NEW DELHI: The CAG on Friday pulled up the IAF for wasting tax payer’s money for a modernisation programme of 102 Soviet-era Antonov-32 medium transport aircraft, 40 of which were upgraded in the war-torn Ukraine.
In its latest report tabled in Parliament, the CAG said the IAF had made an “avoidable expenditure” of `227 crore on Antonov-32 modernisation. The delay in finalising the number of engines required for the plane’s upgradation had cost the government dearly.
Also, over 50 per cent of Antonov-32 fleet, used for transporting troops and equipment, was grounded because of the delay in creating modernisation facilities in India. Ukraine has so far completed upgradation of 35 aircraft and the remaining five are expected for delivery in August, the IAF sources said here. They said the troubled political climate in Ukraine hadn’t had any adverse impact on Antonov-32 upgradation programme.
The remaining 62 aircraft are being upgraded by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited at its Kanpur facility in Uttar Pradesh.
According to the CAG report, the IAF procured 17 engines in 2007 and 100 in 2009. “The IAF had paid $719,500 (`3.16 crore) per engine against the contract of June 2007, whereas, it had to pay $10,90,000 (`5.43 crore) per engine against the contract of December 2009. The IAF wasted `227 crore on procurement of 100 aero-engines,” it said. The government auditor said the IAF had failed to project the entire requirement of aero-engines, which resulted in the extra avoidable expenditure.
“Owing to the delay in initiating and concluding the contract upgradation facilities could not be set up in time, despite investing `272 crore on transfer of technology, and it resulted in the grounding of more than 50 per cent of Antonov-32 fleet,” the CAG said.
The CAG also rapped the IAF for an “unfruitful” expenditure of `155 crore for developing an electronic warfare system aimed at enhancing the capability of the Russian-origin MiG-27 fighter aircraft. The report said the India-Israel joint venture project for developing the system, Takshak, was “injudicious” as it was sanctioned in 2009 despite knowing that the MiG-27s would start getting phased out by 2016.
“Owing to the imprudent decision and delay in the development of Takshak system, the objective of enhancing operational capability of a fighter aircraft could not be achieved. Besides, an expenditure of `155.79 crore incurred on the project was rendered unfruitful,” the report said. The Ministry of Defence had accorded sanction for the `311-crore project to be completed by 2011 to enhance the operational capability of fighter aircraft and strengthen electronic warfare industry.
Despite the delayin the programme, during trials the IAF found that it was not fully developed and didn’t meet a large number of technical specifications.
“The IAF also acknowledged that induction of Takshak system in the MiG-27 would take at least another three years (from 2011) and complete fleet modification would be over only by 2016, while the aircraft fleet was planned to be phased out of service from 2014 onwards.