Terming time slippages as a "real problem" for the defence forces, Defence Minister A K Antony today pulled up the DRDO for "delays in delivery" of military projects and said he was "impatient" to see completion of LCA project.
"I am happy for your achievements of DRDO but not fully happy. Delay in delivery is a real problem... Try to speed up your process and reduce time for research, development and production. Delays should be avoided," he said while addressing an international seminar here.
The seminar 'Aerospace products- challenges in design to deployment' was held as part of the biennial Aero India show.
On the Light Combat Aircraft 'Tejas' project, he said the DRDO was getting ready for the second Initial Operational Clearance (IOC) of the indigenous fighter but "I am impatient for the Final Operational Clearance
The LCA project has been delayed by more than 20 years.
After the FOC for the aircraft, the aircraft would be ready to be deployed for operational deployment in the
The Defence Minister also expressed concern over the delay in the Intermediate Jet Trainer
(IJT) programme being developed by HAL, saying the IAF has "problems" with it.
"That (IJT) project is delayed delayed delayed. You must focus on that project and by next conference that should be ready," he said.
Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne also expressed his unhappiness over the delays in development projects.
"So far our modernisation plans have been restricted due to slippages in time lines of many of our projects," he said.
The IAF chief also suggested imposition of "financial penalties in case of poor performance of the work centre, either by withholding further payments or recovery of money already spent."
To avoid problems in development projects in future, Browne suggested there should be "dual assessment" and the production and design agencies should be one.
In the LCA project, the design agency is Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) of DRDO while HAL is the production agency.
In his address, the Defence Minister urged both private and public sector to shed their "miserly attitude" and increase their allocation for research and development in their companies.
"I am not satisfied with the investment in R&D in government also. The private sector is very very poor in R&D sector," he said.
Antony said to continue the momentum of rising GDP and growing economy, the Indian industry will have to match up with global standards and for that investment in R&D will have to be increased.
He warned the Indian industry that "era of cheap labour and cheap access to natural resources" is going to be over soon and the only way they could be able to match up with the global industry would be through increased efficiency.
Commenting on a future project to replace 56 Avro aircraft in the IAF, Antony said the Government has tried to give more role to the private sector despite HAL being "little unhappy and little angry" over it.
"We are giving more space to the private industry. Even though HAL is little unhappy and little angry, it has agreed to give chance to Indian private sector for the Avro replacement
programme, it is a beginning," he said.
The Minister said if the programme succeeds, it will create rivals for the HAL, which so far does not have any competition.
"They will also see competition. I want some rivals for HAL. That is how HAL would become world-class company," he said.
Under the Avro replacement project, the IAF is planning to issue a global tender next month under which Indian private sector companies would be allowed to form joint ventures with foreign companies to produce transport aircraft.
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