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New Delhi: The air force was on Friday chided by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for an “avoidable expenditure" of 227 crore modernisation programme of its 105 Soviet-origin An-32 transport aircraft and the grounding of over 50% of the fleet due to delay in creating upgrade facilities.

In its report tabled in Lok Sabha, the CAG said Indian Air Force (IAF) procured 17 engines in 2007 and 100 engines in 2009 for the Antonv-32 transport fleet.

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.

“Thus, IAF had to incur a total of 227 crore extra on procurement of 100 aero-engines," it said. The government auditor said, “Despite being aware of long-term requirement of aero-engines, IAF failed to project the entire requirement which resulted in the extra avoidable expenditure."

An-32 is a medium tactical transport aircraft used primarily by the air force for transportation of the troops and cargo, para-trooping and casualty evacuation.

India had signed a contract with Ukraine for upgrading the fleet of 105 aircraft of which 40 were to be developed in Ukraine and the remaining were to be modernised in IAF facilities in Kanpur.

“Due to delay in initiation and conclusion of the contract, facilities for upgradation of an aircraft could not be set up in time despite an investment of 272 crore on transfer of technology resulting in grounding of more than 50% of the transport aircraft fleet," he said.

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