A disturbing spat between IAF and HAL has been detailed in a new public document. A new report by India's national audit watchdog, the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) has thrown fresh and damning light on how HAL dealt with a flight control phenomenon that has given its chopper division real nightmares over the last few years -- cyclic saturation. The phenomenon caused two crashes of the Dhruv -- the first, in February 2007 at Yelahanka and the second in October 2009 in Ecuador. Troublingly, the report reveals, it was this "limitation of control saturation" that caused Chile to pull out of a near final contract in July 2007.
Now, the really damning stuff. Revealed in the report, for the first time, is how the Indian Air Force reacted to the February 2007 crash, in which it lost two helicopter display pilots. According to the report, the IAF observed that (i) HAL has referred to this problem in the flight manual which is brief and lacks clarity; (ii) HAL has been reluctant to address this problem in totality as it feared disruption of ALH production process; (iii) This approach of HAL to safeguard its business even at the cost of a professional approach to solving the problem has serious flight safety and operational implications for the Indian Air Force (v) HAL, as an industry, has rarely looked to exploiting its aircraft.