The unending delays in the supply of the Sukhoi-30 MKI jet fighter and the Intermediate Jet Trainer (IJT) to the Indian Air Force are symptomatic of the inefficient manner in which the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) functions.
The indigenisation of the Sukhoi aircraft has more or less remained a pipe dream. It was supposed to reach an indigenisation level of 50-55 per cent in Phase IV of the delivery schedule, which doesn’t seem to have been achieved. Only four out of the 60 aircraft that were supposed to have been delivered to the IAF according to the schedule, have actually been handed over.
This is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the mess in PSUs like HAL and Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML) is concerned. Through their inefficiency and lack of transparency, these companies in effect, end up serving the interests of the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), by importing the equipment concerned in the first place and impeding the indigenisation process even further.
However, the most ridiculous fallout of the delays is that the IAF has been recruiting fewer number of pilots, with there not being enough IJTs for them to train on. This faulty policy can lead to a scenario where the IAF would find itself stuck with an inadequate number of pilots even if the aircraft supply gap were to be adjusted.
The only way out is to implement the BK Chaturvedi committee’s recommendation of restructuring the HAL. The Ministry of Defence could even consider going to the extent of splitting it into several separate units. As for the pilots, if need be, the air force should send them abroad for training and not allow the shortage of trainers to impede its manpower policies.
-via India Today.