of transfer of technology during the purchase of Bofors guns. Though all the technological documents as per the ToT contract were received by OFB from M/s AB Bofors, the Transfer of Technology was not carried forward as the dealings with the technology provider, (M/s AB Bofors) were suspended. Further, no indent was placed by Army on OFB for manufacture and supply of complete gun system.

Capital expenditure of Rs.376.55 crore has been sanctioned by the Government in March, 2012 for creation/augmentation of Large Calibre Weapon manufacturing capacity in Ordnance Factories.

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