Major suppliers of indigenous Indian aerospace and defense equipment should ensure at least 50 percent of the equipment is procured from original suppliers, while the rest could be outsourced, an industry seminar in Bangalore was told on Monday. “Multiple vendors often come with allied issues, resulting in poor product support. The role of the main integrator is critical for successful exploitation of the product in service,” said Air Commodore Vibhas Pande, the Indian Air Force’s principal director for engineering support.
Pande made a forceful case for the need for Indian suppliers to be able to provide life cycle support. Indigenous equipment supplied ranges from whole aircraft, such as HAL’s Light Combat Aircraft, to radars produced by Rohini. “Support of the OEM during this entire period is a major consideration,” he insisted.
Technology development has made obsolescence inevitable over a period of time particularly in India, argued Pande. “OEMs need to address this issue in its entirety from the design phase and keep up with the growth of technology,” he said. In his view, maintenance, too, should be built into the design phase considering downtime reparability and support equipment is often neglected.
Pande called on OEMs to move from reactive maintenance to reliability-centered maintenance, which recognizes that all subsystems of the main assembly or system are not of equal importance to either the process or system safety. It recognizes that each subsystem’s design and operation differs and that each will have a varying probability of failures under given operating conditions.
Since the present maintenance philosophy relies heavily on the design features of equipment, systems and machinery, a good system design is essential in developing a good maintenance program, he stressed.