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IAF bats for base repair depots, but doesn’t rule out HAL as yet

IAF bats for base repair depots, but doesn’t rule out HAL as yet
Functioning under the Maintenance Command of the IAF, the BRDs are spread across the country beginning with 1 BRD that was established in 1948 at Chakeri, Kanpur. It is at the moment modernising AN-32 transport aircrafts from the design papers of Uzbek origin.

The BRDs, that many fear, can threaten to steal the thunder from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), have had to change with time as the service went from one kind of modern fighter to another. But he said, ‘This cannot be considered to be a diminution of the status of the HAL. Our main concerns are availability and serviceability. And we have neither lost confidence in HAL nor lost faith in it. A strong HAL is important for a strong IAF.’

The BRDs are also ‘replicating’ spares of the aircrafts that they maintain, overhaul and modernise.
Interestingly, the IAF’s latest acquisition as Basic Trainer Aircraft (BTA), the Swiss origin Pilatus PC-7, 36 of which have been procured till now - with two aircrafts being delivered every month – is being sought to be assembled at the BRDs.

The air force source said, ‘The Swiss Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) told us recently that the BRDs have proven to be better in the assembly of the aircraft than the South African Air Force, which sought to do the same.’

The air force is seeking to have the Pilatus line to be established at a BRD, which can then supply 96 of them, from the proposed 176 to be finally inducted. The proposal is with the government, which is yet to take a decision, though the ministry of defence has told the air force that it should try to get a joint venture partner out of the domestic private sector, even though the previous search for the same, had failed. To that end, the IAF has recently issued a Request for Information (RfI).

Talking about HAL, the IAF source gave an impression that services new leadership under Air Chief Marshal Aroop Raha do not wish to  indulge in confrontation with the HAL. ‘We have accepted Tejas, the LCA, with concessions on the initial air staff qualitative requirement (ASQR) and we have accepted Dhruv, the advanced light helicopter with concessions. But even HAL has not been able to go beyond 40 per cent indigenisation,’ the source signed off.
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