Monday, May 13, 2013

Exclusive! Indian Army- Security and Maintenance- where does one draw the line?

Neelam Mathews
May 13, 2013 

The government must have its eyes at the back of its head if it cannot recognize that of the 7980 Tatra trucks (including those with DRDO and Brahmos), around 2800 are off the road! That’s a scary figure and I’d hate to be head of ops should there be a national emergency.
While around 20-30% parts are available in India, in the absence of purchase of further parts, the number of trucks out of operation are increasing day by day!  It is increasingly clear that the logistics sector of the army is most crippled by the off road trucks.
Despite the fact there has been no blacklisting of either BEML or Tatra, it is the fear of the unknown and lack of decision making that has resulted in no action being taken in acquiring Tatra parts.
As is the mandate of procurement, repairs are carried out at various Army workshops, though the spares are acquired from BEML only by the Master General of Ordinance Service (MGO) Branch. And, yes, OEM certification is a must as per DGQA. So for the moment with nothing officially being acquired, what is happening, one wonders. Somebody might like to probe, how the Indian Army is maintaining such a huge inventory without spare part supplies as imports have been stopped. One is reminded of the AW101 spares stuck in the Customs with the helicopters left with 25 hours flying time.
So spurious parts are likely to be the order of the day as will be cannibalizing. But, for how long? While we’re  not casting aspersions on anybody, the Depot has the power to purchase Rs. 8 lakhs of parts which they may be buying from the spurious market. “ In case of emergency, the Indian Army will discover that many of their operational capacities and weapon systems are out of operation,” an official tells AerospaceDiary on anonymity.
While we do not consider ourselves to be a sage in logistics matters, the fact is that with  lengthy, delayed procurement procedures that involve various workshops sending their requirement to Central Depot, Pune, which further sends it to MGO Branch for ordering, the process takes at least 4 to 6 months – so what about the interim?
The interesting part is ofcourse, that BEML has not been able to supply any parts in the past 13 months to the Indian Army, though neither BEML or the OEM, Tatra are blacklisted!
Ashok Leyland and Tata have claimed they have the capability to take over the Tatra space, though this is based on the Indian Army drastically reducing specifications of operational requirements which may be detrimental in times of operation, we hear, but could not confirm. 
But that remains a contentious issue. One would hate to have a war situation be a test trial ground for the new trucks. Something better be done and FAST!


  1. Government and Indian Army has to work more closely and understand the fast approaching danger...they have to decide on the concrete solution favorable to all.