New Delhi: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found serious shortcomings and irregularities in the operations and management of the military (Mi series) helicopters by the Indian Air Force (IAF), in the functioning of the aviation arm of the Indian Navy and in the supply chain management of rations in the Army.
In a report released Tuesday, the CAG has found that the IAF is operating with just 74% of its operational requirements for helicopters. The report points out that up to 78% of the IAF’s helicopter fleet have already completed their prescribed life and that technological life extensions have been carried out on them for elongating their life. “Despite the availability of funds and a specific acquisitions programme, the IAF was unable to induct even a single helicopter between 2002 and 2007,” the report says. “This (deficit) has been exacerbated, in the recent past, by the substantial aid being given to civil authorities for counter insurgency and natural disasters, United Nations missions, requests from friendly nations and unauthorized modification of helicopters for VVIP use.” The report further points out that as a consequence of shortage of spares, 210 engines were sent abroad at a cost of Rs68.49 crores.
Highlighting the shortcomings in the aviation arm of the navy, the CAG report says that on account of the high number of aircrafts undergoing repair and overhaul and because of the sluggish process in the acquisition programme, only 26% of the asset strength was operationally available. “Attack capabilities of the already depleted aircraft fleet onboard the (aircraft) carrier have been restricted in the absence of a fully functional radar and limited firing of practice missiles,” the report says while taking a grim view of the fact that is unlikely to have a new aircraft carrier before 2013. The report also highlights that even after two decades, the navy’s provisional requirement for 120 Advanced Light Helicopters has not been fulfilled. Commenting on the recent acquisitions that were finalized for the navy’s aviation wing, the report points out that six UH-3H helicopters acquired from abroad in November 2006, were “ife-expired and had many defects which would ultimately compromise operational effectiveness.”
On the issue of supply chain management of rations in the Indian Army, the report says that the Army raises rations “n a normative basis rather than on real data.” he report finds that in the northern command, rations were issued after expiry of storage life and certain food testing labs have been rather liberal in extending the life cycles of samples. Even when it came to vendor registration and the tendering process for fresh foods, the CAG found that up to 86% of the supply orders were on the basis of tendering that involves only one or two vendors. In fact, as many as 33% of the contracts were awarded to the lone bidder.