Air Force's Desi Inclination Will Keep Defence Spend Grounded - The New Indian Express

Air Force's Desi Inclination Will Keep Defence Spend Grounded

Published: 16th April 2014 07:55 AM

Last Updated: 16th April 2014 08:04 AM

In a bid to cut costs and boost its efficiency, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is planning to go in for massive indigenisation and experts feel if indigenisation becomes a policy, then 70 to 80 per cent of defence products will be indigenised in the next decade.

 The IAF has already tied up with MRF in this venture and the tyre manufacturer has already made tyres for the Air Force’s Sukhoi 30 range of aircraft. Till now, the tyres of IAF aircraft are being procured from abroad at a high cost. “Usually, IAF spends `1 lakh to buy a tyre from abroad but now we are offering them better quality at an affordable cost — 35 to 40 per cent lower that what they are purchasing at now. We are offering each tyre at a cost of `56,000,” said MRF Chairman and Managing Director, K M Mammen.

The tyres are produced at the company’s manufacturing facility situated in Medak, Hyderabad. Mammen, Air Vice Marshal J K Singh and Dr K Tamil Mani, DRDO Director General (Aero) launched the tyre range called ‘Aero Muscle.

Mammen felt that the government should follow an indigenisation policy rather than be dependent on imports. “If indigenisation becomes a policy then 70 to 80 per cent of defence products will be indigenised in the next 10 years,” he said.

 MRF took up the next project of the main wheel tyres for the Sukhoi 30 MKI in 2008. This project was anchored by CEMILAC (the certifying authority for Military aviation), RCMA (Nasik), DGAQA, IAF and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

 MRF Ltd Executive Vice-President Marketing Koshy Varghese said that MRF is  using the back-up facility. “We are executing an order which we got in 2013 from the IAF. 50 per cent of the order which is substantial is being executed. The remaining 50 per cent is on the way,” he said.

 Intrestingy, MRF has already set its sights on manufacturig tyres for MIGs. There are various projects but MIG is the immediate thing, said Koshy.Ever-increasing costs of imports and dependence on foreign vendors has resulted in IAF to take a decision on indigenisation. Currently, it is believed the Indian air force operates more than 20 different types of aircraft and several radars, other support systems and weapons.

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