Wednesday, August 4, 2010

IAF bought Defective choppers for 182cr

Even as it expressed serious concern at the alarming shortfalls in aging helicopter and aircraft fleets of Navy and IAF, the CAG has blasted the defence ministry for procuring six defective and phased-out UH-3H helicopters from the US for Rs 182.14 crore.

The six helicopters were manufactured in January 1961-July 1965 and were decommissioned by the US Navy in 2005 itself.

"Audit examination revealed the helicopters procured were life-expired and had many defects which would ultimately compromise operational effectiveness," said CAG.

The helicopters were bought from the US government under the ‘‘foreign military sales’’ programme, which is a direct government-to-government deal without any multi-vendor competition.

The helicopters were acquired to operate from the second-hand amphibious transport warship USS Trenton, rechristened INS Jalashwa by the Navy, also purchased from the US in 2006.

The latest CAG report, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, said, "Considering the vintage of the helicopters and the obsolescence of spares, maintenance of the six refurbished helicopters by Indian Navy would be a challenging task. In fact, one helicopter has already been cannibalised to ensure serviceability of the other five helicopters."

The CAG report said the helicopters were bought in "as is where is" condition with‘‘no guarantee of supportability and replacement of defective rotables due to obsolescence’’.

Moreover, the helicopters are devoid of any type of weather/surface surveillance radar, which is the most important sensor of a utility helicopter during its "search-and-rescue" operations.

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