IAF presses HAL to meet timelines, production quality
New Delhi, Oct 27 (PTI) The Air Force today pressed for public sector aerospace major HAL maintaining high quality standards of aircraft and helicopters it supplies to the IAF and to meet delivery timelines. On the second day of the IAF’s Commanders Conference, the Air Force leadership met with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) top brass, when the two sides thrashed out issues of quality of products and projects’ deadlines of Sukhoi fighter jets and Hawks trainer aircraft. IAF sources told PTI here today that the IAF leadership, including Air Chief Marshal P V Naik, sought HAL’s support in supply of spares and other equipment for the platforms it delivers to the Air Force. Among other issues flagged by the IAF with the HAL delegation led by its chairman Ashok Nayak included the performance of the MiG complex, where the aging variants of the Russian-origin fighter jets such as MiG-21 and MiG-27 are serviced within India. The IAF also wanted HAL to speed up operationalisation of the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, of which Air Force has ordered two squadrons strength under the Mark I variant and another five squadrons would be ordered under the Mark II variant with a new engine to provide it more power. Apart from the 90-minute review of the HAL’s performance, the IAF commanders also made presentation on their assessment of the security scenarios for their theatres and plans to counter these challenges. “Except for the Eastern Air Command (EAC), for which a special presentation would be held later, all other Air Commands made their presentations today,” the sources said. EAC’s presentation gains significance in view of its areas of responsibility covering the borders with China. IAF has already planned induction of Sukhoi fighter jets at air bases under EAC, apart from strengthening its radar cover and creating new Advanced Landing Grounds for better access to troops. The IAF Commanders also did some crystal-gazing on the future sea-based air operations and over mountainous terrains involving its entire fleet of fighter jets, transport aircraft and helicopters, thereby covering all sides of India’s land and maritime borders with its neighbours, particularly Pakistan and China. Among other issues discussed were new air battle concepts and utilisation of existing and future assets in view of the rapid modernisation efforts underway, including the purchase of 126 medium multirole combat aircraft, development of fifth generation fighter aircraft, acquisition of attack and transport helicopters, induction of airborne early warning and control systems and operationalisation of Air Force Net for net-centric operations.