Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Saga Of The Brand New IAF-HAL Fight & Blowback

I haven't seen the Indian Air Force come out with a longer clarification than it did recently in response to a pair of reports by friend and senior journalist Ajai Shukla. I'll allow this post to serve as a primer, since I've been getting questions about the entire affair.

It all began on July 29 with this post on Broadsword (published in Business Standard newspaper), which detailed a known war between the Indian Air Force and HAL over the latter's basic trainer development effort, the HTT-40. The next day, Ajai followed-up with this report, with far more damning assertions -- principally that IAF chief Air Chief Marshal Norman Browne had wilfully relaxed parameters to favour Swiss firm Pilatus Aircraft, which went on to win a contract for 75 PC-7 Mk.II basic trainers.

Hours after the second piece, the IAF sent out this long and unusually detailed clarification, denying all suggestions made in Ajai's piece. A day later, the journalist hit back, calling the IAF's statement a "verbose obfuscation". That was July 31. On the side, on the same day the Times Of India, the country's largest newspaper published this report titled IAF-HAL Tiff Threatens To Shatter Indigenisation Quest. The report details the historic acrimony that's bubbled to the surface between HAL and its principal customer over a raft of current projects, including the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA or PMF as HAL calls it).

On August 3, Ajai Shukla appeared on NDTV (a channel he formerly worked for) to defend his story, where he faced-off with former IAF deputy chief Air Marshal (Retd) N.V. Tyagi and former chief of the Western Air Command Air Marshal (Retd) Padamjit Ahluwalia. Both former IAF officers debunked Ajai's reports, while Ajai stood his ground.

And now, 42 minutes ago and 10 days after the controversy first broke afresh, HAL sends out this clunky statement, calling for an end to "all kinds of speculation". Interestingly, it devotes only a paragraph to the trainer controversy, but nearly two pages to a kind of brochuresque mish-mash of what it does, purportedly as a rejoinder to the whole IAF hates HAL smoke. Good try.

I don't yet have independent access to material on this story, so I don't have any of my own reporting I can do on it yet. Suffice it to say that the war between the IAF and HAL is a real one -- and the IAF is certainly more willing to tell it like it is, unlike HAL, which has been traditionally more dense about its relationships, taking most of them for granted at any given time. You'll hear more about this fight in the coming days.

14 comments :

Anonymous said...

another tyagi... what more to expect... defend the silver... in pocket... than salary... mere peanut...

Anonymous said...

Well explained.

Anonymous said...

How many of us have faith in HAL. Happy Eid to all.

Anonymous said...

If the AF had been totally left to the mercy of HAL we would be flying spitfires till now...

Thank god for the russians!!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah let's just say that HAL is just DENSE - period ! Fair to say then that we cannot put our National defense priorities in HAL's basket - ca we ?

dalji said...

I would say keep the Pilatus so that training and operational readiness is not affected but let the HAL make a similar one

Rahul said...

Madam Italiano and Swiss bank errr i mean Swiss trainer.

rustom said...

HALS strategy is clear..blackmail those who will not accept its piss poor performance and killing machines by giving them a tainted color.
What military bloggers WITHOUT AN AGENDA should do is ask simple question..
why was the IAF denied a trainer for over 2 decades.......It points out at HAL/DRDO blackmailing the arm forces not to whilst usurping the money that would have trained young pilots

..
2) Why were the Mig 21 used as a trainer....wasnt it because HAL/DRDO were now lying that they are on a threshold of delivering and stopping procuring a trainer


3) HAL wants to even delay procuring of trainers that would undo the mis deeds of 2 decades killing innocent people...

4) Would you buy a ticket for your next destination in a plane not certified, or an airlines that trainbs pilots without a trainer..would you send your kid to a flying school that does not have a trainer? then why do you expect the serving to fly imaginery planes..
..if you wanted to join the IAF would you not seek a proper training infrastructure including a trainer plane...if a civilian pilot can refuse and civilians can refuse to fly dangerous produce what makes HAL and its brochure boys (who like those paid to clap at politician's speeches try and aid the misinformation of HAL and blame the chief) , believe that IAF deserve to die for the country's inaction..probably the HAL brochure boys suffer from the same mis notion that a minister said..that people join the forces to die..they are paid to die....As an Indian HAL's strategy and its brochure boys are an embarrassment...and a dent to moral, dignity and professionalism.

Akhilesh's govt lied and dismissed an honest officer...HAL is tryign to do the same..it has become the most dangerous organization to Indian security as it taints people at their peak after years of service given and blackmails them to accept dangerous produce that will murder those who want to become an asset to the nation.It shoudl eb every veteran's duty to talk of HALS mis doings to their civilian counterpart...so that HAL's negligient ,devious and morraly corrupt strategy does not take the hold..Just like young india not getign fooled by akhiles's govt and support the honest officer..young India sees thru HAL'S misadventure and their thirst to survive..

Anonymous said...

All the Pakistanis

Anonymous said...

The proof of the pudding is in eating it. Why has HAL not been able to deliver even PARTIALLY Certified (IOC) IJT even 10 years after its first flight.
Here it is trying to make a trainer that does not even perform conventionally for basic requirements for any trainer.
There is no standardisation in HAL's manufacturing. Each aircraft has parts custom built - there being no interchangeability.
We all have interest i HAL delivering but the question is - has it done do even after 50 years?
MoD needs to critically examine the role of DRDO and its ilk before pointing at the real experts (the users) and not the tinkerers.

Anonymous said...

mr. Rustom, Simply you don't understand one thing, HAL offered to develop and give IAF a trainer called HTT-35 BTT since the early nineties, IAF did not show any interest in it for two decades till . And suddenly in 2009 they pretend to wake up and find , Alas, We don't have a trainer.then in March 2009 they give a PSQR that has very stringent specs to HAL , ANd by September 2009 they have decided HAL won't be upto it!!!!!!!!!!!!
And go for Pliatus.

SO it is not HAL which is killing pilots all on it's own. IAF has an equal hand to play.

Don't you get the joke? Acoording to IAF ,the HAL which cannot make a trainer is expected to shoulder 50 percent R&D for FGFA!!!!!

Other than MIG-21 all other fighters like JAgs built by HAL, Mirage maintained by HAL has better safety records.LCA built by HAL hasn't had an emergency in 2000 sorties across 12 years and 15 LSPs. TDs, and Pvs.

How?

SO don't blame the HAL for pilot killing.

Anonymous said...

IAF is the guinea pig for HAL machines.

Anonymous said...

.
Just watched the Aug 3rd NDTV ...
.
Sorry to say, this guy, Sukla's mannerism is deplorable ...
.
He tries sought down arguments -- switches to different points to avoid logic -- pretends to be an expert on things where he clearly not (like actual need, or overkill, for a zero-zero versus zero-sixty ejection in real life) -- purposely misrepresents facts (like trying to compare mig21 and HTT35 accident rates on an uneven ground) etc ...
.
He clearly lacks integrity ...
No respect for him ...
.
I won't feel proud if I am mentioned as 'his friend' ...

Anonymous said...

The truth of DPSUs is in this article

http://www.hindustantimes.com/editorial-views-on/ColumnsOthers/No-made-in-India-tag-yet/Article1-1093564.aspx