IAF diluted al least 12 benchmarks for trainer aircraft

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by power_monger, Dec 25, 2014.

  1. power_monger

    power_monger Regular Member

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    IAF diluted al least 12 benchmarks for trainer aircraft

    Retired Air Chief Marshal S P Tyagi, former Indian Air Force (IAF) head, faces a Central Bureau of Investigation chargesheet for allegedly diluting a single specification of the VVIP helicopter that India was buying.

    In the Air Staff Qualitative Requirements (ASQR), the helicopter’s service ceiling was lowered from 6,000 to 4,500 metres. This made the AW-101 helicopter eligible and its Anglo-Italian manufacturer, AgustaWestland, bagged the euro 556 million (Rs 4,377 crore) IAF contract for 12 helicopters.

    That violation, now under investigation, is dwarfed in the IAF’s purchase of the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II basic trainer aircraft (BTA), where at least 12 benchmarks were changed between March and October 2009, including some relating to pilot safety. These allowed the PC-7 Mark II, fielded by Swiss company Pilatus, to qualify and win an IAF order worth $640 million (Rs 3,780 crore) for 75 BTA.

    Business Standard is in possession of the documents relating to this case. Asked for comments, the IAF has chosen not to respond.

    The documents reveal that up to September 29, 2009, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) was indigenously developing 181 BTA for the IAF, dubbed the Hindustan Turbo Trainer–40 (HTT–40). On March 5, 2009, IAF laid down stringent performance benchmarks, dubbed Preliminary Air Staff Qualitative Requirements or PSQR.

    These began getting diluted in September 2009, when the ministry of defence (MoD) permitted IAF to import 75 BTA through a global tender. Within days, the IAF issued a relaxed ASQR, in a document numbered ASQR 18/09. While the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II would not have met the earlier PSQR formulated for HAL, the new ASQR seem almost tailored for Pilatus.

    Among the 12 dilutions Business Standard has identified, the most worrisome is doing away with the requirement for a ‘zero-zero ejection seat’. This allows pilots to eject even from a stationary aircraft on the ground (zero altitude, zero speed). The October 2009 ASQR does not require a zero-zero ejection seat. Since the PC-7 Mk II has ‘zero-60’ ejection seats, i.e. the aircraft must be moving at 60 knots (110 kmph), dropping the earlier requirement made it eligible for the IAF contract.

    The PSQR of March 2009 required the BTA to have a pressurised cockpit, letting the trainee fly at altitudes above 15-20,000 feet. But the ASQR of October 2009 dispensed with this. The PC-7 Mark II has an unpressurised cockpit.

    Also diluted was the requirement for good external vision from the instructor’s rear cockpit, a crucial attribute in a BTA. The PSQR of March 2009 mandated a field of view of ‘minus eight degree vision’ for the rear cockpit. The ASQR of October 2009 dispensed with it, specifying only, “the rear cockpit should be sufficiently raised to allow safe flight instruction”. The PC-7 Mark II, which does not meet the eight-degree specification, became eligible.

    ‘Glide ratio’ is another important attribute for a light, single-engine aircraft. The glide ratio of 12:1 specified in the March 2009 PSQR meant the trainer could glide, in the event of an engine failure or shutdown, a distance of 12 km for every one km of altitude that it lost. Which would enable a BTA flying at an altitude of five km to glide for 60 km, landing safely at any airport within that distance. But the October 2009 ASQR relaxed the glide-ratio requirement to 10:1. That is precisely the glide-ratio of the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II.

    The ASQR of October 2009 also relaxed the requirement for ‘in-flight simulation’. This permits the instructor in the rear cockpit to electronically simulate instrument failures, training the rookie pilot to handle an emergency. The PSQR of March 2009 required this facility; the HTT-40 being developed by HAL also has these. The PC-7 Mark II does not and the relaxation of this condition made it eligible for the IAF tender.

    Other relaxations that made the Pilatus trainer eligible include increasing the take-off distance from 700 to 1,000 metres and reducing maximum speed from 475 kmph to 400 kmph.

    On Monday, this newspaper had reported (Indian Air Force at war with Hindustan Aeronautics; wants to import, not build, a trainer) about a personal letter earlier this month from Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne, the present IAF chief, to Defence Minister A K Antony, asking for HAL’s trainer project to be scrapped and another 106 PC-7 Mark II trainers be imported from Pilatus, a purchase that will benefit the Swiss company by an estimated $800 million (Rs 4,750 crore).

    Browne’s involvement with the basic trainer dates back several years. From March 2007 to May 2009, he was Deputy Chief of Air Staff (DCAS) at IAF headquarters, handling all acquisitions. Four months after he handed over to Air Marshal N V Tyagi (not to be confused with the former IAF chief, S P Tyagi), the IAF issued the ASQR, with the relaxations that benefited Pilatus.

    Asked for comments, N V Tyagi told Business Standard the PSQR of March 2009 set unrealistically high standards for HAL to meet. These were lowered in the October 2009 ASQR because the IAF was going for global procurement. Lower standards would bring in more vendors and generate competition.

    Says Tyagi, "The earlier PSQRs matched the performance of the Embraer Super Tucano, which many IAF officers considered a good trainer. But the IAF didn't believe that HAL could build such a trainer quickly. After a series of HPT-32 crashes (then the IAF’s basic trainer), it was decided in September 2009 to buy 75 basic trainers from the global market. Fresh QRs were framed in order to bring as many vendors as possible into the tender."

    The question remains — why were exacting standards set for a HAL-built trainer lowered when it came to an international purchase?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2014
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  3. power_monger

    power_monger Regular Member

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    New and New reports are comming everyday which indicates the rampant corruption within Indian army and Indian airforce which was hell bent on killiging indigenious development blaming DRDO on a drop of the hat.hopefully government take complete action against the culprits.
     
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  4. LordOfTheUnderworlds

    LordOfTheUnderworlds Regular Member

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    Armed forces and Judiciary have for long time been without any accountability, despite many instances of clear evidence of infiltration by the dalaals. At least a few of the higher officials need to go to jail to make an example if the system has to be changed and cleaned.
     
  5. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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  6. Hari Sud

    Hari Sud Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is not truth and the only truth. There probably are more skeletons.

    In a rush HTT 40 made some design blunders, which it will take a few years to correct.

    What we have to see is that - Did IAF lead HAL into a deliberate blunder by having one spec. for internal maker of trainer and another spec. to import it?

    Do not take an enquiry route, it takes too long and nothing comes out of it. Just grab the bunch who were making deliberate misleading specs. and dismiss them and take away their money which they may have acquired. Easiest way to do it is to take away their passports so that they cannot go to Switzerland to withdraw cash. If they have accepted bribes, then safest place for them to keep it is in Switzerland. If they cannot go there, they cannot withdraw that money. Nobody else can withdraw it on their behalf.

    A warning, I am sceptical of Ajay Shukla and his research.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  7. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pilatus is a good trainer. However the issue is maintaining a fleet dependent on a number of overseas suppliers of parts who can not only jack up prices at random but also stop supplies when needed most. So India cannot rely on this purchase alone and HTT40 still needs to fly.

    IAF should consider Pilatus as an interim purchase and move on.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Ajai Shukla is what I would euphemistically call - 'an interesting person'.
     
  9. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Pilatus air craft is a good and reliable product.

    Many air forces uses it as an trainer aircraft.

    But when it reaches to congress chap babus and congressi mantries , how they make it disgusting, it is one of the best example.

    One another example is Tatra deal.
     
  10. gaurav96

    gaurav96 Maverick

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    if this is true.. serious questions arise about the credibility of some high ranking Air Force officials.. They get easily dissatisfied if these things are unavailable in DRDO projects but will dilute it for foreign ones.
     
  11. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Another example ..

     
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  12. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    The issue raised by Ajay Shukla is very important. IAF should have a uniform requirement for local and imported products. Why difference in requirement?? It brings to light ad-hoc planning and general lack of intelligence of officers.

    How does IAF know what it wants?? Is it purely based on brochure browsing and influence peddling of retired Generals who double as arms agents of foreign companies??

    The planning process must be thorough and verifiable which leads to purchases - whether local of foreign.
     
  13. rvjpheonix

    rvjpheonix Regular Member

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    I definitely wouldnt call it lack of intelligence or wrong planning. This is obviously deliberate. these guys areaeting breathing and living airplanes.Them giving different ASRs by mistake is impossible.
     
  14. sgarg

    sgarg Senior Member Senior Member

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    @rvjpheonix, lack of planning shows lack of intelligence. Even I can browse brochures. Does that make me qualified for issuing IAF tenders??

    The purchases MUST be based on OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS. These operational requirements MUST be well documented and articulated. What is happening is a LACK of planning process. The purchases are initiated based on few file notes whereas the useless purchase process consumes reams of paper.

    India has probably the worst defence procurement record. India is no better than banana republics in this matter.

    Unfortunately the politicians have started this process of corruption by promoting corrupt officers or corrupting officers.

    Now the system has become so bad that it proves difficult to fix.

    The only proper option is to block imports. Go all out for make in India. The trainer should also be made in India.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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  15. vram

    vram Regular Member

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    @Kunal Biswas if you remember we had this discussion months ago about how the IAF was bent upon converting this deal into another import scheme. ALA arjun saga. The only reason the Tejas has not gone down this road till now was to the credit of Saint Anthony and george frenandas before him. Though AnThony sat on his back for many important decisions this was one thing he got right.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 10, 2015
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