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MoD backs indigenous HAL trainer, air force to visit HAL for discussions

Discussion in 'Indian Defence Industry' started by Soumya, Aug 31, 2013.

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  1. Soumya

    Soumya Major STAR MEMBER

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    Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd ( HAL) is continuing to develop a made-in-India basic trainer aircraft (BTA), despite Indian Air Force(IAF) attempts to scupper the project. On Monday, a team of top IAF officers will visit Bangalore to discuss with HAL the proposal and roadmap for an Indian trainer, dubbed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer¨C40 (HTT-40).

    Last month, IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, had personally targeted the HTT-40. Writing to Defence Minister AK Antony, Browne asked him to scrap the indigenous trainer, and instead buy 106 BTAs from Swiss company, Pilatus.

    Already, on May 24, 2012, the IAF had bought 75 Pilatus PC-7Mark II trainers for Rs4,000 crore (Swiss Franc 557 million). Browne additionally demanded the purchase of 38 more trainers underan 'Option Clause'; and then 68 more as 'Repeat Procurement'. For Pilatus, that means contracts worth Rs 6,000 crore (Swiss Franc 848 million) without further tendering.

    And for HAL it would mean an end to the HTT-40, which it has defiantly pursued, evencommitting Rs 150 crore of internal funds into the project.

    Top defence ministry (MoD) decision-makers have serious concerns about the air chief¡¯s request. In end-July Business Standard had revealed serious factual inaccuracies in Browne¡¯s letter to Mr Antony. The IAF chief had argued for scrapping the HTT-40 by claiming that the PC-7 MarkII costs Rs 30 crore, far cheaper than the HTT-40. But his calculations were outdated, since the sliding rupee had raised thecost of each PC-7 Mark II (Swiss Francs 6.09 million) to Rs 40 crore. Today each PC-7 Mark II will cost over Rs 43.6 crore.

    Furthermore, the IAF apparently flouted rules by changing some 12 benchmarks between Marchand October 2009, including parameters relating to pilot safety. These changes brought the PC-7 Mark II into compliance with IAF requirements, eventually winning the contract. The CBI enquiry into the VVIP helicopter purchase fromAgusta Westland is centred on how requirements were changed.
    On Aug 12, at the launching of INS Vikramaditya in Kochi, Mr Antony had bluntly stated that the HTT-40 project would continue.

    Also raising eyebrows within the MoD is the alacrity with which the IAF grounded the HPT-32 trainer after a fatal crash in 2009, creatinga pilot training crisis that opened the door for the purchase of the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II.

    The HPT-32 was labelled unsafe after 19 pilots were killed in 17 accidents over23 years of flying, during which the HPT-32 logged 4,00,000 flighthours. That is less than one crash per year on average.

    In contrast, the IAF continues to fly the MiG-21,despite a far more horrific safety record. In Jun 2003, then IAF head,Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy,revealed that 98 MiG-21 crashes had occurred in 5,53,000 sorties between 1994-2003, claiming 43 lives --- a record twice as bad as the HPT-32.

    MiG fighters have sustained this trend over four decades. According to figures tabled in parliament by Mr Antony, 482 IAF MiGs (of all types) have crashed over the years, killing 171 IAF pilots, 8 other servicemen, and 39 civilians.

    Senior MoD officials are now questioning whether the HPT-32 was deliberately grounded to make way for foreign trainers. Grounding the MiG-21 would not have led to import. It would only have increased pressure on the IAF to order the Tejas LCA in larger numbers.

    On Jun 25, 2003, when asked why the IAF continued with the MiG-21 despite so many crashes, Air Chief Marshal Krishnaswamy retorted, 'It is my responsibility to exploit every IAF aircraft to the end of its service life. I can¡¯t just throw out serviceable aircraft, demanding modernisation.'
    Today, the IAF is throwing out 110 HPT-32. The majority of them are good to continue till 2018-2024, even if they fly 250 hours per year, a reasonable average for a trainer. More than 2000 IAF pilots --- including the IAF chief and his son, a Sukhoi-30MKI pilot --- have learned to fly on the HPT-32.

    MoD sources confirm that HAL has thrice offered to develop a successor to the HPT-32, but the IAF has stymied each proposal.The HAL Chairman in 1985, Air Marshal LM Katre, who would go on to become IAF chief, fitted a more powerful engine to the HPT-32, creating a newtrainer --- called HTT-34 --- which obtained full certification. But the IAF inexplicably refused to accept it.

    In July 1993, HAL again sentthe IAF a detailed 'Project Definition Phase Report' for a new trainer. The IAF again did not respond. Again, in Feb 2004, HAL submitted a detailed proposal to Air Headquarters. Again there was no response.

    MoD backs indigenous HAL trainer, air force to visit HAL for discussions | Business Standard
     
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  2. chachachoudhary

    chachachoudhary Captain SENIOR MEMBER

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    IAF bastards will continue to discourage HAL. HAL should continue with its plans and deliver the trainer in time. IAF maggots will not utter a word against MIGs to keep their russian masters happy, while rejecting any Indian product for slightest of error.

    Time for a shooting squad to do some cleansing.
     
  3. Soumya

    Soumya Major STAR MEMBER

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    Meeting in Bangalore today over the Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40

    Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is continuing with developing a made-in-India basic trainer aircraft, despite attempts by the Indian Air Force(IAF) to scupper the project. On Monday, top IAF air marshals would visit Bangalore to discuss with HAL the proposal and a road map for an Indian trainer, dubbed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer–40 (HTT-40).

    Last month, IAF boss, Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, had personally targeted the HTT-40. In a letter to Defence Minister A K Antony, Browne asked for the scrapping of the project to build 106 indigenous basic trainer aircraft (BTA). Instead, Browne wants 106 BTAs to be bought from Swiss company Pilatus. These would supplement 75 PC-7 Mark II trainers already contracted last year with Pilatus for Rs 4,000 crore (Swiss Franc 557 million).

    Browne’s letter demanded the immediate purchase of 38 more Pilatus trainers under an “Option Clauseâ€; and then 68 more as “Repeat Procurementâ€. For Pilatus, that means contracts worth Rs 6,000 crore (Swiss Franc 848 million) without further tendering.

    The defence minister has not acceded to that request. For HAL, this means a lease of life to the HTT-40 project, which it has pursued with Rs 150 crore of company funds.

    Business Standard has learnt that top defence ministry (MoD) decision-makers have serious concerns about the air chief’s request. In end-July, this newspaper had revealed serious factual inaccuracies in Browne’s letter to Antony. The IAF chief had claimed the Swiss trainer cost just Rs 30 crore, far cheaper than the HTT-40. But his calculations were incorrect, since the sliding rupee had raised the cost of each PC-7 Mark II (Swiss Francs 6.09 million) to Rs 40 crore. At current exchange rates, each PC-7 Mark II will cost over Rs 43 crore.

    Pilatus is paid for each trainer at the time it is delivered. Several of the 15 trainers delivered so far have cost Rs 41 crore each; the Swiss company will be paid Rs 43 crore for each PC-7 Mark II delivered today.

    Further, the IAF inexplicably diluted 12 benchmarks between March and October 2009, including some relating to pilot safety. These changes benefited Pilatus, bringing the PC-7 Mark II into compliance with the tender specifications.

    Procurement rules prohibit diluting or changing equipment specifications. The on-going CBI enquiry into the VVIP helicopter purchase from AgustaWestland is specifically examining how the requirements were changed to benefit AgustaWestland.

    Also raising eyebrows within the MoD is the alacrity with which the IAF grounded the HPT-32 trainer after a fatal crash in 2009. Grounding this aircraft, on which IAF rookie pilots learnt to fly, created a training crisis that opened the door for the purchase of the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II.

    The IAF labelled the HPT-32 unsafe after 19 pilots were killed in 17 accidents over 23 years of flying, during which the HPT-32 logged 4,00,000 flight hours. That is less than one crash per year on average, a tragedy for the victims but not unusual in flight training.

    In contrast, the IAF continued flying the MiG-21, despite its far more horrific safety record. In June 2003, then IAF head, Air Chief Marshal S Krishnaswamy, told the media that 98 MiG-21 crashes had occurred in 5,53,000 sorties in 1994-2003, claiming 43 lives — a record twice as bad as the HPT-32.

    MiG fighters have sustained this alarming trend over four decades. Antony has told Parliament that 482 IAF MiGs (of all types) have crashed over the years, killing 171 IAF pilots, eight other servicemen, and 39 civilians.

    Grounding the MiG-21 would not have led to the import of a fighter. It would only have increased pressure on the IAF to induct the indigenous Tejas LCA more quickly. But senior MoD officials wonder whether the HPT-32 was unnecessarily grounded to make way for a foreign trainer.

    On June 25, 2003, when asked why the IAF continued with the MiG-21 despite so many crashes, Air Chief Marshal Krishnaswamy retorted, “It is my responsibility to exploit every IAF aircraft to the end of its service life. I can’t just throw out serviceable aircraft.â€

    Today, the IAF has thrown out 110 HPT-32 trainers. Most of these could fly till 2018-2024, assuming an average of 250 flying hours per year. More than 2000 IAF pilots — including the IAF chief and his son, a Sukhoi-30MKI pilot — have learnt to fly on the HPT-32.

    Once grounded, the HPT-32 was never allowed to fly again. HAL implemented a series of safety recommendations made by a high-power committee, headed by an IAF air vice marshal. This included fitting each HPT-32 with a parachute recovery system that would safely bring down an aircraft that had suffered engine failure. But the IAF did not allow any further testing of the trainer.

    Interestingly, over the last two decades, HAL has twice offered the IAF a modern trainer. In July 1993, HAL submitted a detailed proposal for building a trainer called the HTT-35, even fabricating a full-scale mock up. Air Headquarters did not respond. In February 2004, HAL submitted another detailed proposal, which the IAF again ignored. The fate of the HTT-40 is now in the MoD’s hands.

    Meeting in Bangalore today over the Hindustan Turbo Trainer-40 | idrw.org
     
  4. neil_diablos

    neil_diablos Lieutenant SENIOR MEMBER

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    For us, the common citizens, it is really difficult to figure out whats true and what not. On one hand we see an instance where HAL is being victimised. On the other hand there are several instances where the armed forces are victimised. One such classic example is the INSAS rifle which the army is forced to use. One of my colleagues elder brother works at Ishapore rifle factory where the INSAS is manufactured and tested and this is what he had to say....

     
  5. layman

    layman Aurignacian STAR MEMBER

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    Wondering HAL doesnt have the confidence and trust of IAF, they should work in that lineage to work out any differences and IAF should also know India is developing not anything and everything should be brought offshelf.
     
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