SOURCE: AARAV SHARMA/ FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
India’s state-owned aerospace and defence company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been in the news of late after Indian National Congress Party accused current government of denying work to HAL and selecting private defense companies with zero experience over state owned company. While HAL which is in charge of the production of country’s homegrown LCA-Tejas program is yet to shift gears in terms of speeding up production of the aircraft even after several requests from the Defence ministry and Indian Air force.
HAL has flight tested and handed over only one brand new LCA-Tejas aircraft ( SP-10/LA-5010 ) in the first six months of this financial year 2018-19 and yet, continues to promise to deliver 10-12 more of brand new LCA-Tejas by end of this fiscal which not many in the air force and defense ministry are buying.
For the first half of the financial year 2017-18, HAL handed over a single LCA-Tejas Mark 1 (SP-06/LA-5006) aircraft which was followed up with deliveries of SP-07/LA-5007, SP-08/LA-5008, SP-09/LA-5009 in the second half of FY-2017-18. With deliveries of just four LCA-Tejas for FY-2017-18, HAL barely achieved 50% of the target last year, yet HAL has not showcased no urgency or has taken any measures to speed up the production or clear the backlogs.
With IAF likely to take control over LCA-Tejas Mark 1A project in near future soon, HAL’s promised first flight of Mark 1A aircraft by 2019 is also fast fading and LCA-Tejas program not only fast requires the participation of private defense sector taking over its production even though no private defense company in India ever assembled a fighter jet before to save the program from falling out with the forces due to HAL’s incapacitates.