Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa on Thursday said the Indian Air Force’s efforts to support state-owned aircraft maker Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has affected its fighting capabilities, the Hindustan Times reported.
“We have made concessions for HAL, but will the enemy make any concession for us when we face them in battle,” he asked at an event in Delhi.
He also denied reports that the Indian Air Force had changed parameters for the indigenous Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, which had led to delays in its development.
The IAF had placed an order for 40 LCA Tejas jets and issued a tender to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for another 83 Mark 1A LCAs to replace its vintage fleet of MiG-21 and MiG 27 planes. But there has been a delay in procurements, with questions also raised at the manufacturing ability of HAL.
“IAF has not shifted any goal posts as alleged,” Dhanoa said, according to The Hindu. “The development has taken such an incredibly long time that armament and technology has gone obsolete… I as the service chief can make concessions to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. Will the enemy make concessions to me when I go and meet the enemy? In combat, there is no silver medal. Either you win or you lose.”
The air force chief said upgrading of one sqaudron of Jaguar deep strike bombers, one squadron of Mirage-2000 and two squadrons of Su-30MKi was far behind the schedule. “Additional production of Su-30 is delayed by over two years and LCA production commitment [has been delayed] by over six years,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.
“We have been giving concessions to Hindustan Aeronautics Limited but we will not get any concession from adversary in war,” he added, according to The Tribune.
He said the IAF had maintained the requirements of the first 20 LCA at standards issued in 1985 only to encourage HAL in manufacturing. “To make up for losses HAL has to play a key role to step up manufacture and overhaul,” he said.