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Two-year residual life of 56 Mi-17s after ₹223-crore upgrade untenable: CAG

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Upgrade of 90 copters of IAF proposed in 2002 couldn’t be achieved even after 18 years, it factors out

An upgrade of 90 medium carry Mi-17 helicopters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) proposed in 2002 couldn’t be achieved even after 18 years, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) mentioned in consequence of which these “helicopters were flying with limited capability, thus compromising operational preparedness during these years” and the expenditure of about ₹223 crore was “not justified” with restricted life left in 56 of them.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) concluded a contract with Elbit Systems of Israel for the upgrade of the 90 copters at ₹618.23 crore in January 2017. “After upgradation, 56 of these helicopters would be left with less than two years of life. The expenditure of ₹222.92 crore being incurred on their upgradation is not justified,” the CAG mentioned in a report tabled in Parliament early this week.

 

The 56 helicopters could be phased out by 2024. In addition, for the upgradate, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Bharat Electronics Limited had been to produce ₹1,720 crore price of important elements. Contract had but not been concluded between the MoD and HAL, BEL for this provide. “Thus even after 18 years, upgradation of the helicopters has not been completed.”

Of the 90 copters, 56 had been inducted into the IAF between 1984-89 and have a Total Calendar Life of 35 years.

Certain limitations

The Mi-17 and Mi-17 1V helicopters of the IAF had sure limitations in working in hostile climate, evening circumstances and in digital warfare dense battlefield. Due to this, the IAF initiated the proposal to upgrade 172 helicopters in 2002 and the Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) was accorded by the Defence Acquisition Council in 2005. But the Request For Proposal was not issued even after two years because the IAF couldn’t finalise the quantity of copters to be upgraded. After a collection of delays, throughout which few helicopters had been misplaced in accidents, a contract for the upgradate of 90 was signed with Elbit techniques.

The report mentioned that as per the contract, the 2 prototypes of every sort of helicopter, Mi-17 and Mi-17 1V, could be upgraded by Elbit techniques and delivered by July 2018 and January 2019 respectively.

The remaining 86, 54 Mi-17 and 32 Mi-17 1V, would thereafter be upgraded indigenously with switch of know-how from the seller. For this, sure elements and sub-systems had been to be procured by HAL and BEL. “This involved an additional cost of ₹1,720 crore, the contract for which has not been concluded yet (June 2020),” the report said.



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