MiG-29 engines: HAL blames Russian company for delay in handing over R&D technology
In obvious exchanges with Russia’s giant aerospace conglomerate, United Aircrafts Corporation (UAC), Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) had been expressing concerns about the delays related to engines for the MiG-29 aircrafts. Designated the nomenclature RD-33/3 and RD-33MK, both power the older MiG-29s that the Indian Air Force has in its inventory.
All aircrafts require engine replacements after a specific period of flying hours and the HAL had been complaining that the Russian company had delayed handing over research and technological development (RTD) documentation related to the engines they were supplying. These were to be fitted into the aircraft during overhaul.
However, Mikhail Pogosyan, the president of UAC, has communicated to HAL chairman, Dr RK Tyagi in early this year that too much of delay in rate escalation for the engines and spares for the period 2013-17 had delayed the handing over of the documents. These were related to RD-33/3 engines.
On the RD-33MK engines, the UAC chief claimed that the Russian technologists have not yet mastered the engine repair technology. This was holding up the Rosoboronexport contract for the same, which lacked detail though Dr Tyagi was pushing for the same.
However, Indian Air Force (IAF) has responded to Millennium Post, in a written response that they are not facing any problems with the supply of engines for the MiG-29s. They have added in the process of avionics upgradation of the MiG-29s at the Base Repair Depot in Nasik, they had initially faced some problems with Russian supplies. Those problems have been overcome now. Pogosyan, in his communication to Dr Tyagi, had stated that the India-Russian Support Agreement (IRSA) group meeting should address all these problems and sort them out. He was hopeful of the Indo-Russian partnership to flourish, despite these hiccups.
The HAL’s concerns about the Indo-Russian collaboration on Su-30 MKIs and MiG-29s or even the engines for the much reviled Intermediate Jet Trainers (IJT) were palpable in the various exchanges the defence public sector unit (DPSU) had with the Russian suppliers.
But considering the long-standing relationship between the two parties, they do not seem to reach breaking point as both knew the value of their partnership.