Tarmak007 -- A bold blog on Indian defence: IAF Chief Raha to review HAL's Sukhoi, Tejas, Hawk projects

Saturday, June 7, 2014

IAF Chief Raha to review HAL's Sukhoi, Tejas, Hawk projects

In Nasik, Raha will visit the Sukhoi manufacturing and overhaul facilities
Raha is expected to visit state-of-the-art Tejas facilities in Bangalore.
                                                               By Anantha Krishnan M
                                                                 Express News Service

ACM Arup Raha
Bangalore: The Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha will review the ongoing projects of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) during a two-day visit to its facilities in Nasik and Bangalore. Accompanied by Secretary (Defence Production) Gokul Chandra Pati and other senior officials from HAL and IAF, Raha is expected to take stock of all major manufacture, overhaul and upgrade programmes. Sources confirm to Express that it is Raha's first visit to HAL after taking over as the Chief of Air Staff in January this year.
Raha's visit starts with HAL's MiG Complex in Nasik on June 7, where India's frontline fighter Sukhois (Su-30 MKI) are manufactured and overhauled. Sources said that the air chief will visit the flight hangars, ROH (repair and overhaul) facilities, assembly line, machine shop, functional test labs and system test units.
The Air chief is also visiting the enhanced Kopyo (the radar used on MiG fighters) test lab in Nasik. The visit to the Kopyo lab is seen as significant move considering the IAF concerns on the radar in the past. Sources said that the Sukhoi cost escalation issues are unlikely to come up during Raha's visit, since the matter is being taken up at the ministry level.
The chief will also be updated on the technology advancements of Nasik Division, which is the nodal agency for integrating supersonic BrahMos missiles on Sukhoi. Currently one Sukhoi is undergoing system integration tests ahead of the flight trials with the air-launched version of BrahMos. The flight tests are set begin in October and the missile is expected to enter the IAF rolls officially next year.
Raha will arrive in Bangalore on Sunday and review various IAF projects being undertaken at HAL's Bangalore Complex, Helicopter Complex and Design Complex. The state-of-the-art Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas Series Production facility, which is currently abuzz with activities ahead of the expected roll out of the first aircraft (SP-1) in August, will be an important stop for Raha. Though the IAF has already placed confirmed orders of 40 Tejas, HAL is pushing for 200 aircraft as an immediate replacement of the MiGs.
Sources said that the Hawk manufacturing facility, Mirage and Jaguar overhaul/upgrade installations will be on the chief's radar. He will also be shown around the Helicopter Academy to Train by Simulation of Flying (HATSOFF), a JV project between HAL and CAE (Canada).
Visit to strengthen ties: Raha's comprehensive visit to HAL is significant considering the strained relationship IAF had with India's leading Defence Public Sector Undertaking in the recent past. While HAL is keen to take risks and invest its own funds in select projects, IAF feels HAL should focus on its strengths and not venture into projects that might attract delay.
"There are issues and there were issues in the past as well. Today, HAL has improved its record on delivery and serviceability front. We will have more insights from the chief during the visit, which will help us serve the IAF better," said an HAL official at the company headquarters in Bangalore.
Copyright@The New Indian Express

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