Indian Air Force veteran backs air chief’s remarks on HAL

Bengaluru:  Though Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa’s remarks on  delays caused by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd has surprised many, many Indian Air Force veterans lauded the air chief for being straightforward.

Air Marshal (Retd) B.K. Pandey said the statement of the Air Chief was accurate and true. "In 2001 a tender was floated and in 2007, a tender for 126 aircraft was opened. In 2012, a commercial bid got stuck at HAL. Dassault had carried an assessment of HAL and reached the conclusion that there was no guarantee of quality and timeliness," he said.

Air Chief on Wednesday said that there was three years delay in the delivery of Sukhoi, five years delay in Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), two years delay in the delivery of Mirage 2000 upgrade and six years delay in Jaguar.

Air Marshal Pandey opined that the delays jeopardise  national security. "More than HAL I would say that the government should take note of the problems. It must ensure that the organisation functions efficiently," he said.

Citing the example of HF-24 Marut, developed by HAL, the retired Air Marshal said that the first fighter-bomber aircraft did not live up to the expectations.

Deccan Chronicle tried speaking to HAL officials, but the company spokesman Gopal Sutar said that as of now they do not have anything to say over air chief's remarks on HAL.

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