Low quality equipment delays AJT production

Low quality equipment delays AJT production

24 AJTs were to be imported from the UK, while the rest was to be licensed-produced at the HAL.

“The assembly jigs that were supplied did not meet the requirements, there was mismatch in the kits and components supplied and defects in major assemblies like the wing spar etc. These problems took time to overcome and hence affected the production schedule at HAL,” M M Pallam Raju, minister of state for defence said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

After more than two decades of protracted negotiations, India signed the Rs 8,000 crore deal with UK-based BAE Systems in 2004 for procuring 66 Hawk AJTs for training Indian Air Force pilots and reduce fighter crashes due to human error.
While 24 AJTs were to be imported from UK, the rest was to be licensed-produced at the HAL. The first imported Hawk landed in Bidar air base in 2007.

Delivery of the remaining 42 Hawks aircraft was originally scheduled from 2007-2008 to 2010 – 2011 in a phased manner.

Three aircraft were to be built from semi-knocked down (SKD) kits, three from completely knocked down (CKD) kits and 36 from raw material phase. The CKD and SKD kits were assembled on schedule.

But when production in raw material phase was taken up, it was found that the equipment supplied by the original equipment manufacturer – BAE Systems – had various defects.

HAL has manufactured 12 aircraft till now, three in 2008-2009 and nine in 2009-2010, including the first aircraft from raw material phase, Raju said.

The minister, however, maintained that the delay in delivery schedule of AJTs by HAL was not affecting the IAF. Incidentally, the Comptroller and Auditor General in a 2009 audit report pointed out the slippages in delivery schedules and pricing anomalies in supply of spares in the Hawk deal.

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