NEW DELHI: The country’s top auditor has slammed the Indian Air Force for sub-optimal utilisation of operational capabilities of AWACS (air borne warning and control system) aircraft purchased in 2004 for Rs 5,042 crore and has said shortage of aircrew may impact the operations of the planes during hostilities.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India also slammed the low serviceability of the Sukhois, country’s front-line combat aircraft.
Without identifying the AWACS aircraft acquired from Russia, the audit body said Defence Ministry concluded a contract (March 2004) for procurement of three ‘AA’ and its sub-systems at a cost of Rs 5,042 crore.
AWACS is capable of operating as an Airborne Command & Control Centre for conducting offensive and defensive air operations.
“There was sub-optimal utilisation of operational capabilities of ‘AA’ in terms of flying task achieved mainly due to un-serviceability of ‘AA’. Besides, scope for increasing operational efficiency of ‘AA’ aircraft was restricted due to absence of training to aircrew on air to air refuelling (AAR) and non-acquisition of additional land for extension of runway length at AF Station ‘S-3’,” the CAG said in its report submitted to the Parliament.
It said there was delay in installation of Ground Exploitation Station (GES) at intended location (‘S-1’) due to lack of due diligence in planning of work services.
“There was shortage of aircrew which may impact the operations of the ‘AA’ aircraft during hostilities. No long-term arrangement existed for repair and maintenance of ‘AA’ which was being managed with interim maintenance services contract,” it said.
The audit body said supply of defective Automatic Test Equipment for Communication System, the non-supply of ‘I’ level facility for Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) system and short provisioning of stores/rotables had adversely affected the serviceability of ‘AA’.
“Certain infrastructure facilities were not synchronised with the induction of ‘AA’ as there was delay in completion of work services for modified hangars, independent storage facility and separate training-cum-accommodation centre at AF Station ‘S-3’, which affected smooth functioning of ‘AA’,” the report said.
Talking about the Su-30 aircraft, which the CAG identified as ‘C’, it said shortfalls in performance of aircraft and airborne system as received were yet (August 2015) to be resolved.
“Setting up of service support centres was inordinately delayed for want of required systems/equipment. Serviceability of aircraft fleet was also low.
“Manpower for ‘C’ aircraft squadron was not sanctioned even after 19 years of its induction,” CAG said.
Source: Defense News