Defense Minister Attacks Indian Program Delays
India’s defense minister A K Antony today admonished the country’s Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO) for “delays in delivery” and said he was “impatient” to see completion of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program. Antony was addressing the “Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment” seminar held as part of the biennial Aero India show in Bangalore.
“I am happy for your achievements at DRDO but not fully happy,” said the minister. “Delay in delivery is a real problem… Try to speed up your process and reduce time [taken] for research, development and production. Delays should be avoided.”
“The very long gestation period of development in aerospace products introduces elements of additional challenges for all the agencies….. It is imperative to ensure that the user requirements are met and the design of these requirements are finalized as early as possible,” said Antony.
On the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) program that has been in development for over 20 years, he acknowledged that the DRDO is getting ready for the second initial operational clearance (IOC) of the indigenous fighter but declared that, “I am impatient for the final operational clearance.”
On the Intermediate Jet Trainer program also being developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Antony said: “That [IJT] project is delayed, delayed, delayed! You must focus on that project and by next conference that should be ready.” The Indian Air Force’s Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne concurred, saying, “So far our modernization plans have been restricted due to slippages in time lines of many of our projects.” He said that the companies involved should be subjected to financial penalties, either by withholding further payments or by recovering money already spent.