Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday came down hard on DRDO for delays in strategic projects such as the Light Combat Aircraft, saying there is a "limit to time slippages" and that it should "perform or perish".
Addressing a DRDO awards function, he said the DRDO should focus on its core competence and "not fritter away its resources and energy" and hoped that the LCA project would achieve its milestones within specified timeliness.
"In the times of cut throat competition, the choice is very clear-- perform or perish. In delivery of strategic systems, timelines must be adhered to and the satisfaction of the user is the litmus test," he said.
Antony said in military development projects across the globe, it was a "herculean task" to meet timelines and there were time slippages but "there is limit for slippages".
"Do not think that I am criticising you, I am with you in all times but as the Minister of Defence, it is my duty to say some things to you," he said.
On the LCA programmes, he said, "I am waiting that the LCA should become a reality. I have been given a particular date by the DRDO and I hope that it is the final date and the aircraft gets its Initial Operational Clearance II."
The IOC-I of the LCA was held in January 2011 in Bangalore and its IOC-II was scheduled to be held in July but it has now been postponed to be held in November.
Antony asked the team of HAL, DRDO and the IAF to work together on the LCA project and ensure that it achieves the IOC-II and then the Final Operational Clearance by the end of next year.