HAL to overhaul Sukhois in Nashik plant

HAL to overhaul Sukhois in Nashik plant

First refurbished aircraft is expected to come out in the month of August

HAL to overhaul Sukhois in Nashik plant

Overcoming the delay in Russian supplies, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) promises to overhaul Indian Air Force's 15 Su-30 MKI front line fighter aircraft every year at its Nashik facility from 2016-17.

The first HAL-overhauled aircraft is expected to come out of Nashik in August, 2014, marking yet another milestone in the Su-30 programme. It will be followed by four more, which were taken to the Nashik plant for overhauling in the last two years.

“Overhauling of Su-30 is not even done in Russia. The HAL has taken proactive and alternative measures to ensure mastering and absorption of repair and overhauling technology based on the experience in the manufacturing project,” Dr R K Tyagi, chairman and managing director of the Bangalore-based aviation major, told Deccan Herald.

The assertion from Tyagi comes in the wake of a recent disclosure on the delay in setting up of the ROH facility for Su-30MKI with Russian assistance. 

Several confidential communication between the HAL and Russian officials were accessed by a group of Russian hackers, who put them out on a website.

Approval for ROH facilities was accorded only in 2009. Although four years have passed, the facilities were yet to be set up due to the delay in Russian supplies, a senior HAL official from its Aircraft Overhaul Division, Nashik wrote in his letter to I M Goncharenko, first deputy director general, JSC Rosoboronexport, Moscow.

“Notwithstanding the difficulties that one comes across, especially on supply-chain, in such big projects, the HAL has proactively made the facilities for taking up overhaul of aircraft,” Tyagi said.

Two aircraft were inducted in 2012-13 and three aircraft in 2013-14 till date. The first aircraft is under assembly. “Delivery is expected by August, 2014” he said. India has contracted 272 Su-30MKI from Russia for license produced at HAL. 

So far, close to 170 platforms were inducted, out of which Pune and Bareilly have two squadrons each while Tezpur, Chabua, Halwara and Jodhpur have a squadron (16-18 platforms) each.

A new Su-30 MKI squadron is coming up at Sirsa in Haryana. Moreover, Tezpur, Chabua, Jodhpur and Halwara will get a second squadron after which the last Su-30 MKI squadron will be alloted to the new Thanjavur airbase.

Another reason behind the delay in operationalising of the ROH facility was unavailability of Russian experts for the job. A February 6 communication from HAL suggests “all deputations for installation and commissioning of test equipment and mastering of overhaul technology for aggregates for Su-30 ROH project are put on hold.”

When queried, Tyagi said, “It is no more a problem area and Russian specialists are being deputed as per revised schedule.”