New Delhi: The Indian Navy has lost 15 Sea Harrier fighter aircraft in various accidents since 1983, Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha on Monday.
In written reply to a question in the House, he said, "15 Sea Harrier fighters and three trainers have been lost in accidents since 1983. Only three aircraft accidents out of these have been attributed to material failure."
He said strengthening of air combat capability of the Navy is an ongoing process through upgradation and acquisition.
On operating MiG-29K aircraft from aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Antony said, "MiG-29K cannot be operated from INS Viraat since it employs the Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR) technique whereas INS Viraat is a Short Take Off Vertical Landing (STOVL) facility carrier."
He also informed the House that Navy has already commissioned one nuclear-powered submarine, procured from Russia on lease in January.
On augmenting the submarine capability of the Navy, he said, "Contract was signed with Mazagon Dock Limited in October, 2005 for construction of six Scorpene submarines for the Navy under Transfer of Technology from DCNS France."
Replying to a question on upgradation of aircraft fleet for the Indian Air Force (IAF), Antony said, "The MiG-21 and MiG-27 have been upgraded. The MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Jaguar and An-32 aircraft are in the process of upgradation."
On purchase of transport aircraft for IAF, he said, "The Defence Acquisition Council accorded Acceptance of Necessity for procurement of 56 aircraft as replacement of Avro aircraft under the Buy and Make category on July 23."
The aircraft will replace the fleet of existing Avro
transport planes and as per the Defence Procurement Procedure-2012, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) will select a private Indian Production Agency for manufacturing 40 aircraft in the country.
On delivery of the aircraft, Antony said that the it will commence within 24 months from the date of signing of contract and will be completed over a period of eight years.
Replying to a question on procurement of bullet proof jackets (BPJ) for the Army, he said, "The present holding of BPJs is sufficient to meet the operational requirement of the Army. The process of procurement of BPJs as per the revised General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) is ongoing in accordance with the laid down procedures.”