HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts?

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by Ganesh2691, Aug 18, 2013.

  1. Ganesh2691

    Ganesh2691 Regular Member

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    Better engines, advanced auto-pilot systems, among others, being looked into, for this 50s aircraft. What, then, happens to the program to replace it?

    [​IMG]

    The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited [HAL] recently issued a 'Request For Information' [RFI] for a proposal to replace the Gas Turbine-powered turbo-prop engines of the Indian Air Force's [IAF] Hawker Siddeley's Avro HS 748 medium-lift transport aircraft. It seeks to replace the currently used British Rolls-Royce Dart 533-2 & 536-2T engines, which HAL license-built, with a modern solution that churns out more power, demonstrates better fuel efficiency1, and also weighs less & has dimensions no bigger than the ones presently used. To get an idea of how old the engines & the aircraft it powers are, the engine has already found its way into HAL's Heritage Museum, its manufacturer in India, even as it powers this IAF aircraft, as of today.

    [​IMG]

    Any change of Engine would also likely require change to systems connected to it, like the Gear Box transferring power to the aircraft's auxiliary systems, like Cabin Supercharger, Tachometer, Generator etc, possibly requiring their replacement too. HAL, over the past one year, has been issuing similar notification soliciting 'Expression of Interest' for other sub-systems for incorporating into this aircraft, like improved Autopilot system & Weather Radar, fitting it with Multi-Function Display [MFD] & Flight Data Recorder [FDR], that would, no doubt, lessen its obsolescence.

    HAL states that 59 flight-worthy HS-748 airframes in the country, have notched relatively fewer flying hours of around 350 hours/annum & have, thus, substantial residual life of around 80,000 hours to warrant such an upgrade. The HAL website informs of already having carried out a limited upgrade of its Navigation & Communication systems. However, given the nature of systems, like its engine & radar, that is sought to be replaced this time, one could infer that this possible life-extension move aims to prolong its use much beyond 2020, when it was expected to cease service with the IAF. 59, actually 56, is also the number that is sought to be replaced. So essentially, HAL is asserting that entire fleet of these IAF aircrafts have sufficient life left in them, so as to preclude any replacement plans. This being the case, it raises an interesting question. One has been reading reports suggesting a move to replace these aircrafts, designed in the 1950s, with a contemporary solution. In fact, as being bandied, it would have been a showcase project, of sorts, wholly undertaken by the country's private sector, with no involvement of the state-owned monopoly, the HAL, in the production process. However, given the stifling nature of current policies governing domestic Defence production, & the military's habit of placing orders in a piecemeal manner, that wouldn't afford first-time manufacturers the benefit of economies of scale, this move to let India Inc. handle the project hasn't been met with the kind of enthusiasm GoI had hoped for. No reports in the MSM to suggest any forward movement on this front.

    This HAL-issued notification also leads one to ask if the IAF is already on board this proposal, or whether HAL hopes to sell this idea to its captive customer, once it itself is suitably confident of its viability. If one were a betting person, one would bet money on the fact that it is the latter. For one, there are no reports presently in the MSM that indicate any intent to go the upgrade route. With the Govt already having decided to let the private sector handle the Avro-replacement project, HAL would essentially be bereft of any share in this pie, if the proposal does see fructification. Thus, it would make great sense for it to extract maximum possible mileage from this aircraft, which it license produced, by prolonging its use with the IAF, possibly even scuttling the original one. Not factoring in maintainability of a vintage system, the economic cost of this upgrade is likely to be much lower than building a new airframe from the ground up. Given the recent depreciation of the Indian Rupee. that continues, any proposal that promises to lessen the burden on the state exchequer is likely to get a sympathetic hearing too. Going in HAL's favour is also the, aforementioned, near non-response from India Inc.. Any such HAL intentions is presently at a preliminary stage, as it has only just issued a RFI.

    One of the requirement that stands out is the need for one of the engines to operate in "Hotel Mode" - keeping one of the engines running when the bird is on the ground, but preventing propeller movement, for powering the HS 748's electrical systems, even when not flying. This function is normally performed by an Auxiliary Power Unit [APU]. The HS748 is believed to be fitted with a British Rover Company-built small Gas Turbine engine for this purpose. Use of the aircraft's main engine in 'Hotel Mode' precludes the use of an APU, leading to weight savings. However, its use in this manner poses some significant drawbacks. Most obvious one among them being the differential wearing of the engines, the one used for this purpose would fail faster. Besides this, it also poses certain operational hazards. Considering that the propeller is prevented from rotating using a braking arrangement, failure of the brake would lead to a catastrophic situation if there are human presence in the vicinity at that moment. It would, therefore, require adoption of Standard Operating Procedures [SOP] that address this hazard. It is thus a trade-off between a less hazardous work environment or weight saving, something HAL would surely have given sufficient thought to prior to stipulating such requirement.

    [​IMG]

    Coming back to the issue at hand, that of upgrading this aircraft, it surely is an interesting proposition, though one can't say one agrees with the proposal, in the limited amount of time one has thought about it. Ensuring continued reliability & maintainability of an aircraft is an equally capital intensive proposition, whose value piles up through the passage of time. This is especially true for a legacy platform such as the Avro HS-748. Present financial conditions permitting, It would be much more prudent & cost-effective, in the long run, to operate a modern aircraft, instead of flogging an old horse, however well-rested it is claimed to be. As rightly envisaged by the Government, this Avro replacement program is an ideal springboard for adding capacity & building capability in the private sector, boosting indigenous production, spurring healthy competition, breaking the shackles of monopoly of state-owned DPSU, all leading to a satisfied & confident customer - the Indian Armed Force. The Government would be well-advised in expending its political capital in ensuring that the original programme gets off the metaphorical ground & all HS-748 aircrafts are honourably retired, before they begin acquiring notorious reputations.

    http://www.aame.in/2013/08/hal-proposing-upgradation-of-iaf-avro.html
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    Waste of money and time.

    However great to show wasteful productivity from a brain dead organisation!
     
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  4. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    IMHO, it is a good proposition to upgrade AVROs which will not cost even one billion then to go for a multibillion dollar purchase of new equipment. The billions saved shud be used to develop a new ac within India as a replacement of AN-32 and AVRO ten years down the line. Such an ac can borrow heavily from C-130J and cud be a scaled down C-130J with two engines instead of four. I had earlier also suggested that LM had offered to shift the complete assembly line of C-130 to India if India ordered about 50 odd C-130s. The upgraded AVROs can be kept for use by Paramilitary forces who do not operate from ALGs and the new C-130s can take the job from few AN-32s, releasing AN-32s for the jobs presently being done by AVROs.
     
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  5. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    what a wasteful statement from the Chairman like you sir!!!!
     
  6. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    This Upgrade wont change the airframe..

    Airframe of these Aircraft are too old and may not able to take new powerful engines..

    It is better to get new Aircraft such as C-27J..
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    Bully for you,

    Could you explain the utility of a turboprop transport aircraft with very little carriage capacity in today's combat environment?

    Bless you!
     
  8. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    sir,with due respects, if I start revealing all the details how much we are being fleeced by the foreign firms from whom we are procuring, we all end up having sleepless nights... so neither i will reveal nor i will elaborate as i am not spokesperson authorized to do so... that is with regards to upgradation of avros by HAL....if AVRO is not useful then why are we looking at C27,C295 etc....
     
  9. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    One think is indeed an questions ..

    There is no place for AVRO as there are AN-32 and now these will be replaced by C-130J and MTA in future ..

    For VIP roles IAF operate > 9 x VIP 737, 4 x Private jets ..

    What role does AVRO plays ?
     
  10. sasi

    sasi Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think "KICKBACK" role.
     
  11. Somreet Bhattacharya

    Somreet Bhattacharya Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    U see no matter how much u reveal, accept the fact that we still cannot produce a replacement for the AVRO, so we have to go for the procurement way. And as Kunal Sir said, it is highly unlikely that the air frames will be able to take on the new engines. I am also not sure about the utility of Avros in today's scenario as Ray Sir mentioned, it is good to go for something like a Spartan, which has a higher lift capacity. U can't just have showoffs in an Air Force when you spend money on that...and as for HAL, I feel they must concentrate on the projects they have in hand..than go for upgrade programs.
     
  12. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    Home ministry even today charters planes from AI and IAF to ferry para military troops. They do not need ac like AN-32 which have ramps but ac fitted with seats. AVRO is perfect for that role. I had stated that we shud go in for more C-130Js and upgrade these AVROs for use by para-military forces.
     
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  13. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    AVROs have tons of life in them and that can be further extended by an update and better new efficient more powerful engines. My support for AVRO reengine is based on the idea that we shud use our finances in developing an all new ac in next ten years rather than go for expansive purchase which will not add anything to our def capabilities. Let us use a Public-Private route for it why just HAL only?
     
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  14. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    Sir, Afaik BSF have its own air-wing and they primarily use AVRO, Why not Gov transfer all the AVRO to BSF ?

    This way it wont be on IAF budgets ..

    ===================

    That is absolute ..

     
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  15. Decklander

    Decklander New Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    The idea of having new transporter is precisely this. It is for IAF and also Home ministry. BSF comes under HM. That is what I also stated, go for more C-130J for IAF, and upgrade AVROs for Para-military forces.
     
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  16. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    kunal ji, AVROs are used as flying labs for validating new avionics, there was an AWACS program using AVRO which went awry!!! instead of spending billions on new planes ,carry out upgrades on AVROs on similar lines with AN32s. Pvt industries wants to make fast bucks only..what tanaeja aerospace is doing after so many years of existence?
     
  17. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    you please ask the same question to NAL...still there is no sight of SARAS!!! Through upgrades one can generate work!!! They can be structurally strengthened first, fitted with new fuel efficient engines,new generation of avionics(which pvt industry has got a product to offer?) etc..
     
  18. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    . HPT-32 fuel blockage problem could have been studied by TAAL and they could have offered a working solution..who stopped them from doing so?
     
  19. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    my edit option is blocked by Mr.Singh...the mod...
     
  20. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Re: HAL Proposing Upgradation Of IAF's Avro HS-748 Transport Aircrafts

    @venkat, those issues you are pointing out are correct on there grounds..
     
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  21. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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