HAL may not meet SU delivery deadline

HAL may not meet SU delivery deadline

Five years ago, the IAF entered into an agreement with the HAL for the supply of 180 Su-30 MKI by 2014-15. “Out of the total 180 aircraft, 99 aircraft have been delivered till 2010-11,” Defence Minister A K Antony informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

But going by the information shared by Antony, HAL does not seem to be in a position to fulfill its contracted commitment, as its assembly line can produce only 16 aircraft every year.

This means in the remaining four yers, HAL can at best produce 64 aircraft and may require at least another year to deliver the 17 others.

As per the initial contract between IAF and HAL approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in December 2000, the Su-30 project was to commence from 2004-05 and be completed by 2017-18.

In June 2005, Air Headquarters requested HAL to explore the feasibility of compressing the delivery programme by three years. HAL submitted a proposal envisaging compressed delivery of 140 aircraft within 2014-15, which was approved by the CCS in 2006 .

Antony said his ministry was in the process of procuring six mid-air refullers from the global market. The ministry wants to conclude the contract in two and half years from the date of issuing the tender.

Currently, India has six IL-78 mid-air refullers that have increased the IAF's strategic reach. An earlier defence ministry effort to purchase an European refueller did not fructify.